Saturday, June 30, 2012

How We Met

Okay.  It's time for the How We Met Blog Hop, hosted by the lovely Melinda Dozier. Without further adieu, here's the story of how I met my husband.

     Home from my freshman year at college, I was perusing the graduation announcements for the class below me.  I scanned the pictures, looking for my friends.  Then I spotted an abnormality.  A boy I'd never met.
    He had blond hair and a winning smile.  His name was below the photo.  Jamon.  An odd name, I thought.
     A couple minutes later, there was a knock at my door.  When I opened it, I was stunned.  
     My friend Mike stood there, and standing next to him was Jamon.  Granted, his hair was messier than his picture, and he was wearing a black band shirt.  
    I had the strangest feeling about Jamon.  I knew he was going to be important to me somehow.  Of course, I said nothing of it.
     I gave Mike a hug.
     Jamon looked rejected.  "What about my hug?"
     I started dating Jamon a month later, and we're still together.

Now, oddly enough, I don't have access to any of our older photos right now.  Some are lost, some are stored away somewhere.  We didn't get a digital camera until well after everyone else had them.  The oldest photos I have are from our wedding. Jamon and I met when I was 19 and he was still 17.  At our wedding, I was 21 and he was a few weeks away from being 20.  Not too bad, right?  These pictures resemble what we looked like when we met better than they resemble what we look like now.

So here you go.  And I'm putting more of Jamon because I've posted a lot of wedding pictures of me on this blog before.  Go HERE to see the others.

Jamon at our rehearsal dinner.

Jamon on the way to the wedding.

Jomon waits for me at the end of the aisle.

Me and my mom after the ceremony.

The happy couple.

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Absurdity: Part 7

Part 1: The Sounding
Part 2: The Blank Slate
Part 3: The Infinite Jest
Part 4: The Third
Part 5: Portals
Part 6: The Dream Reader

The Absurdity

Part 7: The Deity's Bedroom

“He isn’t God in the sense you’re probably used to thinking of deities,” the man said.  He tapped his chin thoughtfully, and his eyes widened to the point it seemed they might pop out of his head.  “Would you like to see?”

The prospect flooded my body, and I felt like I might drown in it.  Though I remembered so little about my identity, I had the opportunity to learn something that others could only guess at.  The prospect of uncovering the biggest mystery of existence frightened me, but I couldn’t turn away from the opportunity.

“Yes.”  My voice sounded so small.

“Follow me.”

He led me across the room, past the lives of thousands of people I would never meet, but my mind was too busy to notice them.  Would I still want to stay after this, or would this be so overwhelming that I’d need to forget?

Large though the room was, it was also more deceptive than it initially appeared.  It seemed to be contained by the square images as they wrapped around the room, but as we walked, the wall of pictures morphed and twisted around us.  We kept walking long after we should have reached what appeared to be the other side.  The shifting started to turn my stomach, so I stopped looking.

When The Dream Reader stopped, we still seemed to be standing in the middle of the room.  I watched carefully as he reached a hand toward one section of wall.  The tapestry of images split and slid aside, revealing a door set into a solid wall.  A mundane sight nestled in amongst the insanity of all the other things I’d seen.

The door seemed to be several yards away at first, so when I took only one step forward and found myself standing right in front of it, I was momentarily taken aback.

The Dream Reader was suddenly beside me again.  He read my reaction perfectly.  “This room has its quirks.  It takes time to get used to it.”  Then he laughed.  “Besides, shouldn’t you feel off balance before meeting your creator?”

Yes.  Yes I should, I thought.

The door opened onto a little observation platform.  Just beyond that, there was a glass wall.  Thinking back on it, the setup was like something you might see in a zoo.  However, at that moment, this recognition was nowhere in my mind.  All I could see was what resided just beyond the glass.

A bedroom.

There was nothing extraordinary about it.  A wooden dresser stood in the far corner of the room.  A bed was pushed up against one wall.  The window just above the bed showed the deep dark of night.  A few stray moonbeams filtered through and faintly illuminated the bed’s occupant.

A human boy.

He couldn’t have been any older than twelve.  A few dark locks of hair fell across his eyelids, and a thick blue comforter was pulled up to his chin.

“What’s this?” I asked, stunned.

“This is the source of life as you once knew it.  All of the images you saw back there are fed to us from this room.  If you trace anything back to its origin, it comes from here.”

No.  How could it be?  “Are you saying . . . is he dreaming everything?”  It sounded so ridiculous coming out of my mouth that I could hardly believe I said it.

He nodded.  “Yes.  The world I watch so intently, the world you come from, is all a byproduct of a young boy’s dreaming.  Knowing that, suddenly all of the absurdities of that world make perfect sense.”
My comprehension was still faltering.  “That can’t be God.”

