Monday, October 31, 2011

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Hey. I just wanted to wish you guys a Happy Halloween. I hope you have fun tonight. Kevin told me he’s going to put his amp next to the front window and play Iron Man by Black Sabbath on his electric guitar. He also has a wah, wah pedal, so he’s going to use that as well to make weird, scary ass noises to scare the crap out of the kids (LOL).

I was looking on UTube for a good Halloween video to post, and the ones I came across were cheesy, but this one wasn't too bad.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!





Tuesday, October 25, 2011

One of The Things You Hope to Accomplish As a Writer.

A couple days ago I received a chapter from my writing/critique partner to critique for her. When I was reading it, I was not only surprised, but a little freaked out. And let me tell ya, I haven’t been freaked out by something I’ve read in a very long time.

As a writer that’s one of the things you hope to accomplish–to pull the reader into the story so they feel like they’re actually there and are emotionally involved in it. My writing partner did a good job doing that, so much so, I almost feel like saying. . . .


 

 
Just kidding, Valentina. :). Lol.
 
 
When I was writing, ‘Beyond the Eyes,’ I'd ask my critique partners if they felt anything while they were reading a chapter of mine that was suppose to be emotional or funny. Thankfully, they did. So hopefully, when the public eventually reads it, it’ll have the same effect on them as well. I know I’ve read it like a hundred times or more (I’m actually reading it right now–again) and I still feel those emotions when I read it. I don’t know if it’s because I wrote it, or if it's the real deal. However, my critique partners laughed and cried while reading it, so maybe it’s the real deal.

In my last post I’d said that I think the young adult paranormal genre is going to evolve into more creative and bolder stories–not that the books out now are less creative. I’m more or less talking about the trends that have been going on for a while now. I think new things will emerge out of the woodwork and what my critique partner is writing now, is a prime example of that. So hopefully I’m right, and once she gets it published, it’ll do well. I’ll certainly back her up on it.

Go Valentina!

*Jumps up and down. Tries to do the splits, but pulls a leg muscle instead.*

Over the weekend I decided to reread my first book, and then do the rewriting/editing on my second book, before I write the third one.

Anyway, as I’m writing this post, I can hear gunshots in the distance from hunters. It’s too far away for a bullet to whiz through my window straight into my skull (I know what a lovely thought, huh?).

I know I shouldn’t be thinking about stuff like that, but sometimes my imagination runs away with me, twisting in all different directions.

On that note, I shall take a respite from this world for a while, and fall into the world I’ve created.
 
 
 
 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Plugging Away

The other day I finished my rough draft to my second book in the ‘Beyond the Eyes’ series.

YAY.

So now I’ve been doing some research on my third book. Kevin thinks I should do four books in the series, but I’m just going to do three and see what happens. I think if I don’t have an agent, by the time all three books are polished and ready to be publicly read, then I’m going to self-publish. I know a lot of people are doing it now, even authors who have already been traditionally published.

Two years ago I thought if I had to self-publish then I must suck as a writer.

Not True.

There are wonderful writers out there who have decided to self-publish, and they’re doing well. Some of them have even had offers from agents/publishers, after they had self-published. I’m not saying that’ll happen to me, but ya never know. Then again, by then I might not want to traditionally publish. But the point is, just because you decide to self-publish, doesn’t mean your writing or story sucks ass.

The literary world is very subjective, and nobody can predict what the next popular thing is going to be.

It’s a guessing game.

I do think because of the Hunger Games movie coming out, which by the way, I can’t wait to see, dystopian-type books will probably be popular for a while. Not too long ago, I read that interest in the young adult paranormal books are dying out. However, there are some publishers still buying them. I personally think that although the shelves are saturated with YA paranormal books, that genre will still remain popular but in a different way. I believe that it’s going to evolve beyond what has already been done. I think the stories will get more creative and bolder, leaving behind the predictable and tiresome stories that now have readers rolling their eyes when they see another one of those books again. Not that there’s anything wrong with those books, but it’s virtually like all the other ones crammed next to it. It reminds me of. . . .

A vanilla shake.



You may have a penchant for vanilla shakes, but eventually you get tired of them because it’s the same thing–milk and ice-cream. Then one day you come across an ice-cream parlor that has turned your beloved vanilla shakes into a mouth watering–tastebud pleasing–oh my frickin’ God–I have to have one–creation.

The Blizzard.



Hell, yeah.

See where I’m going with this?

I know it’s a silly analogy, but hey, it works for me. But seriously, right now, the YA paranormal books are those vanilla shakes. I think there are a lot of readers out there who are diehard fans of that genre, but it’s becoming too bland for them. I think what they want are added goodies to that genre, and that’s what us writers need to give them. And not just the same goodies–a variety of them.

