Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Rachael Harrie's Challenge/Flash Fiction

This week’s challenge is to write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, include a poem. We are to begin the story with the words, “shadows crept across the wall.” These five words will be included in the word count.
As an additional (optional) challenge, we can do one or more of the following:
  •  End the story with the words “everything faded.” (Included in the word count)
  • Include the word orange in the story
  • Write in the same genre I normally write
  •  Make the story 200 words exactly
I did all 4. Tell me what you think.

Dung it!

Shadows creep across the wall—my own. I follow my image around the barn and run smack into Travis.

“Going somewhere?” Travis grabs the collar of my orange uniform. Behind him stands the rest of my team. I swallow and don’t answer.
Across the dairy yard Brendan leans against the gate. Our eyes meet and I wonder why he doesn’t do anything, say something try to stop their stupidity. Sheesh, and I thought he was my best friend.

“Well, where you going?” Travis still has a hold of me and the neck chokes me.

With a quick movement I bring my hand up and knock Travis’s hand away, a sharp tear pulls the collar away from the shirt. “Great.” I mumble, thinking my mom’s gonna be pissed when she has to sew it back on. Or worse when coach has to replace it if Mom can’t fix it.

In a second several, of the guys grab my arms and legs. They drag me to the largest pile of manure I’ve ever seen. “Time for the honor system to take its toll.” With a heave they toss me. I am falling face first into cow dung and then everything fades.

You can "LIKE" here. I'm number 118.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Book Review-Retirement Quest by John Hauserman

What can I say? I'm screwed! This book was not written for me. However:

If you are out of college and ready to take on the world, this is a great book to help you plan well ahead for your retirement (and believe me it creeps up faster than you can imagine). If you are almost ready to retire and have a sufficient amount with which to retire, then this book is for you. However, if you're like the millions of Americans who are barely surviving and have not managed to tuck away enough for your golden years, then I'd suggest you better find another way to keep working until you die. Or in my case I'm hoping to sell a million copies of a best seller!

John's book was an easy read and gave valuable insights. I wish I had read it say 20 to 30 years ago.

So here is what John's book is all about:

RetirementQuest: Make Better Decisions was written by a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner who has been counseling clients since 1992. Drawing from his twenty years of experience, John Hauserman has developed a unique ability to communicate complex financial subject matter in easy to understand terms. Readers are guided through the basics of financial planning, while threads of politics, history and psychology are woven together to create a tapestry of deeper understanding into the financial planning world. 
Complete with hard hitting insight into the practices and sometimes abuses of the financial services industry, John has created a masterpiece designed to help those responsible-minded investors who are seeking to avoid common planning mistakes.

You can purchase a copy HERE
To visit his website click HERE and discover classes, planning and other resources to help with your future.

I've Been Tagged By Diane Gillette

1.  Where is your favorite writing spot and why? 
I have this fabulous roll top desk in my bedroom. My laptop occupies the place of prestige there. But if I could, and I lived by the beach or a stream in the mountains that's where I'd write. There is just something about the sound of water that is soooooo inspiring.
2.  What author/book first made you want to write?  
I've always loved to write--ever since I was a preschooler and saw my mother's handwriting, that's what I wanted to do. When I started school and discovered that my mother's handwriting was actually words I knew I wanted to create words as well. But the first actual book that made me want to write was probably Paddington the Bear. I wanted to create my own stories.
3.  If you could no longer write, what would your creative outlet be?
Paint or draw. There are so many artists in my family. It's something I've never explored. But some day!!!! 
4.  Music or silence when you write?  
Music inspires me...but when I'm actually in the throes of drafting...silence.
5.  What is your writing goal for 2012?  
To finish drafting at least three of the novels I'm 3/4 of the way through.
6.  What pushes you out of your writing comfort zone?  
Revising. I hate going back and looking at what I thought was pure brilliance to discover that it's...well, not brilliant.
7.  Where do you go when you need to escape for a while?  
I love to take a drive up to the mountains for the day or even a couple of days, but if I can only get away for a short while, I love to go to Jamba Juice and get a Chocolate Moo'd (And if you've never had one or heard of it, it's a chocolate smoothie! DELISH!
8.  Which series are you eagerly anticipating the newest release for? (If you aren't addicted to any series right now, then what new book by a favorite author are you waiting for?)  
I loved the Fablehaven series by Branden Mull so I'm waiting for him to finish his Beyonders series. I haven't read the first one for good reason--it's a cliff hanger and I hate not being able to pick up the next book. I don't like waiting...I'm very impatient.
9.  What's your favorite online resource for writers?  
Blogs! I love checking out what other writers have to say about writing. That's why this campaign is going to be such a blessing.
10.  Do you read any literary magazines? If so, which ones? 
No, mostly I read what I write and maybe a book or two on writing.
11.  What's something that made you smile today?   
Finding that I have been tagged!

