Time Waits for No One

I’ve been remiss in saying thank you to Celine Jeanjean for nominating me for this award awhile ago. Thank you, Celine. (Be sure to check out her blog.)

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I’d also like to thank all of my readers for your continued support of this blog. Thanks for reading and commenting. Starting a blog is always a gamble. There’s no guarantee that anyone will read it one time, let alone more than once. So, thanks for stopping by.

Wondering what finally prompted my long overdue gratitude? You’ve undoubtedly heard about Robin Williams’s recent death. I’ve read many blog posts with eloquent thoughts on this tragic event. I have nothing new to add, though Robin Williams will be missed. But I’m in a pondering mood, nevertheless. This event spurs me to express my thanks for the people in my life who have offered love, support, and friendship over the years. I can’t thank you enough.

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It’s sad that a death is the impetus necessary to spur me to say, “Thanks” or “I love you” or “Here is what I’ve always found delightful about you” to someone else. I’m not proud of this. I can’t help recalling my grandmother’s funeral a few years ago and how I talked to cousins I hadn’t spoken to in years. Years. Was life really that busy that I couldn’t pick up a phone or write a quick email?

It wasn’t.

We always think we’ll have enough time, don’t we, to assure our loved ones of their belovedness. How human of us. If only we would put aside our assumption that we can predict the amount of time we’ll have with each other (i.e., “we have plenty of time”), hence our putting off vocalizing how we feel. If only we would take the time to say what we think doesn’t need to be said, but always needs to be. After all, no one is a mind reader.

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The people you love the most might need to hear, right now, that you’re grateful they’re in your life. You might think they should know how you feel, because you work hard to give them nice things or you make nice meals or you nag them (for their own good) to be better people. And they are better people—you’ve done your job. Now do them and yourself a favor. Tell them they’re worth all of the nagging and meal making. And maybe they’ll have a gift for you. Maybe they’ll tell you what you mean to them.

But I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that. You already regularly tell others how you feel, don’t you? But for anyone else out there who needs a little reminder, if you saw X-Men: Days of Future Past, you heard this poignant Jim Croce song, “Time in a Bottle.” It’s a reminder about time. (I also thought of the Jacksons’ song, “Time Waits for No One” too, hence the post title.)

I’m off to take my own advice. There are a lot of people in my life who could use a hug or a “thank you” right about now.

Robin Williams photo from fanpop.com. Valentine from heroeswallpapers.com.

Ta-Da!

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. 😀

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Thorin, Kili,

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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. 

And the Winner Is . . .

Welcome back. I won’t make you wait this time. The winner of the $15 Amazon ecard to preorder The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates #1: Magic Marks the Spot by Caroline Carlson is . . .

Andy of City Jackdaw!!!!!

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Congratulations, Andy!

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Please comment with your email address below. Or, if you prefer a bit of privacy, you can email it to me at lmarie7b(at)gmail(dot)com. Since you’re in the UK, I will send you an ecard from Amazon UK. (The book is £10.99 there. :-))

Thanks to all who commented!

And now, if you’ll indulge me, I would like to announce another winner: me. I can’t help thinking of how smugly Gilderoy Lockhart said, “Allow me to introduce you to your new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher: me” in the second Harry Potter movie. I don’t want to come across that way.

Kenneth Branagh as Professor Gilderoy Lockhart

The blog has been given the following awards by the wonderful Patty of Petite Magique:

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And by the delightful Elaine Jeremiah:
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I hope I’m not forgetting one. That’s the problem with procrastination! These awards were given ages ago, so I’m really sorry for not acknowledging them sooner. I’m humbled and honored by your kindness. I often doubt myself as a blogger, so your kind thoughts encourage me. I’m still thinking about nominees, so I’ll just say thank you for now. It’s great to be part of such a welcoming community.

And now, I’ll leave you with this photo that greatly delights me:

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Hello, Kitty!

Kenneth Branagh as Gilderoy Lockhart from fr.harrypotter.wikia.com. Cat from LOL Cats. Congrats image from free-extras.com.

State of the Union

Ages ago, May 25, to be precise, Patty over at Petite Magique nominated me for the Most Influential Blogger award.

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And on June 13, T. K. Morin over at Bite Size Canada nominated me for the Rose of Kindness Award.