Okay, moving on before I start to embarrass myself.

Anyway, I’m trying to decide whether I should reread my first and second books, and then start editing/rewriting the second book, or start on the third one. I know when a writer is finished with their rough draft of their book, they’re supposed to put it aside for like six weeks, then go back and do the editing/rewriting, that way they’re going back over it with fresh eyes.

I don’t know.

All I know is if I don’t work on it after a few days, I miss it. Therefore, I have to figure out what to do.

Hmmmm. . . . What does my gut tell me?

*Big sigh*

Well, regardless of what I decide to do, I’m going to keep plugging away at it until I reach my goal(s).

HAPPY FRIDAY!
 

Monday, October 17, 2011

I've Been Tagged

I’ve been tagged by another blogger to write six random things about myself, so here goes. . . .

1.) I have a stuffed raccoon named Coonie that I’ve had since the age of fourteen. My best friend Michele bought him for me when I was going through a difficult time. He’s always on my bed, and when I’m feeling sad or I’m alone in bed, I hold him in my arms for comfort.

2.) I light up like a Christmas tree when I’m around yummy food.

I love food.

Thank God; I don’t have a slow metabolism; however, I do have to work out to be happy with my body.

3.) I hate getting my picture taken, but I’m working on overcoming that.

4.) When I was four, I tried following my sister and her friend to a shopping center on my big wheel and got lost. I didn’t know which way would lead me home (I still have no sense of direction) so I resorted to the ieany, meany, miny, moe, method.

Of course, it was the wrong way. But, hey, I was four.

I ended up crossing a busy intersection during rush hour traffic (on my big wheel) and found an ice cream shop.

Yeah, I might have been scared and lost, but leave it to me to have found an ice cream shop to brighten my mood.

Did I mention I love sweets too? :)

The employees took me under their wing and gave me candy. When the police officer showed up, he told me he didn’t think he could fit my big wheel into his car. I remember looking up at him and tearfully saying, "But you can’t leave my big wheel here." He gave me an, ‘aw, it’s okay’ look, and then shoved my big wheel into the trunk of his car. In his car, he'd asked me where I lived. I gave him my address, and I remember him praising me with how smart I was to have known that. And then I begged him not to tell my dad because I was afraid I’d get a spanking. The officer told me he had to, so when we got home I went upstairs and hid in the closet. My dad never spanked me, and I later found out that nice officer made my dad promise not to, so my dad grounded me instead.

5.) I can't sleep with my closet door open. It has to be closed.

6.) I love sweet and salty food together like white chocolate-covered pretzels.

Okay, that’s six random things about me, so if any of you who are reading this have a blog, you just been tagged. :)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Sassy Gay Friend

Have you seen this guy yet? I love him. I think we all need a sassy, gay friend in our life. I grew up around gay guys, and they’re so much fun to be around. I love them. When I was a kid, my mom’s best friend Greg, was my tooth fairy. (Lol). Also, when Kevin and I got married, our friend Dave was my maid of honor. Unfortunately, I’d lost contact with him years ago. He was a cute little blond guy who had a cat named Sebastian. He was so cute when he’d say, "This is my cat Sebastian."

I know. I’m a dork.
 
Anyway, I thought I’d share this video with you because I like it and it has to do with Shakespeare. There’s also a skit on Eve about to eat the apple that I love, but I had already posted that one on Facebook.


HAPPY FRIDAY!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Harvest. It's Pretty Damn Cool

I love fall. It’s my favorite time of year. I love how the leaves on the trees turn into beautiful, blazing colors. I love the crispness in the air to where it’s cool enough to wear a hoodie and the air smells like wood smoke. I love the gray days and that it gets darker early (I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it staying light in the summertime until 10:30 at night. There’s something seriously wrong with that). I also love that my favorite shows starts their new season. And I love the bounty of fresh food from the garden and trees.

Speaking of fresh food, our tomato plants did wonderfully this year. A few weeks ago, Kevin had made a huge batch of fresh yummy salsa with them, and on Saturday he made a pot of stewed tomatoes, then poured it in four containers, and stuck them in the freezer. We used the rest of the tomatoes for sandwiches and salads.

We also have a rhubarb plant, so I made rhubarb crisp for Kevin’s work, then chopped a butt-load up and stuck it in the freezer. And then my neighbor brought us three autumn cup squashes.

I love, love, love squash all mashed up with butter and brown sugar over it.

Yummy.

