ta-daNow that I’m finally getting used to the fact that (1) I’m home from my holiday travels, (2) there’s lots of snow on the ground and cold, cold temperatures, and (3) I need to catch up on my blog reading as I work to finish my novel, I find that I’ve been nominated for an award by the fabulous ReGi McClain over at ReGi McClain’s Fortnight Stories. This award is the Ta-Da Award. Thank you, ReGi.

I had a pretty quiet year, so my answers aren’t exactly of the earth-shattering, ta-da category. The buck stops here though, since I didn’t nominate anyone else, but thought I’d at least answer the questions. I can’t blame you if you’re bored to death with my answers. (If you actually die of boredom while reading this, well, I guess you can’t sue. I’ll try to make up better ones next time.)

1. What was the best experience you had on purpose last year? I can’t think of one single best thing. Anytime I hung out with friends or family was a good time. (By the way, I highly recommend the Angry Birds card game.)

Angry_birds_card_game2. What was the best experience you stumbled into last year? The writer retreat I was invited to attend in Utah. Such a wonderful experience. Just being out in the fresh air with good friends, watching turkeys trot by the cabin was very rejuvenating.

photo73. What was your greatest intentional accomplishment last year? Starting this blog, probably, though I never thought I would keep up a blog. My brother and another guy shamed me into doing so. I’m glad I did, though I haven’t posted much in the last two weeks (see first paragraph for the reason why). Blogging has enabled me to interview some fantastic writers and to meet other fascinating people. Other accomplishments: finishing a novel, ghostwriting a book, and almost finishing a second novel. I’ve tried to be very intentional about my writing and my chocolate consumption.
4. What was your greatest unplanned accomplishment last year? Um, I’ll get back to you on that. . . . There’s gotta be something better than buying new tires for my car or discovering that Belted Galloway cows exist. (I never get tired of looking at this photo.)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA5. Did you spend some time with someone you adore last year? Yes. Family and friends in various places—usually restaurants and movie theaters.
6. Were you nice to someone you don’t like last year? Um, maybe? I didn’t give in to road rage, so that’s being nice, right?
7. What was the most amazing thing you learned last year? That I can get up after being knocked down by rejection.
8. Who did you teach last year and what (G-rated thing) did you teach them? I taught seven- to nine-year-olds in Sunday school. I think they taught me more than I taught them. Besides the obvious things you learn in Sunday school, I taught them that videogames didn’t always exist. I’m very proud of myself for disillusioning them.
9. What events did you attend last year? I attended some SCBWI meetings. I went to my niece’s baptism in Ohio. I became an international spy and went for black ops training. Now, you can guess which is the false event. I’m sure you’ll know it when you see it.
10. Did you travel anywhere? Even just downtown? Utah, Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, Arkansas, and Texas. I ate quite a bit wherever I stayed.

Answering those questions tempts me to take up skydiving or something else that sounds dangerous and exciting. Not because I really want to (well, maybe I could skydive)—only so I will appear less boring. That attitude—or fear—reminds me of the way I write stories sometimes. As I write, I fall back on plottiness. That’s what one of my advisors at VCFA used to chide me about. It sounds like a disease or a personality flaw, doesn’t it? By that I mean I sometimes add scenes I think will spice up my existing plot so a reader won’t close the book in disgust. Usually, when I get those ideas, my mind is not on character, but on a reader’s perceived reaction—which may or may not take place. It also means I’ve abdicated control of the story to someone else. Not a good place to be.

So there you have it. My life in all of its mundane glory. As with my story, it needs a firm, confident hand—but not contrived events to make it seem “full.” Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll go back to watching the extended version of The Hobbit. There’s nothing like hot dwarves on a cold night. 😀

       Thorin-Oakenshield-richard-armitage-33615803-381-500 download

Thorin, Kili,


and Fili—make me glad I’m alive.

Angry birds card game image from angrybirds.wikia.com. Cow image from Wikipedia. Richard Armitage as Thorin from fanpop.com. Aidan Turner as Kili from somewhere on the Internet. Dean O’Gorman as Fili at moviecultists.com. 

37 thoughts on “Ta-Da!

  1. I’m still getting used to attractive dwarves. I saw a very cool stage production of the Hobbit when I was 10ish, and all the dwarf puppets were old and wizened with long white beards. Having said that, I have no issue with Richard Armitage and Aiden Turner being on my screen. Also Sylvester McCoy but that’s for different reasons. 😉

    • Yes, it’s fun to see a former Doctor. 🙂 And I always like seeing Richard Armitage. Loved him in North and South. Excuse me while I go watch that ending of that miniseries again for about the fortieth time.

  2. Haha! Not boring at all. I can’t believe you started this blog within the last year. I always thought you’d been doing this for longer since you are such a pro at it.

  3. Eh, I don’t think your year was boring Linda. On the contrary, I think you accomplished quite a bit. Life’s full of “boring” stuff that needs to happen in order to set up the fun stuff, like having something published!

    BTW, I will have to check out the Angry Birds card game. I LOVE card/board games and have a closet full of them. A recent fun one has been “Bohnanza” which is game where you compete with others by planting beans. I know, I know, it sounds like almost too much for your heart to take. But trust me, it is capital-eff-yoo-enn FUN!

      • Linda, we must be siblings from another life. I’ve played all of the above, except for King of Tokyo, which I’ve now added to my wishlist. The in-laws really got into playing Bang for awhile. So much fun.