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Thank you both for these awards and the tremendous kindness you exhibited by nominating me. Actually, I’m amazed that anyone thinks of my little blog as “influential” (especially when I talk about ice cream) or my commenting as kind. I enjoy connecting with you through my comments. Your trust touches me. I feel like offering each of you a puppy.

When I think of influence, I think of something Franklin D. Roosevelt once wrotein a speech he never delivered: “Great power involves great responsibility.”

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So many bloggers use their influence wisely—another reason to click on the blogs listed above (Petite Magique and Bite Size Canada). If you haven’t visited these wonderful blogs, please take a minute to do so. Patty has wonderful poetry and photos, and T. K. Morin’s incredibly informative posts are all about Canada’s colorful history. You can also find videos and great photos too.

Hopefully someday I’ll get around to meeting all of the requirements to accept these awards. (I understand giving up a pint of blood is one of the newest requirements. But I could be wrong about that.) Anyway, I wanted to at least acknowledge them.

This is probably a good time to talk about why I blog. That’s easy: because it’s fun. It never feels like work. Yes, writing posts and interview questions and also choosing photos and such take effort. But this is “fun” work. Anything that seems like “work” work—well, I won’t do it.

Which brings me to book reviews. I follow many, many blogs with excellent book reviews. Perhaps you’re wondering when I’ll finally get around to including one. If so, I’m sorry to disillusion you. Let me explain why you won’t find those here. Most of it has to do with my desire to be lazy. See this cat? That’s me.

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I’ve posted before about my manuscript reader years. About 2700—3000 manuscripts were mailed to the publisher every year. Multiply that by almost nine years (I’ll wait for you to do that; don’t forget to show your work) and you’ll see how many manuscripts came my way—manuscripts sent by hundreds of people. My job was to critically assess the strengths and weaknesses of these manuscripts, including market research. I also edited books for the publisher.

Wait. There’s more.

I attended a graduate school where everyone was in the midst of writing a book or had written one, including the faculty and the alums. In the program, we were responsible for critically assessing at least ten published books every month. My program was a two-year program, so here’s more multiplication for you to tackle. Add to those the manuscripts I reviewed for another publisher. (I still occasionally review manuscripts freelance.)

So book reviews, at least for me, equal work, especially since practically everyone I know is writing a book. (Well, I know a three-year old who is not writing a book. She’s too busy drinking imaginary tea. But she probably will write a book someday.) To give everyone equal time, that would mean writing hundreds of book reviews. Sorry. I’m too lazy for that.

Please do not misunderstand me. I am not against book reviews, nor am I trying to be insulting. I follow over 50 blogs. (You read that right.) Many of these feature excellent book reviews. I admire these bloggers greatly. I’ve bought many books based on their reviews. But I prefer to do book announcement interviews. Those are fun. I love to feature authors on the blog who talk passionately about their books or their writing process.

So, you get the drift. Whatever = work is a no-no post-wise. Whatever = fun gets the thumb’s up. (Note: I am a beta reader, however. That’s the extent of my reviewing. But you won’t see a review of those books on this blog. :-))

By now, you’re probably wondering, Okay, what will I get from this blog? You will get me waxing eloquent about my crushes on fictional characters, scintillating conversation, posts on DVDs I discover through Netflix, thoughts on videogames, occasional book giveaways, aspects of craft, rants about drivers who irk me, discussions about chocolate and daisies. Y’know, the stuff you find in Faulkner or Steinbeck.

Welcome to my blog!

Cat from LOL Cats. FDR photo from Wikipedia.

And Now for Something Completely Different

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Another long overdue post, and one with a random photo of a speckled Sussex hen no less. Rest assured: this hen has absolutely nothing to do with what you’re about to read.

After my bitter diatribe the other day, it is with great irony that I announce the following award nominations. (I just learned of another recently that I’ll discuss in a later post. The following nominations were made awhile ago.)

The always wonderful and lovely Patty of Petite Magique nominated me for the Best Moment Award. Please pop over and say hi, then gaze at all of the awards she has won!

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The quiet but deeply awesome Shooken over at Shooken nominated me for . . . I know this is difficult to believe, but here goes . . . the Super Sweet Blog Award. Stop by there and see why Shooken earned this award and others.

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Thank you both very much. I enjoy your blogs. Being nominated is quite an honor. Sadly, these nominations will have to remain that—nominations—at least for now. This week is crunch time for me. I’ve got a few writing projects going, one of which involves a mini-deadline this week. Plus, like Marvel Entertainment, I’m gearing up for phase 2. Only in my case, I’m talking about phase 2 of the writer’s process interviews, one of which will be posted on Tuesday.

