Queen Anne’s Christmas of Memories A.K.A Cleaning off my old computer….

At the beginning of the week I got a new computer. For old times sake… I am writing this post on my old one: The Dinosaur (I will post a picture of the ole guy, below!), it will be this computer’s last post on my blog ever. Kinda a sad way to think of it, because it’s been through so much with me. When I type on this keypad – my fingers dance across the keys in harmony without stumbling or hitting wrong keys.

It takes a while to leave an old computer behind as it’s always been home. My new computer is a Macbook Pro just like this one, but maybe this guy’s worn in-ness is what makes it so familiar. But, boy am I happy I have a new one, because the back of this one is falling apart and the trackpad works no longer. (If you’re wondering… I am using a mouse.)

Good-bye Dinosaur!

Good-bye Dinosaur!

Just to think of everything I did in my past with this computer…

  • Just to think of all that I had written on this computer. All the years of struggling through literary assignments and staying up late with Critical Analyzing papers for my literature classes.
  • Writing with tears in my eyes during my college years, when I survived a 4-year mentally abusive relationship, and finally ended it to move on to better things.
  • It made a trip with me to England and back again.
  • Dino and I designed and wrote for a literary magazine.
  • I plunked out two full manuscripts on Dino as well. He traveled to Australia with me.
  • Dino was also my life-line to my boyfriend in Australia.

I believe this little bugger, my ole’ dinosaur has served me well. And made me proud to be an Apple user.

I’ve been cleaning off my hard-drive and saving documents and files on my external and I found some old writings of mine. Below, is a poem I wrote in memory of my Grandpa Dennis Otto. I took a poetry writing class back in college and this was one of the poems I did for that class. So I just thought I would share this with you.

Queen Anne’s Christmas of Memories

January 21, 2009

Every Christmas I taste the memories-

memories from years gone by.

The box, red of Queen Anne’s-

imprisons the smooth, round morsels there, until they see light of day.

As you slid your finger under the edge of the box to open it,

your memories come flying back to me,

“Want one?”, you’d ask as you hold them my way.

I took one-

that Christmas.

A smile etched it’s way across your face as you grabbed one too.

The smell was rich-

of milk chocolate.

The taste-

a chocolaty, creamy, sugary, syrupy mixture

with one whole cherry

bursting in my mouth.

Tastes are memories-

they are filling.

Giving a warm feeling of comfort in your stomach,

the safe sensation you get on Christmas that nothing can go wrong.

Back to the present day and there is a box

red of Queen Anne’s-

Imprisoning the smooth, round morsels there, until they see light of day.

I slide my finger under the boxes edge.

Opening it, the smell drifts in a flavorful aroma.

I pop one in my mouth the taste of chocolaty, creamy, sugary, and syrupy mixture

with one whole cherry

bursts.

With that your memories come back-

YOU come back to me with Queen Anne.

As she imprisons the smooth, round morsels there, she sets you free in my memories forever.

A small story goes with these delicious sweet chocolate covered cherries. We would always get my grandpa chocolate covered cherries for Christmas. He would offer one to all of us as soon as he opened the box. It makes me smile thinking about my grandpa. :) We still give each other Queen Anne’s Chocolate Covered Cherries for Christmas.

  

How about you, then? Do you have some object that reminds you of someone you used to know (like the chocolate covered cherries and my grandpa?)

Wednesday Words.

Wednesday Words.

Wednesdays will be known as Wednesday Words.

Every wednesday I will post a word as a prompt (and maybe even a picture).

Wednesday Words will act as a prompt for you.

Write a short story inspired by the word. Write a poem or lyrics? Or anything as long as you write something.

You can write something about the word or the word can inspire something out of the ordinary for you to write about.

Your first Wednesday Words Prompt is :

Hoar-Frost

hoarfrost |ˈhôrˌfrôst

-ˌfräst|nouna grayish-white crystalline deposit of frozen water vapor formed in clear still weather on vegetation, fences, etc.

Photo Credit : Annette Berglund www.annetteberglund.com

Photo Credit : Annette Berglund www.annetteberglund.com

Be sure to share the writing that you came up with in the comments! Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

Just a few days ago I was totally flattered and encouraged by a fellow blogger when she nominated me for the “Very Inspiring Blogger Award” by Stacy .

very-inspiring-blogger-award

These were the rules for accepting the award!