“It is if you define God as the creator of you and everything you know.  I’ve tried to see beyond this room to what may have created him, but I can’t.  The layers of reality are permeable between here and your world, probably because he’s dreaming them both, but this is as far as we can go.  You’re at the end of the line.”

The end of the line?  Jester said that.  I realized she knew about this.  All of it.

“How can anyone dream all those lives at once?” I asked.

“He’s in an entirely separate layer.  Things work differently there.  From my analysis of this room, each minute there translates to millions of years here.  I’ve been here since the beginning, and he has yet to wake up.”

“What happens to us when he does?”

The Dream Reader shrugged.  “I don’t know.  Maybe we’ll continue to exist in his mind.  Maybe we’ll wink out of existence.”  His words sounded offhanded, as if merely an afterthought. 

If it’s all so dependent on this, I started thinking to myself.  Then I shook it off, unwilling to believe it.  “I exist.  I know I do.  I think, I feel.  I have to be real.”

“Even if you exist as a dream, that doesn’t negate your reality,” the little man replied confidently.  “If this little boy has the power to dream us all, his imagination is extraordinarily vivid.  So vivid that he dreams not only us, but our consciousness as well.  The world he dreams is quite insane at times, but also startlingly lucid.”

We were silent for a long while after that.  I found myself imagining an infinite regress of deities, hopelessly trying to make sense of it.  Was there only one God behind this boy’s existence?  Ten?  Twenty?  None?

When I spoke again, I felt like the slightest breeze could disintegrate me.  “What do you think lies beyond that room?”

“My beliefs should not influence yours,” the little man replied.  “I suggest you focus yourself on something that feels right to you.  Belief is a personal thing.  It’s not to be forced.  Even if this is truly all there is and this boy is everything, you still have to live your life.”

In that moment, I only knew one thing with any certainty.  I needed to find Jester.

Part 8: Explosive Ecstasy

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Tweeting Extraterrestrials

I know it's supposed to be my tea break, but I just wanted to share something with all of you really quick.  I'll return to my tea in a moment (though I'm actually drinking coffee at the moment . . . hopefully that's forgivable).

Do you dream of communicating with extraterrestrials?  If so, you may have your have chance.  All you need is a Twitter account and something first-contact-worthy to say.

The so-called 'Wow! Signal' stands apart from all other radio signals we've received since we started searching for extraterrestrial life.  Received in 1977, scientists still aren't sure if aliens are behind it, or if it's the result of something else altogether.  In either case, if it was our cosmic neighbors ringing us to borrow some sugar, it's about time we called them back.  Luckily, 35 years later, the existence of Twitter will allow anyone to participate in the call-back of the millennium.

The following excerpt from the Huff Post Science section gives the details on how to participate in this unique event.  Click HERE for the full article.
All tweets composed between 8 p.m. EDT Friday (June 29) and 3 a.m. EDT Saturday (June 30) tagged with the hashtag #ChasingUFOs will be rolled into a single message, according to the National Geographic Channel, which is timing the Twitter event to coincide with the premiere of the channel's new series, "Chasing UFOs."
It will, of course, take many years beyond that for our return signal to get anywhere.  Even so, participating in this sounds fun, and I plan to send out my tweet tomorrow night.

Was the 'Wow! Signal' really sent by aliens?  I have no idea.  I just know I can't pass up this opportunity.  I started this blog in an attempt to share my words with the world.  Now I have the chance to share a few short words with the stars.  Say what you will about me.  I'm a science fiction writer.  Flights of fancy are our bread and butter.  I don't think I'd be a true sci-fi geek if I simply dismissed this.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Follow Me Maybe

My writing notebooks.
There comes a time when a writer does what they must to better present themselves to the world.  I'm not the most sociable person in the world.

Don't get me wrong.  I try my best to be nice to people.  Socializing just has never come naturally to me.  Presenting my real self to the world is a terrifying thing for me. I'm so used to expressing myself through the characters I commit to the page.  I almost forget what it's like to present myself to the world as I am after a long day of wrestling with my fiction.

Anyway, having heard many times that I needed to network to promote my writing, I tentatively stepped out into the world of blogging.  I started to build an audience, and now I'm looking for new ways to promote myself.  I'd already started a Twitter account to follow others.  I didn't send tweets at first, because it seemed so confusing.  I was baffled by hashtags.  I've recently started using it more actively, and I'm miraculously figuring it out.  So feel free to follow me on Twitter if you wish.

Also, while on Facebook today, my friend Chelsea Kelly, who already had a blog you can check out HERE,  had created a page to showcase her work.  You can check out her Facebook page HERE.  I figured it was just about time I did the same thing myself.  So, if you want to follow me on Facebook, go check out my writing page.  

A little image I created on MemeGenerator.
I know, I'm a dork.  However, if I'm going to network myself, I should be genuine.  And I am genuinely dorky.