      • I think we are. 🙂 Then you must have played Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne, Thurn and Taxis, Ticket to Ride, and Agricola. Have you discovered Killer Bunnies yet? That’s a favorite.

      • Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne, and Ticket to Ride.. Yes! Love them all. Killer Bunnies, I really enjoyed it but the family has banned that one for some reason… 😦 I’ve heard a lot about Agricola, but haven’t played it yet. Never heard of Thurn and Taxis but another to add to the list. I’ll have to take a picture of my pile of board/card games. It’s almost as bad as my pile of books.

      • I’ve played Thurn and Taxis a couple of times. If you like Ticket to Ride, you’ll like Thurn. I love Agricola, but it’s so expensive!!! I have to go to someone’s house to play it. Another game I recommend is Lost Cities. It’s a two-player game. Very addictive.

  4. Congratulations on your award, Linda! You are a natural at blogging, and I’ve learned so much from reading your blog. I remember when you started the blog, so I know it’s been less than a year, but I still agree with Allison. I always look forward to seeing your updates in my inbox.

    And I love your comment about plottiness: “By that I mean I sometimes add scenes I think will spice up my existing plot so a reader won’t close the book in disgust. Usually, when I get those ideas, my mind is not on character, but on a reader’s perceived reaction—which may or may not take place. It also means I’ve abdicated control of the story to someone else.” So spot on. It’s hard not to spend time and energy on guessing what the reader may want, but in the end we really don’t know what our readers want or how they’ll interpret our writing. And there’s always the Steve Jobs approach–giving people what they didn’t know they wanted and then turning it into a must-have. The guy was a genius.

    • So true, Lyn: giving people what they didn’t know they wanted. I’m a firm believer in that. Gotta stay true to what we know. That’s what I appreciate about Rogue and Gringolandia.

  5. I am glad you started blogging too. I think we both started about the same time, and you showed up one day on City Jackdaw after seeing my comment on a blog that you follow, and we have been cyber explorers together ever since. Thank you.

  6. Congrats on the TaDa award, that’s a fun way to welcome in the new year. 🙂 I too am glad that your brother shamed you into starting this blog. 🙂

  7. Mundane? I think not, Linda. You traveled to six states, I never made it out of North Carolina, come to think of it, I didn’t make it out of Charlotte! 🙂 I’m with you on the skydiving. I’m scared to death of heights, but I’ve always wanted to try it…piggy backing with a pro of course. 🙂 Maybe we can meet up one day and take a leap of faith. 🙂 Happy New Year! I’m so pleased you had good quality time with your family over the holidays.

    • Oh, that would be fun!!! You know, I’ve never been to North Carolina. I’m not sure why. I’only made it as far as South Carolina. I need to travel more.

  8. “I ate quite a bit wherever I stayed.” That has to sum up the last four months of 2013 for me. Loved your answers, Linda. Congratulations on this award. I’m looking forward to reading at least one of your books in 2014.

    • I certainly wish I could say that you will, Andra. I’m trying to get this one ready to submit to an agent. We’ll see what happens.

  9. You visited six states, finished a novel, started a blog, ghostwrote a book, and taught 1st and 2nd graders and you’re telling me you have a mundane life!?! Hmmm… I’m not sure you got the point of this award. 😛

    Have you seen the new Hobbit movie yet? I really liked the first one, but I’m not sure how to feel about the second. Those dwarfs really are good looking, though, aren’t they? It’s the long hair.

    • Thank you, ReGi. 😀 I’ve seen both Hobbit movies. I was prepared to really hate the second one, since it deviates the most from the book with the new elf character and the elves’ involvement in the battles. But I wound up liking it, despite my misgivings. Now that I’ve seen most of the behind-the-scenes stuff, I can understand the desire to add more stuff. The cast and crew really love the book and Middle Earth in general. Since they claim that their involvement somehow made them better people, I’m thrilled.

      • 🙂 I’m still not sure how to feel about the second movie. I don’t think I mind them adding the romance, since I imagine they’re trying to appeal to a wider demographic, but I wasn’t thrilled about Smaug being able to sniff out the Ring. Half the point of the Hobbit is that the hobbits were so immune to the Ring’s power that it took decades and frequent use for its evil to sink in.

      • I agree with you there and the fact that there were hints about the ring’s being evil. Nobody knew the ring’s origin until Gandalf found out about it in The Fellowship of the Ring. But on the other hand, we don’t know much about dragons. Certain dragons could melt a great ring. Smaug might have discerned the presence of one of the great rings.

      • It works for the movie series as a whole, but it doesn’t jive with the book. *sigh* That’s what i get for re-reading the books before watching the movies. I find it helps to watch the movie before reading the book if I want to like both equally.

      • I also reread The Hobbit before I saw the first movie. I was amazed that they were trying to do three movies out of such a short book.

      • I does seem a bit much, doesn’t it? I was excited to hear that some of what they added came from short stories Tolkien wrote about what Gandalf was off doing whenever he disappeared, though. 🙂

  10. No way your year was boring and I think you achieved so much, not least of all starting this blog, oh and finishing a novel, ghostwriting a book, and nearly finishing another novel… not bad going at all! I love the sound of your writer’s retreat too. Here’s hoping 2014 is just as productive for you. 🙂

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