Here are my questions:

1. What is your first memory of writing or reading?
2. If you could be a character in a book, which one and why?
3. An unexpected package has just arrived for you. What do you hope is inside?
4. Which would you rather lose your hearing or your vision? Why?
5. If you could travel to anywhere in the world where would you go? What would you do?
6. If you could be a bug, which one would you choose?
7. When you're in your writing "zone" do you like to snack? If so what's your favorite?
8. Where is your favorite place to write?
9. What is one thing you would change about yesterday. 
10. You've been given a million dollars. What is the first thing you would do with it? (You can't put it in the bank)
11. If you were give three wishes what you wish for? (No wishing for more wishes. One other warning, be careful what you wish for. It didn't turn out so well for the fisherman's wife.)

And now for my tags--
Theresa Sneed (She's not on this list, but she's my bffaeae)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Blog Campaign with Rachael Harrie

I'm new at this so let me tell you a little bit about what I'm doing. 
Rachael Harrie has put together this amazing blog campaign to boost readership, followers and networking with other like-minded people.

This adorable Australian writer is heading up this fantastic event. Click here to go to her blog. 
I can hardly wait to connect with writers like me from all over the world. 

I'll keep you posted about what I'm doing, who I'm meeting, and the cool people I'm connecting with.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Review of ON LITTLE WINGS and Author Interview of Regina Sirois

Me: Hi Regina, 
Welcome to my blog. Have a seat there on my most comfy rocker—oh, wait, let me move that pile of clothes. I’ll fold them later. I’m sure that our readers would love to get to know you better. I’ll skip the boring stuff…like how long have you been writing and who’s your favorite author….blah…blah…blah…

Let’s get down to some juicy tidbits, shall we?  

Regina: Ooh, this sounds interesting. We shall!

Me: I love inspirational stories. What’s the most inspirational thing that’s ever happened to you?

Regina: I think my husband is the most inspirational thing that ever happened to me. We didn’t know each other at all and one day in the middle of our Senior year of High School he walked up to me while I was talking to four or five girlfriends. He broke right through our huddle and asked me out. With an audience. Not with bravado. Not like a cocky jerk. Just quietly, like a shy guy who thought, “Why the heck not?”  And for that moment of courage, I will thank him forever! When I think I can’t do something I think of where my life would be if he made excuses and copped out.

Me: What’s the juiciest conversation you’ve ever overheard? Did you put it in your writing anywhere?

Regina: I really want to answer this. I want to tell you something that would make you salivate. But nothing juicy ever happens to me. Ever! I kill gossip. People look like they are engrossed in a great story and when I get too close they stop and turn the conversation to weather and politics and knitting baby blankets. I don’t know why I have that effect! If I joined the FBI the entire agency would suddenly be very concerned with the Farmer’s Almanac and the country would go under. So out of my sense of patriotism, I will not pursue my secret spy career.

Me: I'm sure the FBI thanks you. *wink
Privately you told me you have a favorite bug. Would you believe me if I told you mine is actually a praying mantis or a tarantula? So what’s yours and why is it your fav?

Regina:  I’d say we would get along smashingly because I think a bright green mantis is breathtaking. I saw a three inch specimen one day and stared it for longer than I am willing to admit.  I’m always a sucker for a butterfly, but I get giddy with excitement when I see a walking stick. They are so hard to spot and so darn fascinating!

Me: Me, too!
Are you a morning writer or a night writer? And why is that your favorite time of day?

Regina: I am an afternoon writer. I can’t concentrate in the morning. My brain is saying, you need to do the laundry and call that person and cancel that appointment and I just can’t give my story my attention. I gather my thoughts throughout the day and when I crash in the afternoon and don’t have the energy to fold, clean, call or cancel, I just click and tap on my keyboard.

Me: Great planning strategy! 
If you could meet one character from a book, who would it be? What would be the first words out of your mouth? 

Regina: I’d like to meet Cassandra Mortmain from I Capture the Castle and I’d say, “Will you please show me around your house?” I mean, she lived in a dilapidated castle, for goodness sake.