Great Language-Based Comedy

Last Wednesday I talked about word games in the world. Keeping up with the theme of word games, I thought I'd post a couple of videos that use language in a playful way.  There is nothing serious or overtly political here.  It's just some good fun showing how great linguistic play can be.

The following Abbott and Costello skit is legendary.  If you've never seen it before, you simply must watch.  It's fame is well deserved.  Trust me.


The next video was obviously inspired by the above sketch, and anyone who is a language nerd like me can appreciate how brilliant it is.  Thank you Better Than The Machine for  being so funny!

 As a writer, I can't help but love things like this!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Illness and Arguments

Writing has been difficult this week, to say the least.  My one year old son Lyle was ill for a few days.  Taking care of him with a fever, while also looking after his energetic older brother, was challenging to say the least.  And wouldn't you know it: my muse was itching to get some work done the whole time.  Of all the times Pleiades could have chosen to be productive!

She kept calling me with editorial notes, as well as ideas to jot down for the rest of the series.  The overload of data, along with the overload of needy children, was too much.  I finally told her that as much as I wanted to work on my editing, it wasn't going to happen.

Me:  I just need you to give me a couple of days.  Once Lyle is better, I should be able to get more work done.

Pleiades:  I was on vacation not that long ago, and you were so angry with me about that.  Now I'm here and want to get some work done, and you're sending me away. That makes sense!

Me:  There's no need for sarcasm.

Pleiades:  Oh really?  Your writing is loaded with sarcasm.  I thought you loved sarcasm!

Me:  This isn't the time for it!

Pleiades:  Well, if you're going to be a sarcastic person in your writing, you have to accept that you're going to be assigned a sarcastic muse!

Me:  I just don't need it right now, okay?  I promise I'll get back to you after things have settled down here.

Pleiades:  Maybe I'll just go give your ideas to another writer who'll give me the benefit of their time.

Me:  You wouldn't dare!

Pleiades:  Oh, I wouldn't, would I?  We'll just see about that!

That was the last time I talked to my muse.  Even though my son is now better, she's ignoring me.  That's how inspiration goes, I guess.  If anyone sees my muse anywhere, could you please ask her to come back?  She annoys me greatly sometimes, but I do need her help.  And if you could ignore anything she may have to say regarding me and my work, it would be much appreciated.

The problem is that, most of the time, she's too much like me.  We writers can be a tricky bunch sometimes. It's logical that our muses are just as temperamental as us.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Blogspiration 5: Perspectives

Having lived more than two and a half decades on this planet, I can hardly claim to be much of an expert on anything.  At the age of 13, I felt like I knew just about everything.  Now, another 13 years has passed, and I feel like I know only a fraction of what I felt so sure I knew then.

It's all about perspective.  At 13, I was quickly growing up and my body was changing.  I couldn't escape the realization that I was on my way to becoming an adult.  I think that new reality went to my head.  And I think that's something common to most teenagers.  Now, as an adult in the real world, I see other people around me who know things I don't, who have skills I can only dream of.  And watching the news, I see stories about horrors I can scarcely understand.

Seeing this picture on Facebook brought these thoughts to mind.

Taken from Fantasy and Sci-Fi Rocks My World

Having children, I can appreciate the truth of this.  I remember being a child and thinking everything every fight, every accomplishment was a life-altering affair.  Seeing this made me smile.  While differences in perspective can be a potential source of conflict, they can also add to the richness of life.

Friday, June 22, 2012

It's Absurd That We're Already on Part 6!

Part 1: The Sounding
Part 4: The Third
Part 5: Portals

The Absurdity

Part 6: The Dream Reader

When Jester opened the portal, it took a moment longer for her to find it than the rest.  I wasn’t sure if it was harder to find, or if she was simply hesitant.  The hole in the world finally appeared before us. 

“Good luck,” she whispered as I was about to step through.

I stopped.  It sounded like she was dismissing me.  “Aren’t you coming?”

She shook her head, her waterfall of fiery hair waving elegantly behind her.  “No.  This is a journey you have to make on your own.  Only you can decide what it means.”

Her cryptic response made my chest tighten as I tried to puzzle out what it could mean.  Here, in this world, it could mean absolutely anything.  And though I had only just met her, I didn’t want to leave her.  “How will I find you again?”

“I’ll wait here,” she promised.  She waved good-bye, sporting a hopeful little smile.

Steeling myself for anything, I stepped through the portal.  When I emerged into a new room, I had trouble getting my bearings.  The ceiling and floor were black with a sprinkling of dim stars.  Turning on the spot, I saw that little square images formed a patchwork quilt all around me.  The colors within each square were shifting, some slightly, others more dramatically.

What were they?

