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Why I Write Blogfest

Kayeleen Hamblin from Kayeleen's Creation Corner is hosting her first ever blogfest, yay! So of course I had to jump in and join ('cause I'm crazy like that, but also to support her). All I need to do is share why I write. What is it that makes me clock in less than the recommended 8 hours of sleep just so I can write? Why suffer carpal tunnel syndrome at the keyboard? Why do I get glassy-eyed in mid-conversation with someone because an idea had gripped my brain vise-like and wouldn't let go?

I was a reader first before I became a writer. But I've always had a penchant for writing, even early on in my childhood. Or at least I liked telling stories. My audience? A bunch of sniffly cousins all younger than I was (it's all about hierarchy among cousins, of course. Haha!). They'd sit around me and I remember spinning tales off the books I've read, mostly from the Arabian tales (Scheherazade copycat). Later on, my sister and I would write down short fiction that were very melodramatic and made us cry (forbidden love and death...very Romeo and Juliet).


High school came with a lot of teen angst and insecurity. I wrote poem after poem to deal with my inner drama. They weren't anything grand or exceptional, but they comforted me. Needless to say, English was my best subject at school. My teachers would borrow my pieces to be shown as examples.

All through the years, I've always found time to read. While I was carrying my second child, it came to me that I'm capable of writing a freaking entire book if I'd put my mind to it. Why not, right? Others have certainly done it, and I could do it too. So I wrote. Feverishly, I might add. My sister (the same one who used to write Romeo and Juliet spinoffs) read my 400-page ms and loved it. Thank heaven for wonderful sisters!

I would later chopped this beloved first draft until I had to concede and put it to rest in a folder. Other ideas would come and go, and that exhilarating feeling of writing would slap me happy. I do write for pure enjoyment--whether I get published or not, as long as I'm happy slaving away at my PC, I keep on writing. I know people snort when they hear a writer say, "I'm not doing this for the money". But I'm not. I'm blessed enough to enjoy being a stay-at-home mom and being able to pursue writing as a creative outlet. To get published would be a bonus, certainly, but the money is not my ultimate goal. (You can throw rocks if you want to, but this is my truth.)

Thanks Kayeleen, for this opportunity to share. Check out the other responses by clicking on the picture:

Chapter 4 of the Round Robin Blogvel and Some Sweet Blog Awards!

Hello Monday!

There's been a change in the Skeleton Key Round Robin Blogvel line-up. Chapter 4 is now up by my favorite teen, Riley Redgate over at In The Jungle,.

On other sweeter news, two awesome blogger friends were nice enough to give me blog awards. Kimberly Krey of The Write View and Carissa Elg of My Inner Stillness handed me another Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award.


These two chicas are rock n'rollers when it comes to writing and blogging. Thank you, ladies! The rules are to pick 15 other bloggers and share 7 random facts about myself. But today, I'm going to be a rebel and break the rules. Instead of picking recipients, I am giving this to anyone who wants this strawberry goodness in their side bar. Don't be shy. Come and take it. Just right-click on picture and do "Save Picture As".

I'm sharing 7 songs I like to listen to, instead of the usual random facts. Enjoy!



Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

A Wordle Thank-You

Oh, happy Friday! The weekend is here!

It's been a great and fun week for me. I hope yours had been, too. Anyway, I'm sure a lot of you have already heard or used WORDLE before. For those of you not acquainted with this funny word, Wordle is a fun toy that lets you create word clouds. All you need to do is copy and paste your text--it can be a blogpost, your short story, your whole ms even, and the words that are frequently used will come up bigger than the others. It's a useful tool for editing, yes for EDITING your MS, because it lets you see how many just, like, that, was words (and other unnecessary ones) are littering your beloved work.

You can also play around with Wordle and create your own works of art. Today I made one to honor my wonderful followers who've stuck with me through the crazies, the fun, and the laughs.

Here's one for you, my friends: (Click on the picture to see it in full size)


To all of you, THANKS! You make my blogging experience a positive one. ;)

Have a great weekend!

Summer of Bloggerly Love: Guest Post by Michelle Simkins

Today I'm excited to have my wonderfully talented blogger friend, Michelle Simkins of Greenwoman guest post for us (and in turn, I'm a guest poster at her blog). She's a writer, knitter, gardener, radical homemaker, and friend extraordinaire. I think we're in for a really cool treat. So sit back, relax, and enjoy. I give you, Ms. Simkins.


