Monday, July 28, 2014

Express Yourself: Who Would Portray You?

The Express Yourself Weekly Meme is hosted by Jackie @ Bouquet of Books and Dani @ Entertaining Interests.

The question for this week is: Who would you choose to portray you in a movie?

This is an interesting question.  Should I choose someone significantly better looking than me so everyone will think that is what I look like, or should I choose based on acting ability?  :)

Joking aside, I would have to choose Felicia Day.  She's a redhead like me, she's able to portray odd characters in a convincing and fun way, and she's reasonably close to my age. Sure, she's six years older than me, but Hollywood actresses seem to age significantly slower than the general population anyway, so I think it would work out.

Who would you choose to portray you in a movie?

Friday, July 25, 2014

Express Yourself: July 25, 2014

It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with VikLit!

I am one of four happy co-hosts for this weekly blog gathering.  The other wonderful co-hosts are:

Diana Wilder
Katie @ TheCyborg Mom
CaffeMaggieato @ mscoffeehouse

Overall, it's been a pretty great week.  Last weekend ended up being super busy, but fun!  I mentioned a parade in town last week.  Well, not only did I take my kids to the parade, they had a chance to be in it!  They were so excited!

Then the next day, we took our kids to the county fair so they could go for pony rides.  They had so much fun doing that as well!

This week has also brought me some great writing inspiration!  I'm still happily working away at it, and I'm grateful that the words are flowing so nicely.  I hope it lasts!

Today also happens to be my friend Chelsea's birthday, so I'd like to wish her a Happy Birthday!

And Chelsea, I know you're not a Trekkie like me, but I hope you'll forgive me for the GIF.  It was just too funny for me to pass up!

We should also have more interesting times ahead, because my sister-in-law is going to have a baby soon!  I'll be the crazy aunt to another nephew!  Can you tell I'm excited?

What would you like to celebrate?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Express Yourself: Favorite Items

The Express Yourself Weekly Meme is hosted by Jackie @ Bouquet of Books and Dani @ Entertaining Interests.

The question for this week is: What are some fave items you have that bring you comfort and/or special memories?

One thing that brings both is obvious.  My books.  Books are like old friends. They allow me to have wonderful adventures that I can relive over and over again.  My stack of old writing notebooks is also a great source of memories.  I can look back on them and see how I've grown as a writer.  I can enjoy old stories I had forgotten.

Another item that brings me comfort and inspires fond memories is my telescope.  I spent a lot of my childhood gazing through a telescope dreaming of all the things that might exist out there in the universe.  I can still tap into that feeling every time I use my telescope, and I love that!

What brings you comfort or inspires special memories?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Celebrate the Small Things-July 18, 2014

Is it really Friday already?  Let's take the time to Celebrate the Small Things with VikLit!

Once again, I am acting as a co-host.  The other wonderful co-hosts are:

Diana Wilder
Katie @ TheCyborg Mom
CaffeMaggieato @ mscoffeehouse

This week has been fairly quiet.  Nothing too noteworthy has happened (good or bad), but that's okay.  A quiet week can be rejuvenating, after all.  It's certainly good for getting some writing done!

The kids did get to have a lot of fun at a birthday party, and while at that party, I got to catch up with some friends.  That's always nice.

There's going to be a parade in town on Saturday morning, so I'll probably take the kids to see that.

What would you like to celebrate?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Express Yourself: Grade School Memories

The Express Yourself Weekly Meme is hosted by Jackie @ Bouquet of Books and Dani @ Entertaining Interests.

The question this week is: What is a favorite grade school memory?

I think the best time I had in grade school came in 5th grade.  We took a field trip to Iowa City, which is a halfway across the state from where I went to school. We visited the old capitol, and we visited the University of Iowa as well.  We even got autographs from the members of the men's basketball team.  Overall, it was an exciting day.  It was the furthest away I'd ever gone without my parents at that point, and we didn't get back until 7:00 P.M. Yes, it might seem silly now, but it reminded me of the fact that I was getting older, that I would soon get the chance to do more and more grown-up things.