Then our neighbor came back by with a box full of apples from her apple tree, so I had to figure out what to do with them. I made, apple cinnamon kielbasa, which surprisingly was good, apple pork chops, apple crisp, apple sauce, and an apple pie. I even made the crust from scratch–first time ever. However, one turned out too hard and the other one turned out too soft. Can you sense a Goldilocks and the Three Bears theme here? Yeah, well, I didn’t go for a third time to get it just right. Instead, I improvised. I rolled out the hard crust as best I could and laid it in the pie pan, and then cut stripes from the soft crust and placed them on top of the apple pie filling, like a cobbler. And you know what? It came out beautifully, and. . . . Bonus. The crust was truly yummalicious.

After I made all of that, there was still more than half a box of apples left *big sigh*.

What in the world was I going to do with the rest of them?

Sure I could make apple butter and come up with more recipes with apples in it, but honestly, I was kinda getting burned out on it. I mean, if I had to I would. I wasn’t about to waste all those yummy organic apples. But then Kevin surprised me, and took that trivial concern of mine away.

On Saturday, I ventured out of the computer room, into the kitchen, and found him slicing the rest of the apples over the sink, dumping them in a colander. This was after he had already made the stewed tomatoes. Yeah, he was a busy little beaver, moving around with his cute self with the intention of storing it for the long winter. I asked him what he was doing, and he told me he was going to boil and freeze them.

Hey, that works for me.

Now, so far, we have in our freezer: rhubarb, stewed tomatoes, apple pie, and apples. We also have homemade chicken broth and chicken soup that was made before we received our bounty of harvest food.

It’s nice having fresh, organic food in the freezer whenever we can manage it. One day I would love to live in a place where I could get it all the time, along with fresh seafood. But for now, I’ll appreciate what I can get here because really, it’s pretty damn cool living in farm country where most everybody generously, including us, shares the food they’ve created with their own bare hands.

It’s pretty damn cool if you ask me, but it’s not like I haven’t already said that. :)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Cute Commercial

Have you guys seen this commercial yet? It’s rare that I see a commercial I like because most of them are lame, or so stupid that I’m embarrassed for the person who came up with the idea. The Swiffer is one of those stupid ass commercials. I can’t believe somebody got paid for it.

Anyway, if you've already seen this commercial, it's still worth watching again because it's that cute. And incase you're wondering. . . . Yes, I'm a Star Wars fan.
 
 
 
 
 
 
That commercial reminds me of my niece Ariel when she was little. She used to love watching the movie Matilda and would point her finger at things just like Matilda would do to move objects. One day Ariel was sitting on the couch after watching Matilda for the hundredth time (I didn’t mind. Really. It’s a cute movie), then afterwards she started pointing at things. My step dad was behind the couch holding the remote control. Of course, Ariel didn’t see him because she was too focused on the room in front of her. But when she pointed at the TV, my step dad turned it on. I was standing beside the couch, and Ariel looked at me with wide eyes, her mouth opened in surprise. I swear. It was one of the cutest moments ever.

HAPPY FRIDAY!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sacrificing Time

To become the best writer you can possibly be, you have to put a lot of time and effort into the craft, which involves a lot of hard work, persistence, and one other thing–sacrifice.

Your time, that is.

In order to reach your goal to become a published, successful author, and to turn your dream into a reality, you have to deny yourself time with your family, friends, going out, and so forth. Sure you’ll venture out to do the mundane things such as grocery shopping, running errands, clean house, preparing meals, laundry–blah, blah, blah. You may even sometimes go out to dinner or have a short visit with your neighbor. Maybe even take a walk with your significant other and stop for a soft served ice cream cone. Those are the things I do, but honestly, I rarely get out of town or away from the computer or a book. Unless, of course, I need a break, or when my favorite shows are on (Vampire Diaries and Supernatural). I personally don’t mind making those sacrifices, and I’m in the right place to do it because the nearest mall and major stores are an hour away. And I morbidly figure, if I die in the interim of striving to make my dreams come true, then so be it.

It’s that important to me.

That doesn’t mean I’m better than Ms. Sally Sue who is working toward the same dream, yet she goes out every weekend and takes vacations.

It’s just how I am.

I do know Kevin sometimes worries about me and maybe even wonders if my behavior is healthy. A couple times he’s joked about being a widow, and I know that’s his way of saying, "We need to spend more time together." He’s sweet because he doesn’t want to trample on my writing dream, so he tries to be subtle when he’s worried about me or wants us to spend quality time together. When he does that, it jolts my attention back to the world around me and to him.

Last weekend was one of those jolting times. I walked away from the computer, and we went on a road trip, took some pictures, and had a really nice weekend.