So I've been thinking of my dad this week. Of course I have--Sunday was Father's day.
My dad was a good guy. Kind of quiet and a little bit of a hermit, but clever and steady and responsible. He worked his whole life to support his family, and he couldn't wait to retire and live the life he wanted.


He never made it that far. He died of a heart attack in his early 60's, too young, too soon, too sad.

In the years since his death, I've often thought about how unfair it is that he gave so much of his life to take care of us, but didn't really get to do all the things he wanted to do. He didn't like his job--it sucked the life out of him. He was holding out for a some day that never came.

The tragedy of his death drove home a major lesson for me.

You should do what you love right now, because you might not be here tomorrow.

You hear it all the time. Carpe diem, etc. etc. But it's TRUE people. It is so true. Life is brief. Make sure it's full of what you love.

I'm not saying you have to quit your day job--though if you can swing it, I highly recommend it. What I'm saying is make room for your passions. How do you do that? Well, as I so often do, I have a LIST for you.

No Means No

There's this word. It has only two letters. The word is "No."

Say it with me now: "NO".

You can use "no" whenever you want to do the thing you love, and someone else wants you to do something else.

Practice in front of the mirror.

If you can't bring yourself to do it? Record someone else saying no. Carry the recording around with you. When someone tries to interrupt the thing you love, play the recording. Make yourself a sign and hold it up. I don't care how you do it. Just do it--and stick to it.

Be Selfish

You don't have to be as selfish as me. You don't have to be selfish all the time. But for the sake of that thing you love, you must be selfish. You must find your time and place to do that thing you love, and then you must guard it more jealously than any dragon ever guarded it's hoard of treasure. The strategic use of no will help you with this. Also, turning off the damn phone. You don't have to answer it just because it rings. You don't have to answer your door, either, and you don't have to go to that all afternoon Candlelight Party when you'd rather stay home and bake a souffle. Guard your love selfishly, or others will trample it into the dust.

Permission Granted

Give yourself permission--officially--to have what you love in your life. Write yourself a permission slip and hang it on the wall if you have to.

Need someone else's permission? Fine.

I, Michelle Simkins, being, according to at least one person on Twitter, the Queen of All, hereby grant (insert your name here) permission to do what (s)he loves. Furthermore, I forbid the placement of guilt upon his/her shoulders by herself or any other individual, living or dead, henceforth now and forever.

There. Feel better now?

Make a List

Make a list of reasons you should do what you love. Here, I will get you started.
If you give yourself what you need, even in small doses, you will be a nicer person.

You will enjoy greater mental health.

You will probably also enjoy greater physical health.

It's easier to get out of bed in the morning when you have a good reason--like getting to do that thing you love.

You will, very likely, love something in to being that has never been before. Something no one but you could ever create. It would be irresponsible of you to deny this needy world the fantastic fruits of your labor of love.

This list, of course, is secondary to the main thing--which is that you, by virtue of being alive, deserve to be happy. We all do.

Follow Your Bliss

So you don't think much of my authority to tell you what to do? Fine, ignore me. But you can't ignore Joseph Campbell, the amazing author of a whole mess of books on mythology. I'm going to leave you with this quote of his, from the interviews he did with Bill Moyers in the late 80's called "The Power of Myth". If you haven't seen the videos/DVD's of this series of interviews, you need to get your hot little hands on them right now and read. They are thought provoking, fascinating and inspiring.

Bill Moyers: Do you ever have this sense when you are following your bliss, as I have at moments, of being helped by hidden hands?

Joseph Campbell: All the time. It is miraculous. I even have a superstition that has grown on me as the result of invisible hands coming all the time--namely, that if you do follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open the doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don't be afraid, and doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be.

From Michelle's garden

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As this is the summer of bloggerly love, I am guest posting at Michelle's blog, so head on over there and check out my LOVE-ly post. ;) Have a wonderful day, everyone!

Monday Funnies

Hello Monday!

I hope you all had a nice Father's Day weekend. To all you daddies out there, THANK YOU.