Me: Dilapidated? Is that another way of saying drafty? I'll let you keep the castle. 
What project do you have in mind next? More amazing young adult cadences?  

Regina: I am working on a YA story with a very different feel. The narrator is a boy so the voice is more compact and fast, but I think he is lyrical in a different way. It is a more staccato and fast-paced song then Jennifer sings in On Little Wings.

Me: I love lyrical writing! 
I found your book through someone touting how wonderfully you write, and the beauty of your words. With kudos like that I had to download the book. I dragged my Kindle with me everywhere so I could keep reading. I did not want to put the book down. I know when I hear someone say great things about my writing, I want to say “Pishaw!” But secretly I hope they’ll keep saying nice things. How do you feel when someone says such wonderful things about your work?

Regina: I try to take a breath and take it in and accept the kindness. I try to say thank you without arguing. But in the back of my mind my insecurities are heckling me, trying to shout the praise down. But thank you. So much. I think it takes a good ten to twenty words of encouragement to cushion the blow of one person who hates your book. And there are people who hate my book, or any book for that matter!

Me: I know what you mean. You can't please everyone so you just brush the "haters" aside and focus on the positive.
By the way, I absolutely love the way you paint pictures with your words—it reads like poetry—perfect word choices, using all the senses. I was so caught up in your story not just because of the tale itself, but because of the way you wrote it. They say that to some poetry comes easy, and to others not so much (I’m in the latter category). How have you developed such a wonderful writing style?

Regina: I started writing poetry (really, really bad poetry) when I was in second grade. I’ve tried to move up from there. (Up is the only direction I could go, to be honest).  I think cadence and rhythm comes naturally to me, but that can be a weakness, too. I am painfully aware that I overdo it sometimes. I’m working on balance and restraint and hope my next book is better.

Me: I wish I had your lyrical sense of writing. I'm working on it. Someday, whe I "grow up" maybe I'll write as beautifully as you. 
So, in the book your character “do lines” in the evenings. Is this based on something you actually do, or wished you could do?

Regina: I’ve never done this, but I am fascinated by the idea. When I cannot find the right words I just want to borrow the words of people more talented and wise than I. I understand my characters yearnings to express themselves through the literature they discover.

Me: I love great literature, too. Is there anything else you’d like to say to our audience, maybe something you’ve been dying to tell the world about you or about your book?

Regina: I’d like to say that I will try to improve with each story I write. I’d like to say that the prospect of publishing, book signing, interviews, or money are nothing compared to the kindness of people who are glad I wrote the book. It is the most incredible feeling to know that I am connecting with people I cannot even see. I would trade everything else to be able to thank them individually. Money is not the best way to support a writer you like. Telling them that you are glad they persevered to the story’s end is invaluable!

Me: Amen, there! Authors find the greatest reward in knowing that others are reading their words. Regina, thanks so much for sharing a little of yourself with us. Congratulations on your book selling so well, and for landing an agent (hard to do in this business).

And now my review:

Sirois "dares to make us believe" her characters are real. Her delightful tale of a young woman's discovery of the family Jessica never knew takes us into the heart of her characters. Each of them have their own distinct personalities, ways of speaking, and clearly defined attitudes. Even her support characters were well rounded. I could tell Sirois spent a great deal of time getting to know her characters before she even began to draft the story. 

Because of her incredible command of poetic elements her words are a delight to read. I found myself engrossed as much in the actual writing style as I did in the story. I couldn't put the book down-or in my case, my Kindle. Well, done Regina. 

Synopsis from Amazon:
Jennifer must do the impossible – bring her mother home. When a family is torn apart by death, two sisters take violently divergent paths and the story of their family appears to end terribly and abruptly. Two decades later Jennifer never dreams that the photo she finds stuck between the pages of a neglected book will tear open a gaping wound to her mother’s secret past. Abandoning her comfortable life with her parents and best friend in the wheat fields of Nebraska, Jennifer’s quest for a hidden aunt leads her to the untamed coast of Maine where she struggles to understand why her mother lied to her for sixteen years.
Across the grey, rocky cove she meets Nathan Moore, the young, reluctant genius surrounded by women who need him to be brother, father, friend, provider, protector and now, first love. The stories, varied, hilarious, and heartbreaking, unfold to paint a striking mural of the shattered past. As Jennifer seeks to piece together her mother’s story, she inadvertently writes one for herself.

You can purchase a copy of On Little Wings here.