Here's a picture of the leaves changing. I was hoping the colors would be a lot more brilliant than that; however, it's still pretty.


I know. You might be thinking, "Big deal." But I'm still enthralled with the beauty of North Dakota. I mean, the lakes aren't 'man made'. They're real.

Look at that wonderful country road, lined with beautiful trees, and no car in sight.


We came across an old abandon church, and thought it would be cool to take a picture of it with Kevin's 1964 Ford truck in front of it. I wanted to explore inside the church, but Kevin didn't think that would be a good idea.

They have weird, but cute sayings here like: Uff-Da. We saw this shop sign, and I had to take a picture of it to show you guys.
We stopped in a small town to grab a bite to eat, and there was a classic car meeting going on. I saw this wonderful car and had to take a picture of it.


Here's this little sweetie. I wanted to take a side view picture, but didn't get the chance.


This is a nice car too. You can see the side view of it in the above picture.  I love classic cars.

Kevin wanted to take a picture of his truck in front of the airplane. When his dad was in the Air Force, he had worked with those type of planes. Anyway, it's a cool plane. Too bad it's not a Spitfire.


After we got back home, we both sighed with contentment, and said, "What a wonderful weekend." I realized then I need to take more time away from the computer, and enjoy being outside. At least, until the snow starts to fall, and everybody is holed up in their house for six months. But the point is to take a day off or two and have some different kind of fun. You're still sacrificing your time to accomplish your dreams, however, you're not allowing yourself to atrophy while doing it.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

All in The Name of Love and Creativity

The other day I had to do research on bullwhips and what it was like to be whipped. I came across a Utube video where a young guy was tied to a tree, and his friend was whipping him countless times. To be honest, it hurt my heart watching it. However, the guy didn’t cry out or display any painful emotions, which made it tolerable to watch. Afterwards, they showed what his back looked like, and counted more than twenty lashing marks.

I was surprised when I came across the video because why would anybody want to inflict pain onto themselves? When I think about that, the thought of cage fighting follows. Why would somebody want to beat the crap out of another person just for the fun of it?

I don’t understand it.

A good friend of mine from junior high had told me a year ago that he does cage fights (he lives in Arizona). When I asked him why, he told me to prove to himself he can. I think it’s an ego thing really. Nevertheless, though, it still hurts my heart to even think about it. I try not to judge why people do things, but to hurt somebody for the sake of hurting them, for ego reasons, for status, popularity, approval, or whatever, bothers me. I feel the same way about boxing. I know a lot of people like it and think it’s cool, but personally, I think it’s barbaric. I mean, if people want to do it, that’s their choice. So be it. It’s their life. It’s not like they’re doing something illegal. They’re only hurting themselves, and the other willing party in the ring. Their actions have no bearings on my life whatsoever. Just because it hurts my heart doesn’t give me the right to point a harsh finger at them and call them animals. They’re probably nice guys. I don’t know, but I’m not going to watch it, or be a part of their world because that’s not the type of world I want to experience. My junior high friend is a very nice guy. However, if I was still in Arizona, I certainly wouldn’t be going to one of his cage fighting events.

When I had finished watching the Utube video, I continued the research because the guy never mentioned how it felt like to be whipped. For the chapter I was writing, I had to know what it actually felt like so I could put as much realism into it as possible. I came across an article about a guy who was publicly flogged because he was drinking in public. The guy explained exactly how it had felt like, and to his credit, he gritted his teeth and didn’t give the Iranians the satisfaction of screaming out. To have the willpower and the presence of mind to exercise such self control is admirable. At least, in my book it is.

After I read his experience, I was able to write my chapter. I had never written a chapter like that before and really had to stretch myself. But that’s good because the cool thing about being a writer is, you ALWAYS continue to grow. It’s not like you hit a certain level, and that’s it. Even Stephen King had said he still has a lot to learn. So yeah, writing that chapter was a new experience for me. But I enjoyed writing it and how it turned out. I wasn’t sure if my critique partner would like it, but she actually loved it. She told me it was a great chapter. So doing my research on bullwhips and flogging not only taught me something new, it also helped me add more zest to my story. And even though I could have gone my whole life without knowing what it was like to be brutally whipped, I now have an idea and understanding about it, thanks to the chapter I had to write. And whether I like it or not, that’s just one more piece of knowledge I can slip into my repository.

Ah, such tragedy and brutality I must encompass and allow into the shelter part of my mind so I can add brilliant colors to the pages of my story–all in the name of my love for creativity and my story.

I’m not trying to be a martyr or a drama queen. No. Really I’m not. :)