So, I’m beginning to feel like Fry here.

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But I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you both for this lovely gesture of appreciation. 🙂

Once again, thanks to all who read my blog and put up with random photos of chickens.

Hope everyone has a great Sunday and a wonderful Memorial Day (or a Happy Monday to those of you in other countries :-)). Please take time to remember loved ones who have passed on, and those who remain. And see Star Trek: Into Darkness if you can. It’s totally worth it.

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Hen photo from wikipedia.org.

One Post to Thank Them All

I have a lot to cover in this long-overdue post. First, a huge thank you to all who follow this blog. Awhile ago, I found the following little icon and note in my WordPress archive.

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Congratulations on getting 100 total follows on El Space—The Blog of L. Marie.

I grinned from ear to ear. Thank you for reading my blog! I had little hope that anyone besides my parents, friends, and those I could bribe would actually read it. (“I will give you a set of Ginsu knives if you read it! Please!”) I am humbled by your interest, and extremely grateful.

Also, recently, I was nominated for two awards. First, the
Wonderful Team Member Award.

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(Thank you, Briana Vedsted and Melissa Janda!)

Second, the Versatile Blogger Award.

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(Thank you, ReGi McClain!)

The rules for Wonderful Team Member:
1. The Nominee of the Wonderful Team member Readership Award shall display the logo on his/her blog.
2. The Nominee shall nominate 14 readers they appreciate over a period of 7 days, all at once or little by little.
3. The Nominee shall name his/her Wonderful Team Member Readership Award nominees on a post or on posts during 7 days.
Over a period of 7 days (1 week), the Nominee shall nominate a number of readers that he or she appreciates—this can be done at any rate during the week. It can be all on one day or a few on one day and a few on another day, as most convenient to the Nominee.
The Nominee shall name his or her Wonderful Team Member Readership Award nominees on a post or on posts during the 7 day (1 week) period.

For Versatile Blogger:
Thank and link to the person who gave you the award.
Tell seven facts about yourself.
Pass it on to seven other bloggers.
Link to specific posts on their blogs so they’ll be notified by pingback

I’m going to make 15 facts do for all. If that’s not allowable, these awards will remain nominations then. There simply aren’t 21 or 22 interesting facts about myself.
1. When I was 13, my best friend Christine and I decided to become romance writers and make millions. We read Harlequin Romances by the boxload until we had the formula down, and also made time for bodice rippers with titles like Sweet Savage Love. But our stories turned out to be parodies. Thus, the world is spared from our purple prose.
2. I was nearly kicked out of Northwestern University, thanks to my . . . ahem . . . enthusiastic partying freshman year. (If a niece or nephew or my parents are reading this, by partying, I mean “studying in the library.”) I begged the dean to allow me the pleasure of remaining. I was slapped on probation instead, and had to take extra classes.
3. My favorite season is fall. Love the changing colors of the leaves.
4. I have a collection of stuffed sheep. *shrugs* I continually receive them as gifts, perhaps because assorted friends see the sheep and think, She must like these. I’ll give her one.
5. When I was a kid, I wrote a letter to Dr. Seuss and received an answer. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you where that letter is today!
6. I’m thinking about ice cream right now.
7. I have seen Fellowship of the Ring over 20 times.
8. The book that brought me to VCFA is Martine Leavitt’s Keturah and Lord Death. I love that book! And I had Martine as a workshop leader! Woot!
9. I used to drive an old yellow station wagon. Many people flagged me down, thinking that my car was a taxi. I wish I’d stopped and picked them up. Could’ve made some extra cash.
10. To this hour, I still want a Honda Civic Hatchback.
11. I’ve had requests for my coq au vin. Seriously. It is decent, people.
12. I used to love to skip down the street. I miss being able to do that. A grown woman skipping just nets too many strange looks.
13. I’ve ridden a horse twice. Believe me, you can tell when a horse has contempt for you.
14. I watched The Birds ages ago. Yet a flock of pigeons still freaks me out.
15. I once sat through eight solid hours of ape films (Planet of the Apes and that ilk).