Squinting, I was able to see people were moving inside each one of them.  It was an endless patchwork of people’s lives.  Everywhere I looked, there was a different scene.  As I approached the nearest wall of pictures, I saw a young man walking down a hallway with an armload of books, an elderly woman reading a book in her backyard, a young child toddling across a toy littered floor.  Not only were these people, they were perfectly ordinary.  Were these real people back in the world I’d come from?

“None of them have any clue I’m watching them.”

I turned and was startled to see a short man.  He was also bald like the others I’d seen upon arrival, and he wore the same uniform, but he didn’t even stand up to my shoulder.  “You watch all of them?”

He nodded.  “It’s a big job.  My official title is Dream Reader.  I spend most of my time trying to make sense of the named in the world.  It’s amazing to see how having a name settles people down.  Having an identity lets you overlook the absurdity of it all.”

I looked at this man, and I suddenly felt exposed.  If he watched everyone in the world going about their lives, that meant he might have also seen me.  That would mean he knew more about who I was than I did.  What could he have seen?  Even I didn’t know that.  “Why am I here?” I asked, my voice rendered unstable by nerves.

The little man looked up at me, and his eyes seemed to pass straight through my body.  “Another part of my job is to track the people who lose their names.  I can only pay so much attention to everyday people, but it’s important to track the ones that are deemed ‘insane’ by the named.  Most of nameless are hospitalized or are heavily medicated.  They don’t cause much trouble beyond that.  Only a few make it as far as you, and those are the ones I need to study in more detail.”

I felt like I was shrinking.  Though this man was so much smaller in stature, he seemed larger than me.  He had access to my past, and I didn’t.

“I know how you lost your memory,” he continued.  “I watched the footage of your accident several times.  You should be amazed that your body survived that impact.”

“What caused it?”  This was something that the police were never able to determine, and my memory loss only hampered their investigation.

“You did.”

Those words hit me, and it took several moments for the meaning of them to really dawn on me.  “What?”

“When you first arrived, you heard someone say you were unhappy in your old life.  That is what you might call an understatement.”

He didn’t need to say anything else.  Even with my memories gone, I couldn’t mistake the tone of his voice.  “You mean I was trying to kill myself?”

“We see that sort of thing a lot around here, if it makes you feel better.”  He looked around the room, eyes touching thousands of people with one quick scan.  “The world as you knew it was a crazy place.  You weren’t the only one who tried to opt out.”

My head was still spinning.  “Do you know why I did it?”

The Dream Reader nodded.  “I do.  I watched the highlight show for your entire life after your little stunt turned you into one of the nameless.  It would be dangerous to tell you, though.”


“Any detail surrounding the accident might trigger more memories to resurface.  If were to happen, we’d have to finish the reprogramming and send you back.  Otherwise the memories of your old life would plague you and contaminate this life.”

That was it.  I had to make my decision based on an extremely limited amount of information.  “So I can have this, where I can go anywhere and see anything, but I’ll never be able to know about my past life.  Or I can go back blindly to a life that I wanted to leave in the first place.  That’s not really a difficult choice.”

The Dream Reader nodded.  “And judging by what I’ve seen of you, you are making the correct choice.”

I laughed.  “I guess since you’re like God in this room, I should be relieved by your endorsement.”  And truth be told, I was.

Now the little man laughed.  “Oh no, I’m nothing like God.  You’d never believe me if I told you what God was like.”

I nearly choked.  “What?”

Part 7: The Deity's Bedroom

Thursday, June 21, 2012

An Essay From My 13 Year Old Self

This blog hop is hosted by Amy Sonnichsen and Christa Desir.  I decided to do this because, as a teenager, I was a prolific writer.  Much of my writing was overly dramatic and seriously lacked in subtlety.  Then again, what else could you expect of an apprehensive young teenager.

I chose this piece to share because it's characteristic of the things I wrote at age 13. This short essay was actually published in a small magazine, but looking at it now, I can't help but notice its saccharine nature.  I still feel the same way about many things, though I also have a healthy dose of cynicism these days.  I also try to write more elegantly than this now.  Whether I succeed is another matter.