• Display the award logo on your blog.
• Link back to the person who nominated you.
• State 7 things about yourself.
• Nominate bloggers for this award.
• Notify those bloggers of the nomination by linking to one of their specific posts so that they get notified by ping back.

7 things about myself:

  1. All of you know I recently got back to the States from Australia. So I decided to put a few places that I haven’t been on this point. A few of the States that I’ve never been to are Hawaii, Alaska, and New York.
  2. If I could have tea and lunch with any writer in the time of writers it would be C.S. Lewis.
  3. I wish I were at a cabin nestled mountains of  Montana right now, near Polebridge listening to wolves howling. I would like to do a writer in residence in Montana some time. I think it would really be an inspiring and revitalizing experience. I’d like to do this. *Hint: my next book that I am planning on writing is set in Montana and involves… duh…duh…duuuuhhh… Grizzly Bears! :)
  4. Most of the time I find myself wishing I were in a good ole’ Disney movie. Like Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin.
  5. I just taught my puppy, Cocoa to sit yesterday.
  6. I remember my first memory. It may sound strange, but I remember a very bright light. I think it was the day I was born.
  7. I am planning on applying for an assistantship with a literary agent or assistant. I would be good for working in Chicago, New York, Tennessee, Florida (I recently decided Florida is pretty nice) or California. I think Chicago, Tennessee, or Cali would be my top pics, though.

I am going to Nominate…

1.) D.M. Kilgore – http://www.dmkilgore.com

2.) Blue Monkey Writing – www.bluemonkeywriting.wordpress.com

3.) Stephanie’s – The Glitter Globe  – http://www.theglitterglobe.com

4.) Zen – http://zenscribbles.wordpress.com

5.) Dave – http://davidpagan.wordpress.com

6.) Teryn O’Brien  –http://identityrenewed.wordpress.com/about/

7.) Annette Berglund – www.annetteberglund.com

8.) jjoubertArt – www.jjoubert.wordpress.com

9.) Anushka – http://findingmycreature.wordpress.com

Sorry that the links aren’t working very well in the line up of nominees. Something silly is going on with my WP.

Review: What is Professionalism…

REVIEW: Professionalism Is IMPORTANT!!

As you all know, I am currently revising my manuscript.

I had no idea how to go about this whole process, but I just mucked right on in with my rain boots. haha… I like this mental picture, because I can picture a time in my life when I was probably 8-years-old. I was wearing my rain boots out near the garden. It had rained a lot and it was really muddy. I mucked on in and was having a blast, but then I realized something.

I WAS STUCK… I started breathing in deeply and tried pulling my rain boots out, but at that very moment my foot came flying out of the rain boot. I was a crying little island in the middle of the mud ocean. I braved myself and pulled the other foot out and ran to safety. My feet were all muddy. haha… my boots stayed out there for a few days!

But, with revising I picture it that way. You need to get yourself dirty. You have to roll up your pants and get in there.

I am quite a few chapters in now, and am excited about my progress.

But a few weeks ago I was looking for some books or courses on how to revise.

I heard from a few people that I should look into the course How To Revise Your Novel by Holly Lisle. They also told me it was quite expensive, being $49.95 per month (5 payments) = $249.75. I looked into it and read reviews on it. I couldn’t find anything bad about it. I know sometimes you have to pay a bit to get some education on a topic. So, I decided to try it.

I got the first lesson that night and I was super excited!

I sat down with the print out and ecstatically started reading. But then, I came to run-on-sentences, repeated words, and simple misspellings. (The misspellings could have been found if it had been read over. It was almost like the last edit was done by spell check, because some words were not the correct words.) These mistakes really bugged me.

I couldn’t read any further. And after writing Holly, to tell her about the misspellings. I didn’t hear back from her.

On her site it said that if you weren’t happy with the course you could cancel and get a refund for the segment that you were unhappy with. Since this was only the first lesson, I decided I couldn’t pay for something that was so unprofessionally put together. I can easily ignore a spelling mistake here and there, but when there are multiple and when it’s supposed to be a writing course teaching you to revise your novel into something publishable. I couldn’t trust the voice.

I would be so embarrassed if I had published and sold something that had so many mistakes. That’s why I wrote her, because I would have loved for a person to  alert me to a spelling problem, “Oh, I spotted this…” because any kind of mistake makes you look unprofessional. I would have been like “Oh, my goodness… thank you!!! I didn’t even see that! Thanks again!!!”. I didn’t get a response from her.