The following are my nominees for the Wonderful Team Member and Versatile Blogger Awards. (Sorry. I CANNOT give one award without giving the other. So, yes, I am giving the same award to the people who nominated me.)
ReGi McClain
Melanie Fishbane
Ionia Martin
Linda Taylor
Phillip McCollum
Lyn Miller-Lachmann
Kate of Disregard the Prologue
Kristen Mazzola
L. A. Byrne
Naomi of Bmore Energy
William Louison
White Raven
Dreamland’s Insurgents
Laura Sibson
Shawna Kastin
Sharon Van Zandt
Ingrid Sundberg
Laurie Morrison
Andy of City Jackdaw
Charlotte Carrendar
Briana Vedsted
Melissa Janda
Amber Skye Forbes
Charles of Legends of Windemere
Shane of Book Reviews and Poetry
Patty of Petite Magique
Jen Bailey
Emily of A Keyboard and an Open Mind
K. L. Schwengel
T. K. Morin
Temitoria of Temitoria’s Wit
Shannon A. Thompson

This list does not contain all of the bloggers I would like to nominate. Some of the others wish to remain award free. I respect that. None of my nominees is obligated to accept, especially those who have received both of these awards already. (And quite frankly, some of you might curse me for nominating you yet again—a risk I’m willing to take. :-)) Thank you all for being you.

Shine On!

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First, Happy Mother’s Day to all, especially to my mother. Thank you, Mom, for being so wonderful!

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Second, it’s weird how after talking about Harvest Moon, I find myself nominated by the generous and prolific William Louison for the Shine On award. (In case you’re staring blankly at your screen, wondering what I mean, check here for the lyrics to “Shine on, Harvest Moon.”) Isn’t that award beautiful? Thank you, Will! He has two great blogs: What If It All Means Something? and Messages, so head on over and check out his poetry and prose. And his maps! I love a story map! He was nominated by the wondrous Patty at Petite Magique.

I am supposed to list seven things about myself. Hmm. Let’s see:

1. I was born in Chicago—the middle of four kids: two brothers and a sister who died.
2. I skipped from fifth to seventh grade, which made me socially awkward until, well, now. I was involved in more fights that year, mainly because some of my classmates were under the impression that someone younger and punier wouldn’t hit back when provoked. Sometimes, ya gotta prove people wrong. I’m thankful my older brother pulled me into the backyard one day and said, “This is how you box.”
3. Robin McKinley is one of my favorite authors.
4. My family has this weird quirk: we like taking things apart and putting them back together again. Unlike my brothers and nephew, I’m not always good at putting them back together. (Speaking of which, I need to take my computer apart and dust it. Be. Afraid.)
5. Back in the 90s, I kept trying to get a writer’s fellowship at Disney with the same tired screenplay that I never revised. Failed miserably.
6. I have never been to Europe, but would like to head to Italy as fast as money provides.
7. I don’t like to wear shoes.
8. Decided to throw in an extra one: I love driving late at night, like around 1—3 a.m.

I can’t say I know the criteria for this award or how many blogs I’m supposed to nominate. So I’ll just do what I want! Mmmmwwwwhahaha! Here are the blogs that make me go

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From LOL Cats

My nominees (who are under no obligation to accept this award, but they’re cool regardless) are

Random Acts of Writing and Other Tidbits of Thought
Dreamland’s Insurgents—Declare War on Reality
Lavender Moon Girl’s Blog
Shooken: Just ask me 😉 I don’t bite. . . Much
Disregard the Prologue
Tim Neath—Emerging Artist
Novel Conclusions
When I Became an Author
The Savvy Senorita
The Animation Commendation
Time to Write—Ups and downs while writing my first novel:
Pigtailed Bandit—It’s not crazy. It’s passionate
My Random Muse
A Keyboard and an Open Mind
Destiny Allison
Legends of Windemere
Bite Size Canada

Please check out these wonderful and deserving blogs, if you haven’t yet done so. And thanks again, Will!

Gerbera daisy from en.wikipedia.org.

Slow Your Roll

I don’t know about you, but I usually like to get where I’m going as fast as possible. Why drive a Civic if you can’t drive fast? Okay, I hear you mumbling out there, since I admitted in a previous post that I had a bad year when speeding tickets followed me like crows. (Yes, that was an oblique Lord of the Rings reference.) But that’s not important now. What is important is that I get where I’m going quickly.