Sometimes I let my mind wander to distant worlds and new destinies. On my travels over the years, I have learned much about myself that I never knew before.  At times, I feel more comfortable in my fantasy world than I do in the real world, because in my mind, everything in the universe has its place.  No one is alone and no one has doubts about who they are.  They are just fine being themselves and everyone accepts and appreciates their individuality.  No one is cruel or unkind to anyone, no matter how different someone may be. 
This is as the universe should be.  Peace, freedom, and happiness should fill everyone's hearts.  What do you think of when you hear the word "universe"?  Loneliness?  Emptiness?  Cold darkness?  That's what many people seem to think of, but not I.    I think of something else altogether.  I think of unity. 
Now you may ask how the universe could possibly be united when everything is so far apart.  Let's begin by looking at the word itself. "Uni" means one and "verse" can mean a poem or a song.  One song. Doesn't that suggest unity to you?  The word itself suggests that we need to be kinder to one another because we all depend on each other. Like the individual lines of a song, each part of the universe is irreversibly linked to everything else.  If someone or something is destroyed, everyone is permanently affected.  It changes the message of the song completely.  All from the one missing line of the song, the meanings of the other lines are changed, altered forever.  Nothing will ever be the same again, and people like you and me scarcely realize it. 
So you see, everyone and everything is vital to the harmony of the song of life.  When people fight and are full of hate, the beauty and magnificence of the song is lost.  It's crowded out by the muddy, ugly noise of disharmony.  The only way to achieve harmony is to be peaceful and to fill your heart with love.  It's not guns or knives that kill people.  People kill people.  People who are full of hate and care nothing for the value of human life are the ones who destroy the pulchritude and fairness of our home.  Be kind and don't harm others, for we all share a common destiny that is composed of all the destinies of the universe's inhabitants.  These beings are all your neighbors and we should all attempt to be friends.  And even if you meet someone you cannot get along with, why be enemies?  Be tolerant of others and they may be tolerant of you too.  We all need each other. 
So why not try to be pleasant to someone that you are in conflict with? After all, what harm can it do?  Smile at a stranger, and reach out to someone that you don't normally talk to.  Who knows?  You may make a new friend.
What do you think of when you hear the word "universe"?  Please think unity . . .

This is unedited.  It is exactly as it was when I finished it at age 13.  I'm 26 now.  That means I wrote this half a lifetime ago.  At the time, I thought this was brilliant.  My writing skills have obviously changed, and that's probably for the best.

Anyway, if you read all the way to the end, thank you.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Word Games in the World

The world is full of word games.  Even our lives in the world can be one big word game.  Though we may have the 1st Amendment and are technically free to speak, there are all kinds of societal rules governing what is appropriate and inappropriate for any given situation.

Political correctness, which is a societal judgment of which words are appropriate to use to describe people, professions, or things, has been a divisive issue.  Should we make an effort not to offend  people when we speak, or have these restrictions trampled our rights of free speech?  This is a question you have to answer for yourself.  For me personally, I have no problem with sexist, racist, and other terms used to demean people being frowned upon.  You're technically still free to say them, as you should be, but the shift has made some areas of civil discourse more, well, civilized.  Of course, from the way the political arena looks as of late, people are still bashing each other just as thoroughly as ever.  Politicians are adept at using word play, a type of word game, to spin the argument against their opponent and paint themselves in a more favorable light.  Gotta love rhetoric.  I discussed this once in a previous post, so I won't go into too much detail about that here.

I can think of a couple high profile examples of language controversy.  Less than a month ago, actress Gwyneth Paltrow stirred up controversy when she tweeted a picture of Kanye West, Jay-Z, and herself.  In her description, she used the "N" word.  I don't think I need to spell it out for all of you to know what I mean by that.  And as much as I enjoy controversy, I don't want to be accused of being racist.  I will, however, offer my take on the situation.  She was tweeting the name of the song that they were singing at the time.  Saying a word offensively is one thing.  However, since she was quoting the name of the song, why should anyone be angry?  The use of these offensive terms is generally accepted in music and novels.  After all, it can often be used as political commentary, and is also used as a form of empowerment.  As for novels, how can you write a historical piece focused on racism in America without using such a term?  It would certainly be difficult.  I think we sometimes need to look at the intended meaning behind the use of a typically offensive word before we get angry.

Then, even more recently, Michigan Representative Lisa Brown was silenced after saying the dreaded "V" word, which is the clinical term for a part of the female body, during an abortion debate.   Apparently using the name of a body part offended several people in the assembly, though I'm kind of stunned as to why.  Well, I'm actually not stunned.  It's a body part that can be used for sexual purposes, so I guess it's considered "offensive by association."  Now, I'm not going to go into her subsequent actions and whether they were appropriate or not (that is a whole new can of worms and would dominate the rest of this post).  You can read more HERE and decide for yourselves.  However, I will say this.  She said the actual name of a body part that half the people in this country have.  I can think of several slang terms she could have used that would have been far more inflammatory and would have justified action against her.  However, she used the clinical term of a body part that is inevitably involved in an abortion debate.  Maybe people need to get over it.  It's a word we had to say aloud in a high school anatomy class, for crying out loud.  These were full grown adults who were complaining.  Something seems off there.  And I know I didn't write out the "V" word either, which makes me seem hypocritical, but I think the absurdity of me not saying it helps me make my point.

Anyway, the point I'm trying to make in all this ranting is that language comes with all sorts of rules, both written and unwritten.  Language belongs to society and is constantly under construction.  It's political, it's tricky, and malleable.  Anyone who understands it well enough can use it to make any point they want.  It's all about the words you use.  The world is one large word game.