What's your favorite grade school memory?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Kyra Lennon's Sidelined Blog Tour

I'm so happy to welcome the wonderful Kyra Lennon to my blog today!  I could write a long, elaborate introduction, by why should I do that when you'd much rather be reading what Kyra has to say?

In Sidelined, Jude is the Westberg Warriors goalkeeper, but he is somewhat overshadowed by his wife, Bree. The cool thing about that is, he doesn’t mind because he isn’t really crazy about the spotlight. He does his job and he’s happy to let Bree take centre stage whenever they go out. This guest post from Jude is a deeper look about how he feels about Bree, from when they met, to right now.

*     *     *     *     *

I met Bree in the most ridiculous, unconventional, heartbreaking way ever. Regular couples meet in regular places; a club, the movies, through friends. Nothing about Bree and I was conventional from the moment we met. We’ve sort of got normality down now, but it took a while.

Bree was broken when I met her. Fragile, scared. Right away, there was something about her, though. Something warm and sweet beneath the fear. But she was seventeen and I was ten years older than her. I know what you’re thinking. A rich soccer player taking in a damaged teenager – I must be some kind of pervert, right? Believe me, there’s nothing you can think that didn’t cross my own mind.

But it wasn’t like that. I didn’t see her and take her in because I have a thing for young girls. I didn’t feel that way about her at first. I couldn’t explain why I wanted to take care of her when I knew she could take care of herself – she was so much older than her years because of things she’d been through. There was just something inside me that told me it was the right thing to do – to take care of her until she found her own place to live. She didn’t use me or my money. She found a job when she was feeling better; but she was too stubborn to even ask me for some cash so she could buy some new clothes, even though she had almost nothing. I forced two hundred dollars into her hand and told if her if it made her feel better, she could pay me back when she started work.

Every penny of it came back to me, even though I told her to keep it.

She stayed with me for a year, saving up frantically so she could “get out of my way”. She was never in my way. Little by little, she started to spend less time in her room, and more time with me. We watched movies together, ate dinner together, and she really loved doing all the things tourists love to do when they visit L.A. That’s just one of the things I love about her. You live in L.A too long, you stop appreciating it, but she still gets excited by the Hollywood sign, even now.

Bree made me laugh like nobody else ever had. I’m pretty serious a lot of the time, but she showed me how to lighten up. She still has to remind me sometimes.

You can’t imagine how much I tormented myself when I asked her out on a date. She was eighteen – legally an adult – but I knew what kind of treatment I’d get if things actually started to work out between us. Ten years isn’t such a big deal – if I’d been thirty-eight, and she’d been twenty-eight, that would have been okay. But it was the “teen” part of her age that made me question everything.

I talked to my friends about it, asked them if there was something wrong with me for having feelings for Bree when she was so young. Miguel and Will were my go-to guys back then, and both of them reassured me that it was okay. That I was okay for having feelings for her. It wasn’t like I made a habit out of picking up younger women – it was her. She was special. She is special.

Of course, we got more than our fair share of comments. I really thought it would be me who would come off worse for “corrupting” a young girl, but while there definitely was some of that, mostly, I was the one being warned that Bree was after my money. It didn’t matter how many times I explained that she never took anything from me, nobody believed it.

I asked Bree over and over if it was too much. If the constant commentary about how wrong we were together was too much hassle for her. She always responded the same way. With a big smile, and a head shake, as if I was worth it all. Lucky for me, because I felt the same way about her.

We weathered it together. Slowly, people stopped talking about what they thought we were and saw the truth. I was in love with her, and she looked at me as if I was the best man ever to walk the planet.

And that’s our story. Most days, Bree still looks at me as if I’m the best man to ever walk the planet, and I’m still very much in love with her. More now than ever.

Blurb: At the age of twenty-one, Bree Collinson has more than she ever dreamed of. A handsome husband, a fancy house, and more shoes than Carrie Bradshaw and Imelda Marcos combined. But having everything handed to her isn’t the way Bree wants to live the rest of her life. When an idea to better herself pops into her head, she doesn’t expect her husband to question her, and keep her tied by her apron strings to the kitchen.