So, I wrote her and told her I would like to cancel the course.

Then, she wrote me that night and I was refunded the money. But, it was the unprofessional reply that really bothered me. I am sorry, but a person can boast all they like about their years of experience, but if it doesn’t show in the person’s writing, then that says something especially if that writing is full of mistakes and they expect to get paid for it.

I decided to write about this experience that I had for a few reasons…

Originally, I wasn’t going to write a review on this… but it has been bugging me for the past two days. I want you all to know it isn’t worth the price, for being so poorly edited and put together or for the attitude behind it. I only did one lesson- but why pay for anything less than professional.

I don’t usually like telling people about bad things or giving bad reviews, but I definitely do not recommend that course.

This is a timely article written by the amazing Michael Hyatt, on being professional and on how your brand can be hurt because of unprofessionalism.

Some things that I was reminded of:

  1. Make sure your writing is squeaky clean… without errors. (like so squeaky that a rubber ducky would be jealous.)
  2. Treat people online and offline professionally. (What you say could ruin your brand)

Please know this review was done in the best way possible! 

I want the best for all of you writers and don’t want you to be scammed.

Happy Writing & Editing & Revising! :)

Up For Air…

Coming Up For Air…

I have been deep in a pool of revisions. That is why I haven’t been on here much lately, but I wanted to let you all know I am still alive and that I will soon be posting more often! I never knew how much work the editing/rewrite stage takes in writing a book. I always thought the writing part was what took up all the time, guess I was wrong. Boy though, does the editing take a while.

This next week I will give you all an update.

I am trying to think of some different things to help me get done quicker. I’ve been thinking of getting up earlier to work on it before the rest of the world is beckoning for my attention as I have been EXTREMELY BUSY during the day. Mom had a surgery this last week, so I’ve been helping out a lot.

Besides that, I’m happy because I’ve been able to do a lot of reading as well… or maybe I am just squeezing reading time into the in-between time that I have. I’ve been reading on my iPad and have been enjoying it.

Although, I must say nothing will ever compare to a real book. There is just something so sacred about holding a book, smelling the paper and ink together so close, the chance to experience what so many people in the earlier ages never could… since books were so rare and expensive.

I think our world needs to be careful with just relying on the digital world. I mean look at the Library in Alexandria (A LONG TIME AGO). When it burnt down think about all that history that was just gone. The burning parchment holding secrets to the past that we would never get back. I just fear that with the internet and digital world- we take it for granted. But, yes I just went on a small bunny trail… I will post later this month a list of books that I read and also some reviews as well.

I have been search for jobs and internships. I really want to get an internship at a Publishing House or with a Literary Agent- as an assistant. But on the side I am planning some information and lessons for writing classes. I want to teach some small classes here and there. I want to offer classes at physical places and I may also offer them here online. Let me know if you would be interested. I will post more on that soon!

Just a parting thought for the night:

Have you ever wanted to be someone?

You know what I mean, right?

Have you ever had days where you feel like what you are doing isn’t making a difference, like what you want to do is too far away and unreachable?

I was always told to reach for the moon and other galaxies and if you miss you will land among the stars… I still believe that…

Living Through the Eyes of Story

Photo Credit: http://mickhartley.typepad.com/blog/2012/08/whitby-harbour.html

Photo Credit: http://mickhartley.typepad.com/blog/2012/08/whitby-harbour.html

Creating Fiction Inspired From Life

Every person experiences life differently. That is what makes story so interesting, because every person experiences different stories or hears stories from others around them.

When I was in Australia I met an elderly woman who was broken over the fact that she never got to meet her Father. And it all came down to the fact that it was all because her grandmother was too afraid of letting go of her daughter. Her mother took her as a child to the ship ports and they were going to leave that day on a ship to America, but somehow her grandmother made them stay. Forced or persuaded her mother to not leave. This was a story beckoning to be told…

Note… below, I have changed some things, so it’s no longer about the woman who I met. Instead it is a story about a little boy named Callum.