I want to say now that I never intended to offend anyone with the content of this long rant.  I was trying to make some serious points and offer my own opinions.  Think what you will of what I believe.  For any of you who I may have offended and still decided to stick with it this far, or for any of you who simply love word games, here's a little fun for you.  Follow the links to play some free, and fun, word games.  These sites have a ton to choose from.  Or just do your own search for "word games."  If you can't find anything to your liking from that long list of results, well, then I certainly can't help you.

Have a good day everyone!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Books Are My Reward, but Awards Are Great Too!

The fabulous Krista McLaughlin at The Jelly Beans of Writing has passed on The Booker Award to Yours Truly.  

The rules of the award:

*  This award is for book bloggers only. To receive this award the blog must be at least 50% about books (Reading or writing is okay)
*  Along with receiving this award, you must also share your top five favorite books you have ever read.
*  You must give this award to 5-10 other lucky book blogs you adore.

Since I've gotten this award before, and the other times I chose my favorite fiction books, this time I'll mention a few of my favorite non-fiction books.  This won't by any means be a complete list, because I love many non-fiction books as well.  To see the other lists, go HERE and HERE.

  1. Don't Panic: Douglas Adams & The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Neil Gaiman (One of my favorite authors of all time writing about one of my favorite authors of all time.  How could I not love this?)
  2. The Neil Gaiman Reader, edited by Darrell Schweitzer
  3. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank (Ultimately heartbreaking, but very human and always inspiring.)
  4. Coming of Age in the Milky Way by Timothy Ferris
  5. The Varieties of Religious Experience by William James
  6. The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God by Carl Sagan
The last two on this list go together for me.  Though I'm not religious, especially not in any strict following-dogma kind of way, I'm always interested in asking the big questions.  I also find it interesting to see how other people search for those for the answers.    Carl Sagan's book is composed of the 1985 Gifford Lectures, and is meant to be a response to #5.  Whether you search for answers in your life through religion or science (I personally lean toward science), both books are very interesting reads.  What I learned from these two books is that all of us cling to one or the other because we want to understand the nature of existence and what that nature means in our lives.

1.  Sania @ Embracing Dawn
3.  Donna L. Martin @ On The Write Track

Now, I know I'm supposed to pass this on to at least 5, but having given this one out before, I can't remember who else I've awarded with this.  My memory isn't the best on Mondays.

Thanks again Krista!

Meeting With My Muse: Decisions and Diversions

So, my muse Pleiades finally came back from her vacation.  I guess the change in scenery did something for her, because when she finally showed up at my doorstep to discuss the upcoming week, she did a 180 on me.

Pleiades:  Are you ready to get some work done?

Me:  You bet!  If I'm going to get anything published in the near future, I need to get working!

Pleiades:  All right.  How's your time travel idea going?

Me:  I've made some progress.  I like the angle I chose, and I have a good twist for the ending.  It doesn't seem out of place, and I think it could work.  I have a lot of plotting left to do, but I think . . .

Pleiades:  Well, keep that in mind, but I have something else in mind for you.

Me:  What?  I thought you said . . .

Pleiades:  Yeah, I know what I said.  You should keep that one in mind, but I also spent some time during my vacation reading your blog, and I know what you should be working on right now.

Me:  What?  You read my blog?

Pleiades:  (Looks shocked.)  Of course I read your blog.  Do you think I'm so negligent in my musing duties that I don't keep up with your progress?  I might have been out of the country, but that doesn't mean I've stopped doing what I do best.

Me:  I guess that's a matter of opinion.

Pleiades:  (Rewards me with a piercing look.)  I'll pretend I didn't hear that.  Anyway, after reading the scenes you wrote in your other manuscript, I think you need to go back and revise that instead.

Me:  What makes you say that?

Pleiades:  You have to give the people what they want!  The people commenting on the scenes seemed to like them.  You've already mapped out all the revisions that need to be done.  If you buckle down and do it, it shouldn't even take that long.  The only thing stopping you at this point is fear.

Me:  Come on.  I have other things that need . . .

Pleiades:  Nope.  Not another word.  This is what you're doing.  If you refuse, then you can do whatever you want on your own.  If you want my help, then you have to do what I say.

That's when she walked out.  It looks like I don't have much choice in the matter, so I'd better get on with it. My muse can be pretty bossy sometimes.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Blogspiration 4:Autocorrect Mishap

In going through the revision process on a WIP, I've learned once again that it's a bad idea to trust autocorrect.  Not to overestimate my abilities, but some of the errors I found could have only been computer generated.

Therefore, when I saw this on Facebook, it really resonated.  Before hitting send or save, you should always make sure you've actually said what you meant to say.  And if you send something like this by accident, then I suggest you decide simply to laugh at yourself.  Trust me, even if you don't, your friends will.

If you want to do crossdressing as a high school activity, there is no formal team for it.  Your best bet would be to go out for the school play.  I did some theater in high school, and crossdressing happened more than once.  And men in makeup.  Fun times.