Isolated and unsure who to turn to, Bree finds herself falling back into a dangerous friendship, and developing feelings for the only person who really listens to her. Torn between her loyalty to her husband and her attraction to a man who has the perfect family she always wanted, she has some tough choices to make.

While Bree tries to figure out what she wants, a tragedy rocks the Westberg Warriors, triggering some dark memories, and pushing her to take a look at what’s really important.

About the Author:

Kyra is a self-confessed book-a-holic, and has been since she first learned to read. When she's not reading, you'll usually find her hanging out in coffee shops with her trusty laptop and/or her friends, or girling it up at the nearest shopping mall.

Kyra grew up on the South Coast of England and refuses to move away from the seaside which provides massive inspiration for her novels. Her debut novel, Game On (New Adult Contemporary Romance), was released in July 2012, and she scored her first Amazon Top 20 listing with her New Adult novella, If I Let You Go.

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Friday, July 11, 2014

Celebrate the Small Things-July 11, 2014

It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with VikLit!

I'm happy to be a co-host, along with my other wonderful co-hosts.
Diana Wilder
Katie @ TheCyborg Mom
CaffeMaggieato @ mscoffeehouse

We had a good 4th of July celebration with my dad.  The kids loved playing with sparklers, and it was fun to watch the fireworks.

My husband's birthday was on Sunday.  We had a nice family get-together for that.  There was cake, and there was swimming for the children.  Overall, it was a pretty relaxed day, which was fine by us.

I've been crafty this week.  I decided to make a homemade gift for my friend's daughter (who is turning three), so now I'm elbow deep in fabrics and thread.  I love sewing, but I'd almost forgotten how messy it can be.  In spite of the mess, though, it's been a lot of fun!

What would you like to celebrate?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Express Yourself: Lines From My WIP

The Express Yourself Weekly Meme is hosted by Jackie @ Bouquet of Books and Dani @ Entertaining Interests.

The prompt for this week is: In your WIP what is the last line on pg. 10 and the first line on pg. 42?  Not a writer, then use a book of your liking.

I have two WIPs at the moment, but since one of them is a short story, the longer one is better suited to this task.  The WIP in question is my sci-fi/dystopian novella "A Silent Soliloquy".

Here's the last line of page 10. He probably hasn’t had access to even the most basic medical care in years.

And here's the first line of page 42.  “We just injected him with a few stimulants,” Ms. Grayson replies. 

And that's it from me.  Do you have any lines from your WIP that you'd like to share?

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Writing Process Blog Hop

I was recently tagged for The Writing Process Blog Hop by the amazing Sophie Duncan.  I met her earlier this year during the A to Z Challenge and have been a fan of hers ever since. If you've never visited her before, I highly suggest you do!

I'm excited about this hop, because it's a good opportunity to share with all of you how my creative process works.  The rules for this hop are fairly simple.


  1. Introduce who referred the blog tour to you
  2. Answer the following 4 questions:
    • What am I working on?
    • How does my work differ from others in its genre?
    • Why do I write what I do?
    • How does my writing process work?
  3. Introduce the people you're passing this on to (3 - 4 people if possible who will then post a week later)
So here we go!

Obviously I already completed #1 on that list, so now I'll move on to #2.  

What am I working on?

Right now, I'm working on two different projects.  First of all, I'm in the middle of editing my sci-fi/dystopian novella "A Silent Soliloquy".  After I finish this round of edits, I'll find some fresh eyes to read over it so I can get some much needed feedback.  Then I'll edit it again while keeping in mind the feedback I collect.  I'm nervous about this (of course, I'm always afraid of what people might think of my work), but I'm also kind of excited.  We all need fresh eyes from time to time, and critique helps us to grow as writers.