Today was one of those days where I hit every red light. No matter how fast I sped up, I still couldn’t make the yellow. And even when I reached home and was about to turn in my driveway, there was a little kid, his thin, shaky legs pedaling a bike with training wheels. So, I sat watching him, realizing that this was God’s way of saying, “Slow your roll, girl.”

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Another way is through the wait for agents. Those of you on the search know the drill: you query and wait. And wait. And wait. And no amount of blowing or pacing will speed up the response. Trust me on this: I feel your pain. I’m in the middle of that myself.

Perhaps you’ll appreciate the irony of this: I was a manuscript reader for a publisher for almost nine years. (I won’t say which one, so please don’t ask.) Thousands of manuscripts arrived each year. As aslush pile reader, I had to weed through the dreams. With the publisher’s 98% rejection rate, I knew most of those dreams would be quashed until another querying session revived the flame again. (Believe me, saying no to someone is not easy. I never relished the task.)

Anyway, I’ve received a few rejections from agents in recent months. (Go on. Say it with me: “Slow your roll, girl.”) With each rejection, I had to take a step back and rework and cut and cry and try again.

As I considered the daunting task of reworking my WIP yet one more time, one stanza of a poem that I wrote for an exercise came to mind. Since you’re already here, I’ll share it with you, even if you run away screaming.

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To Hope
Keats talks of ethereal bursts of hope
And sky-bound drifts of inspiring thought.
I feel earth-bound, on a bus, dreaming of
Clear skies, blue and crisp like fresh washed sheets
and ice cream clouds on a picnic, scattered wide.

Slow your roll—what do the words mean to you? Like me, are you waiting for a response to your literary baby? Are you battling an illness? (I had my share last week.) Facing a decision that tempts you to leap before you look? Tempted to write an angry text or email that could have long-lasting repercussions?

You know what to do. Slow your roll.

P. S. I don’t think I properly thanked Patty at Petite Magique for nominating me for another Sunshine Award and Kristen Mazzola for nominating me for another Liebster Award. So kind!!! Thanks, Patty and Kristen. Had to slow my roll to remember to do that!!!

¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

Photo from thejanedough.com.

Spread a Little Sunshine

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Quick post to acknowledge the gracious nomination for the Sunshine Award by Patty at Petite Magique. Patty is a wonderful, multitalented artist. Stop by her blog and say hello and then ooo and ahh over her poetry, photos, etc. Since I would probably nominate some of the same blogs I nominated for Liebster, I’ll just say thanks for the nomination (which will remain a nomination since I haven’t nominated anyone else), but still share 10 things about myself as per the rules.

1. I LOVE to encourage people in any way I can. (Um, but this does not mean encouraging someone to go into a life of crime or quit school. Stay in school, kids!)
2. I have partial hearing loss in my right ear (since I was a child). But please don’t shout at me if you see me. I can hear you. Please note the word partial. 🙂
3. I like rollerblading, but I don’t do it enough.
4. When I was an undergrad, a friend told me, “Why don’t you major in something useful like biology?” (I majored in writing through the English department.)
5. I love discussing books with kids and teens.
6. I’m still grieving the loss of my betta fish, Sparkly Rose, that my well-meaning neighbors overfed. 😦 (By the way, a class of first and second graders chose the name Sparkly Rose. Isn’t that sweet???)
7. I would love to write a graphic novel.
8. I attended a grad school with some of the most talented people in the world. You’ll hear from one tomorrow about her new book (coming soon to a bookstore near you). Stay tuned. Same Bat time; same Bat channel.
9. I still wonder how my life would have changed had my sister lived. (She was stillborn the year before I was born.)
10. I have a wonderful supportive family (which includes the best in-laws a person can have).

Thanks again, Patty!

Leapin’ Liebster!

LIEBSTER-BLOG-AWARDWhen I began blogging (not long ago), I had no idea if anyone but my family, friends, and strangers I goaded into reading my blog (“Please. Just read it at least once and I’ll leave you alone. I promise”) would actually read the posts. So when I set out on this journey, I little imagined that I would ever be nominated for an award! But Kristen Mazzola (kind-hearted person that she is) at Kristen Mazzola: Everyone has a story; this is mine nominated me for the Liebster Award. If you haven’t seen her blog and read her wonderful poetry and prose, please stop right now and do so by clicking on her name or blog name.

This nomination, I understand, comes with stipulations. I’m following them, but anyone I nominate is under no obligation to accept. Sometimes just knowing you were nominated is lovely enough, right? That’s what the Academy Award nominees always say, anyway.