Welcome to the Awards Show

Dana at The Daily Dose has passed some awards on to me.  Thank you so much! It's always good to feel special.

First up.

In order to accept the award: 

1. Link back to the person who gave it to you. Check.
2. Post the award to your blog.  Check.
3. Give the award to 5 bloggers with less than 200 followers.  Will do at the end of this post.
4. Leave a comment on the 5 blogs to let them know that they have been offered this award.  

Step One. Thank the person who gave you this award.  Thank you again Dana!
Step Two. Share seven things about yourself. 

Since the Versatile Blogger Award (see below) also requires me to share seven things about myself, I'll have this list count for both of them.  Hey, people can only stand to know me in small doses.  Trust me, I know from experience!

  1. I am, on occasion, my own worst enemy.  I tend to make myself feel like my writing is inferior without the help of others who might otherwise discourage me.
  2. Lately I've started working on editing another WIP, which is called (for the time being anyway) The Minor War.  Since posting scenes from that book for the First Fight, First Kiss Blogfest, the support and encouragement I've received from many of you has inspired me to go back to it.  I already know what many of the issues with this MS are.  Let's see if I can fix them!
  3. One issue I have is length.  The current draft of The Minor War is sitting at 123,000 words.  I know I need to get it down to 120,000 at least.  Still, that seems doable enough.  It's the ones that follow that have me concerned.  The sequel is 131,000 words, and the third one is 136,000.  Those will be much more difficult to trim down.  At the same time, I should probably focus my neurotic worries on the MS I'm working on right now.  I can worry about the others later.
  4. I think I took on too large of a project when I started this series.  As an unpublished author, it's a big task to tackle.  I'm learning as I go, which doesn't make things easy.  Yet I'm too emotionally invested in this series to give up on it.  I just love it too much, so I have to make it work.
  5. I like prologues.  They're handy in that they can deliver necessary information that could be difficult to introduce nicely into the actual narrative.  Also, if I forget any detail, I can just flip back to the prologue to find it.  They may be the driest part of the book, but the utility of them is enough for me to forgive that.
  6. That being said, I don't much care for the actual process of writing a prologue.  It feels tedious.  Editing them is even worse.  That is a process I suffered through last night.
  7. I have a gigantic folder with my printed MS in it.  It's been made thicker with pages and pages of notebook paper with revision notes written on them.  It's large enough to use as a deadly weapon.  My sons like to open it and flip through it.  It's a good thing they don't know how to read yet, because there are things in there inappropriate a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old.  It's cute though!  My 3-year-old says he's reading mommy's book.

I've received this one a couple of times, and I'm running out of interesting stories about times I dressed up.  However, I can give you pictures of times when I was trying to look good, though I felt like I was put together all wrong.

The above picture was taken in the hospital after I gave birth to my first son, Jude.  We are about to go home.  I tried to look stylish, but my legs and feet were so swollen I had to wear old worn-out tennis shoes.  I even had to take the laces out of them.  My feet were too big to tie them.  I couldn't wear shoes for four more days after this either.

This is me just before going home with my next child, Lyle.  I tried to look good, but physically I felt like I'd been hit by a bus.  Still, I was smiling, in part because I couldn't wait to leave the hospital.  I'm not too fond of hospitals.

Though I just received this one recently, I like to dig deep and find more to say.  I'm probably a masochist that way, but if I don't push myself, I'll never get anything done.  This is simple one more way to push myself.  To see how I answered the first time, go HERE.

1. Post the rules on your blog.
2. Name five of your most fabulous moments, either in real life or in the blogosphere.
3. Name five things you love.
4. Name five things you hate.
5. Pass the ribbon on to five other bloggers. (Leave them a comment to notify them of their win.)

Okay.  Here we go!

5 Most Fabulous Moments
  1. Getting my first poem published at age 12.
  2. Having an essay published at 13 (though I read it now and go, What was I thinking writing this?)
  3. Completing my self-portrait in 9th grade for Art1.  I am no artist, but we were charged with doing a painting.  It was supposed to be a portrait composed of things that represent who we are.  I painted a collage of cool things.  It did not look amazing, but I put in the work and created the best piece of art I'd ever done.  I also got an A on it, so that's cool too.
  4. Getting my acceptance letter to Drake University.  I felt pretty tall that day.
  5. High school graduation.
5 Things I Love
  1. Watching science fiction movies.
  2. Eating popcorn while watching science fiction movies.
  3. Traveling.
  4. Going for walks with my family.
  5. Eating root beer floats.
5 Things I Hate
  1. Taking math tests.
  2. Going to the DMV.
  3. Paying for cable and realizing there's still nothing good to watch.
  4. Hangovers.
  5. The constant bad taste I have in my mouth while I'm sick.
Now to find five blogs to pass on all these awards to.  I always find this is the hardest part.  I know some of you already have a few of these awards.  Feel free to take all of them, or only the ones that you want.  Whatever you decide is okay with me.