She bounced him on her hip. His eyes lit in excitement. He never met his PaPa, David. David was an American GI, based in Brisbane during World War Two, but he had to leave with the rest of the GI troops when his time was up. He wanted Margaret to come back to Pennsylvania with him. At that time she hadn’t been able to go with him, but she wrote when she found she was pregnant and about Callum’s birth. “Margaret!” a woman called from behind her, pulling her from her thoughts. She looked back to a familiar face. Her mother. She dramatically wove her handkerchief in the air. “Margaret?” She squeaked. “It’s grandmum…” Callum looked up with a big smile as his grandmother approached them, “Is she coming with us?” Margaret blushed and looked down at her son, who was shining with excitement. She had been caught. “Where?” Grandmum asked. “To see PaPa.” “No… Margaret… You would never do such a thing…” she sighed a statement while waving her lacy fan frantically in front of her face to try rid the heat. After no answer she asked to reassure herself, “would you?” Margaret rolled her eyes and sighed. Her plan failed, she tried sneaking here without her mother knowing they had gone. Mother must have heard from her friend who lived near the port. Her mother cocked her head as her lower lip dropped. “You wouldn’t leave me… and I don’t want to leave Australia… I love it here and you should too. You were born here. Besides, do you know how tough of a time it was for me and your father when we came here on the ships from England?” “But, Mother… please stop it. I want him to meet his dad, besides I really miss David. I need him and he needs me and Callum. We are his family.” “No… I am. I don’t have any family left here besides you.” she lifted her handkerchief in her hand up to her forehead, “He doesn’t need you!” “Yes he does… he needs us both. Besides he bought us our passage there.” She lifted the tickets as proof. “You won’t go!” she quickly snatched the tickets and ripped them.

Listening to the real woman tell me her story brought shivers to my spine. I was asking myself all these questions: Why? Why would a woman be so selfish to split up a man and woman who love each other? Why didn’t the daughter’s mother still go? I couldn’t stop thinking about her eyes when she tried being light-hearted about the moment. Later in her life she traveled to America. She wanted to visit her dad, but he died before she got the chance. So sad. It was then that I got inspiration to write Callum’s story.

Have you ever thought an experience (you or someone you knew experienced) would make a great story? Has an grand-parent or war veteran told you the stories of their youth? Have you ever wanted to take ideas from life events? Have you ever read a book and thought “Wow, I would really like to create such amazing characters! And I have character ideas from the past… but how can I use them?”

If you answered yes to any the above questions or have wondered these things at one time in your life then I have some secrets for you!

I am by no means saying your characters should steal real people’s identities. I am just saying you can get inspiration and ideas for stories from other’s lives like I did above. But if you do this then you need to be careful in changing the story and also the characters for your protection.

Here are a few things you can do:

Story Bank – Whenever I go somewhere I make sure to write ideas down that I get. If someone tells me a story or some sentence or thought that would make a compelling story… I write it down either in my iPhone or in a notepad. I hate forgetting story ideas… and it is a monster that I deal with a lot of the time.

Mull it Over – After hearing a story from someone and after writing the idea down I think about it and think about it some more. The more time it spends in my mind… I think the idea gets richer. And remember to ask yourself questions so you get to know the story better.

•Is this story’s character inspired by the person that told you the story? •Or do you have a character that is totally unrelated to the person who told you the story?

Change it Up A Bit– Once you sit down to write think of who your character is… the person who told you the story. Do you want them to be the character? If that answer is a yes, then you may want to change the character (Their name, where they live, their description, and their characterization) so that you wont get in trouble or worse sued for using their story.

•Names – If you met a man who was a construction worker named Bob the Builder and he loves working in the land of legos and has a love interest in Mario’s girlfriend Princess Peach and you decide you want to use those details for a story then you might want to change it up a bit.

You could change it up a bit by saying:

Bob Castaluti is an Italian painter who has a magical talent of painting scenes that come to life, and loves a woman who isn’t his- Queen Sylvia.

•Times – Roy Johnson an elderly man who is also a writer loves telling his grand-daughter stories of the days when cowboys and indians would fight.

Changing it up: Sara loved hearing her grandpa’s stories, because after he’d finish telling her a story, she would experience them. It all started the night that White Trees knocked on her window. He needed her help now to save themselves, to save herself, and most of all to save the spell bounding story spinner – her grandpa.

Now it’s your turn…

1.) First, tell me an interesting real life story in about 2 sentences… maybe it’s from your life… or from someone you know.
2.) Now, take that and change it up… and it’s up to you. You can change the setting… the name, the place… the time period. Anything… You are the story spinner.

What is the story?