The other project I'm working on is a sci-fi short story.  The working title is "In Justice We Trust".  It's a new WIP, so I don't want to go into much detail about it right now.  All I can say is that, when it's done, I plan to submit it to a magazine. Right now, I'm considering submitting it to either Asimov's or Fantasy & Science Fiction.  I know that's an ambitious plan, but I think we all need to be ambitious once in awhile.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

Now that's a difficult question.  I just write what I want to write, and I am well aware of the ways in which my stories are similar to others in their genre. Perhaps it's easy to be aware of this because we desperately want to create a truly original work and fear others stepping in and claiming that we've ripped off a beloved work.  No one wants to have that happen, though it seems largely inevitable if your writing becomes well-known.

Perhaps my voice is what distinguishes what I write from the rest of the genre. We each have our own unique voice, and the key is to make that work for what you write.  I've heard of people trying to replicate the writing style of famous authors they admire, but I think writers are far better off to polish the voice that comes naturally to them.

Why do I write what I do?

That's a fairly simple question to answer.  I write what I feel compelled to write. I grew up reading science fiction thanks to my dad.  Our bookshelves were always filled with science fiction books, and I fell in love with the exciting stories and the endless possibilities.  My parents were both fans of shows such as Star Trek and Babylon 5.  We watched every science fiction movie that came our way. Science fiction is the genre I know.  That's how my stories come to me.  My brain is now wired to go that way, I suppose, and that's fine with me.  I love writing science fiction, and I would never want to change that.

How does my writing process work?

It all starts with the big idea.  They can come from anywhere.  Sometimes I'll be reading a news article, and the idea will hit me full force in the face (this is how "In Justice We Trust" started out).  At other times, I'll just be staring off into the sky, and something comes to me unbidden.  I often carry a notebook with me, and I jot down the ideas as they come.

I usually spend a week or so letting an idea roll around in my mind.  I continue taking notes, asking myself questions about the story-telling possibilities that come from the idea I've had. Once I get to the point where I feel like I have enough information to write a full story, I write a rough outline.  I experiment with the order of events, and I try to get a good idea of where each piece of information will be most effective.

This is about the same point where I start developing my characters.  Sometimes the story idea starts with a specific character intruding into my thoughts, demanding to be given something to do, but this isn't always the case.  In developing my characters, I think of what kind of person I want to see operating inside of the scenario I've created, and in analyzing how they react to the events I've already outlined, I'm able to create a more detailed outline.  I take the relationships between the characters into consideration during this stage, though I always leave room for those relationships to evolve on the page when I'm writing the actual first draft.  After all, characters will occasionally behave in ways that run contrary to what we've planned out ahead of time.

Once the more detailed outline has been drawn up, I start writing the first draft. This part gets kind of weird, because I don't tend to write things in order.  I write the major scenes first, probably because those are the scenes I get the most excited about.  Once the most important scenes are down on paper, I go back and fill in the narrative gaps, tying things together as best I can.

After this is done, I go back and rewrite it.  This helps me smooth out any issues caused by my insistence on writing things out of sequence.  This is also the stage where I pay particular attention the the beginning and ending of the story.  I feel like I generally have a good idea of how I want it to end by this point, but I struggle to decide where to start the story.  I usually need to write the beginning a few times in order to get an idea of where things need to begin.

Once this initial rewrite is complete, it's ready for critique.  This is the most difficult part for me, because I'm afraid everyone will hate what I've written. Still, feedback is necessary, especially for longer, more complicated works.  An unbiased reader can point out the problems with a story that the writer may not see, as well as offer reassurance that you've done certain things right.

This reader feedback helps me go back to make the final polish on the piece (unless, of course, a major structural issue is discovered, in which case an entire rewrite is in order).

That's basically it.  I've left out the occasional bouts of "I can't do this, why did I think I could do this?" and "this idea is crap, why would anyone ever want to read this?" because I have them every time, and they occur at different times during the writing process.  Sometimes those doubts lead me on to work on something else, and at other times, I recognize that the idea is at least worth the time and effort.  Not all stories get finished, and that's okay, but we can't let our self-doubts derail everything we put to paper.  That's just unproductive.