  1. Gossip_Grl @ Just You Wait! One Day I Will . . .
  2. Andrea Teagan @ The Enchanted Writer
  3. Kelli @ Delightfully Ludicrous
  4. Jennifer @ A Creative Exercise
  5. Jenn @ Scribbles From Jenn
Thanks for being patient through this admittedly large post.

Oh, and I'd also like to say Happy Father's Day to my dad, my husband, and to all the other dads out there. You rock!

Friday, June 15, 2012

"I'll Flash You!" Part 5

Part 1:  The Sounding
Part 2:  The Blank Slate
Part 4:  The Third

The Absurdity

Part 5: Portals

It felt nice to stroll through the trees.  Though we hadn’t encountered anyone else during our time together, I liked the sense of seclusion they provided.  I finally felt like I could relax.

Jester seemed perfectly content to continue holding my hand as we walked.  I didn’t know if she actually liked me, or she was just starved for human contact after being alone for so long.  I figured, if I was lucky, it would be a bit of both.

When we emerged on the other side of the woods, we stood at the edge of a vast desert.  “There’s nothing subtle about this change in landscape,” I observed.

“This place can be dramatic,” Jester acknowledged.  “Some parts of it can also be very subtle.  So far you seem to be able to recognize both.”

“I’m guessing that’s good.”

She nodded.  “That’s very good.  So good, in fact, that I think I can teach you how to move around this world.”

“Already?”  As anxious as I was to learn this trick, I assumed it would take longer to prove myself.

“Well, if you don’t want to, I guess we could walk through this desert instead,” Jester said playfully.  Her eyes sparkled, and it was unexpectedly difficult to look away.

“On second thought, now isn’t soon enough.”  Though I knew Jester was joking, that desert didn’t look all that pleasant.  The sun beat down relentlessly on the sand, and the light reflected harshly back, threatening to blind me.

“All right, John Doe.  Hold out your hand,” she instructed.

I made a mental note to choose a good name.  My given name meant nothing to me. 

Once I extended my hand, Jester grabbed it and ran a light finger across my palm.  A shudder ran through my body in response.  “You need to pay attention to every sensation.  When you reach out to open a portal, keep in mind that reality is layered.  Feeling out the layers in reality is like turning the pages in a book.  You just need to know which page you want to go to.  Finding it, however, is more a matter of instinct.”

Instinct.  This meant either it would come to me, or it wouldn’t.  I let Jester position my hand with my palm out, and she guided it to mimic the little wave I’d seen her do.  After a few practice waves, she seemed satisfied that I had the motion down.  “Now what?” I asked.

“Now, think back to the big room where we saw the universe together.  Remember how it felt.  With that feeling in your mind, wave your hand.”

I tried to do as she asked.  I just didn’t really understand what she meant.  The room was vast, and I felt so small while I was in there that it was unreal.  Yet, even with that smallness, I also had an unprecedented power.  In that room, I could walk anywhere and see anything.  There was a limitlessness that I’d never known before.  With these recollections prominent in my mind, I swept my hand through the air.

The sensation startled me at first.  I wasn’t expecting it, but I felt my hand catch on something.  As my hand continued to move, I realized it was prying the layers of reality back like an onion skin.  Left in awe by this remarkable thing I’d done, I stepped through.

The black hole that held us captive earlier with its raw power was once again below my feet.  “I did it!” I exclaimed.  I could open doorways in thin air.  I could stand over the most powerful forces in the known universe and walk away unharmed.  The feeling of power coursed through me, and I felt more alive than I could ever remember feeling.

Then a power of an entirely different kind seized me from behind.  I found myself spinning around, and Jester’s arms looped around my shoulders.  The black hole may not have had any hold over me, but she certainly did.  Balancing on nimble toes, she stretched until her lips locked on to mine.

The force with which she held me there in that kiss could only be described as gravity.  Her kiss was firm and demanding, and I felt it all the way down to my knees.  I didn’t have the ability, or the will, to pull away.  Her body was pressed up against me, and my hands came to rest on delicious curve of her hips.  I promptly forgot about everything else as my enthusiasm drove me to lift her off the ground.  Her powerful legs were soon wrapped around my waist, and my arms caged her in with the same fervor.

Then she leaned back, and her flushed cheeks showed that she enjoyed that just as much as I did.  Unfortunately, her expression was all business again.  “You need to see something.”

Part of me wanted to resist this change in tone, but I said nothing as she released her grip and lightly hopped back down.  “What do you want to show me this time?”

“I guess you could call it the end of the line,” she replied.  “After that, you’ll need to decide whether you want to stay or not.”

Part 6: The Dream Reader