Here are the rules:
First is to accept the award, post the picture of the Liebster Award on the top of post and say who nominated you for the award and list their blog site.
Rule number 1 is to list 11 random facts about me.
Rule number 2 is to nominate 11 other bloggers for the Liebster Award and list their blog sites.
Rule number 3 is to notify the bloggers of their award.
Rule number 4 is to ask the award winners 11 questions to answer when they accept their Liebster Award.
Rule number 5 is you don’t talk about the Liebster Award.
Rule number 6 you realize I just made up rule number 5 and 6 to be funny and you hopefully get the reference and laugh.
Rule number 7 is I answer the questions left for me by the blogger who gave me the award.

Eleven Random Facts
1. I once received three speeding tickets in one year. Good times!
2. I’m right handed, but I try to use my left hand also. I’m weird that way.
3. I spent part of a summer teaching middle grade kids in China.
4. I met Sharon Creech and Maggie Stiefvater on the same day and just about died of giddiness.
5. I once climbed a waterfall in Ocho Rios.
6. I’m very inept at tennis.
7. I sat and watched the first season of Heroes for six straight hours.
8. I sometimes wear socks that don’t match. Hey, whatever I can grab in a hurry.
9. I once put over 80,000 miles on my car in one year.
10. When I see a male cardinal (bird), my heart swells.
11. My favorite set of movie soundtracks: Lord of the Rings

Here are the questions I was asked by Kristen, along with my answers:
1. What without fail always makes you laugh?
The movie Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and the movie title The Boogens—a movie that I think only about three people in the world saw. Even I didn’t see it. But my younger brother and a good friend of his saw it, and told me the whole plot.
2. What is your favorite adaptation of a book to a movie?
Lord of the Rings
3. Why did you start your blog?
My younger brother kept after me about starting one and a guy at church shamed me for not having one.
4. What moment did you realize you enjoyed your job or that you were good at your job?
Ha ha! I’m still waiting for the moment where I actually think I’m good at what I do. But I wake up every morning thinking, I can’t believe I sometimes get paid to do what I enjoy.
5. Do you have any poem committed to memory? If so, what is it?
Ha ha! Sadly no, other than the first stanza of “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll. Let me see if I can write it here without cheating and looking up the words on the Internet (and I have no idea whether the following words are spelled correctly):

Twas brillig and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe
All mimsy were the borogoves
And the momeraths outgrabe

6. What song defines your life?
“We Are the Champions”
7. What is your first memory?
I was sitting at the kitchen table facing my father, who wore a white shirt and a dark tie. I assume we were eating dinner. I don’t quite remember what was happening, but I know I was about three, because we weren’t living in the house in which I grew up. We moved to that house when I was three.
8. What color comes to mind right now?
Red. It’s my favorite color.
9. Do you think that we all have a bigger purpose? If so, what do you think yours is?
Well, I can’t speak for all, but my purpose is to use the gifts God gave me and honor him with my life. The way I do that is to write and encourage others through my writing.
10. What time of day do you like to write?
Morning, afternoon, and evening
11. Are you happy right now?
Sometimes, yes. Basically, I’m content.

Those to whom I am passing on this award are wonderful, versatile writers dedicated to their craft. Their words inspire me. In no particular order, they are
http://meatandpotatoesoflife.wordpress.com/
http://www.lynmillerlachmann.com/blog/
http://cityjackdaw.wordpress.com/
http://lindaktaylor.wordpress.com/
http://lauriemorrison.wordpress.com/
http://shawnalenore.wordpress.com/
http://skvanzandt.wordpress.com/
http://labyrneblog.wordpress.com/
http://bmoreenergy.wordpress.com/
http://disregardtheprologue.wordpress.com/
http://laurasibson.com/

Here are my questions for my nominees:
1. What is one thing you want to do to help change the world?
2. What is your favorite adaptation of a book to a movie?
3. Why did you start your blog?
4. When did you first discover that you wanted to write?
5. Most inspiring outdoor place? Why?
6. Do you have a life slogan? If so, what is it?
7. Name one person who has influenced the way you see life right now. Why?
8. Who is one of your favorite authors? Why?
9. One piece of advice you would give to a middle schooler or an older teen is . . .
10. A goal you have now is to . . .
11. A favorite statement a family member or friend has said to you recently about your writing is . . .