Okay, this is the point where I cheat a little bit.  I know a lot of my blogging friends have already done this blog hop, and I'm not sure who hasn't done it yet. So, if you haven't done it yet and would like to (or perhaps you liked it so much when you did it before that you'd like to do it again), let me know in the comments.  If you decide to do it, you'd be posting sometime next week.  Just let me know when, and I'll make a special post directing people to check out what you have to say.  If you're going to put in the effort, I'll do what I can to make sure you get some traffic for it!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Celebrate the Small Things-July 4, 2014

It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with VikLit!

I am proud to be a co-host, along with my other fellow co-hosts:

Diana Wilder
Katie @ TheCyborg Mom
CaffeMaggieato @ mscoffeehouse

To all my fellow American blogging friends, happy Independence Day!  This is always a great holiday, because I love grilling out and fireworks.  My kids certainly can't stop talking about the fireworks.  Plus, this holiday is a good excuse to have a drink or two.  What more could you want?

Image courtesy of nirots/
Due to certain unfortunate circumstances, money is going to be tight for the next few months.  That isn't reason to celebrate in and of itself, but the situation is driving me to find new ways to earn a little extra income.  It's kind of exciting to consider new things to try, and we'll see where it goes.

Definite good news is that I got a short story published this week.  Please check it out if you can.  The story is on 55 words long, so it shouldn't take more than a few moments.  You can find the details about it HERE.

Writing is still going well for me this week, so I'm excited about that.

What would you like to celebrate?

Thursday, July 3, 2014

55 Fiction

I recently submitted a few short pieces to a contest held by the New Times called 55 Fiction.  The goal is to tell a story in 55 words.  Fortunately, this word count does not include the title.  Still, it's not an easy task.  Anyway, I'm excited to announce that one of my stories, "An Odd Pair", was selected as a winner and published.  You can read it, as well as the other winning entries, below.  Mine is on page 2.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Insecure Writer's Support Group: July 2014

Is it really the first Wednesday of the month already?  That hardly seems possible. Anyway, our esteemed leader and Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh is once again calling together the monthly meeting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group.  His co-hosts for this month are Krista McLaughlin, Kim Van Sickler, Heather Gardner, and Hart Johnson.

Be sure to stop by the IWSG website for any additional support you might need.

This month is a rarity for me.  As I write this post, I'm so excited about my writing that insecurity has no room to rear its ugly head.  I'm working on several things at once, and while that may have left my brain a bit scattered, I'm excited about all of my current projects.  Hopefully that excitement will carry through the month and take me somewhere good.

In the meantime, I wanted to share a couple inspirational quotes with you.  They all show that, despite the impressive successes these well-known people may have had, they are occasionally insecure too, and they've had their own experiences with failure.

"I don't know if proud is the right word, but I am somebody who does not, on the whole, have the highest regard for my own stuff in that when I look all I get to see are the flaws".
-Neil Gaiman

"It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might has well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default."
-J. K. Rowling

"I'm a bit of a coward, and lazy, oddly enough."
-Stephen Fry

If someone you admire has made it to a position of success in spite of, or perhaps even because of, those all-too-human doubts and mistakes that have plagued us all, then surely you can too.  Just don't give up.  None of us are perfect, but it is perseverance that will carry us through even the must frustrating of times.

Hang in there!  We're in this together!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Express Yourself: Beloved Toys

The Express Yourself Weekly Meme is hosted by Jackie @ Bouquet of Books and Dani @ Entertaining Interests.

The question for this week is: Did you have a beloved toy growing up? What was it?

I did have a beloved toy growing up.  In fact, I still have him.  I would show you a picture, but he's in rough shape.  A little too rough for such a public display. He's a stuffed dog, and his name is Puppy.  Yes, two-year-old me was so creative with names!  He was a gift from one of my parents' friends.

Over the years, he's been chewed on, barfed on, slept on, stepped on, and he even took a nice swim in the lake once.  I accidentally dropped him when we were canoeing, and my mom swam out to retrieve him for me.  Honestly, it's amazing he hasn't completely disintegrated by now.

Thank you, Puppy.  You chased away my nightmares, and you endured treatment that no toy should ever have to tolerate.  You've been a wonderful and loyal stuffed doggy.

Did you have a beloved childhood toy?