By InaFrenzy

The Skeleton Key Round Robin Blogvel continues with Chapter 4 by E.M. Delaney. As of writing this post, the chapter is not up yet so I will update this later. UPDATE: Apparently, our Chapter 4 writer is MIA at the moment.

Check out the other chapters: Skeleton Key table of contents.

And now, enjoy the funny!

By Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Twitter 102

Since I forgot a few more things on my Twitter 101 post, here's the continuation of this so-called tutorial.

DM

It stands for Direct Message, which is kinda like an email and is PRIVATE. If you must absolutely talk to a friend about Mrs. Harrington's trip to the craft store and coming back with gallons of glitter, or how you saw her sparkle in the moonlight when she did her midnight dance, then use DM so Mrs. Harrington won't know it was you rustling the bushes in her backyard.

 Instead of @, use D, like so:

D feralpony: I saw her bumpit moved!


RT

It stands for ReTweet. You're staring at your home feed, which shows you all the tweets of the people you're following. Staring, staring, and then you see something that catches your attention: Zombie bunnies on the loose! You just have to let your minions...er, followers know about this. So you hit the Retweet button and voila! All lovely 10 minions who follow you (including your mother) sees the Zombunny tweet and immediately take appropriate measures to protect themselves with poisoned carrots.

Or, if a tweet is newsworthy, info-savvy, just plain cool and funny, or RT-worthy, go ahead and retweet it. The tweep who wrote it will lavish you with their appreciation.

FAVORITES

Do you see that little star in there somewhere? Some apps show them and it stands for Favorite. This is a bit misleading. You're thinking, @Marewulf tweeted this awesome article and I've read it and it's so cool and funny I just have to make it a favorite. Actually, Favorite doesn't work as a "like" button, although you are certainly welcome to view it that way. Favorite acts more as a bookmark, or if you're in a hurry, saw the tweet and thought it looked interesting but didn't have time to open the link and read, you Favorite it so you can open it later and read at your own leisure.

#WW's and #FF's and #writers, oh my!

On certain days, you'll see a deluge of:
#WW these tweeps: @Green_Woman @RileyRedgate @AMSupinger @DawnGSparrow 

Or maybe this:
#FF love to: @AngelaVCook @rookieriter @Sophieli @Carissa_Elg @TS_Welti

Don't be alarmed and think the Rapture is back again (not til October, I hear). These are #hashtags used to serve as shout-outs. #WW is Writers Wednesday. #FF is Follow Friday. In other circles, #WW can mean something else, say, Wine Wednesday for wine lovers, or something like that (I really wouldn't know). Since I keep within my writing circle, I'm only familiar with the hashtags that the writing and publishing world uses. Here's a few of them you may have seen already:

#writing
#amwriting
#amediting
#WIP
#writers
#pubtip
#writetip
#yalit
#kidlit

For more writerly hashtags, click here.

There are also scheduled chats with hashtags to keep track of all those who are participating in the chat:

#yalitchat
#kidlitchat
#litchat
and more.... Here's a handy spreadsheet with chats and their times listed on for your reference.

Hashtags also encourage creativity. Just ask the #queenofhashtags Michelle Simkins--she'll lead you in the right direction. ;)

Twitter is fun and less intimidating when you have friends to chat with. As always, when in public places, BE NICE, BE POLITE, and remember to HAVE FUN. ;)

Broken Bones and Twitter 101 (No, they're not related)

I haven't been online these past few days, except for the occasional peek (a comment here or there, a tweet or two). Life--which I do have outside the web--has been hectic. My three-year-old introduced me to InstaCare and Orthopediatricians when he hurt his arm so much so that he couldn't and wouldn't let me touch it. Three x-rays later and a busted eardrum (mine), the InstaCare radiologist pronounced his elbow normal. No broken bones or fractures. So, the attending doctor proceeded to pop it back into place with twists and complicated maneuvers, sending my poor little one into a screaming match to rival the ladies of Real Housewives of [insert city]. As the complicated manuevers did not produce the effect we were looking for (she did it 3 different times), they gave him a sling and a referral (someone who'd hopefully know what is wrong with him).

Fast forward to the next day: We met the Orthopediatrician (for you guys who don't know medical mumbo jumbo, that 's a kid's doctor who specializes in bones. No, not similar to the TV show Bones). He ordered a new set of x-rays (no screaming this time though my ears were still ringing from the previous one), took a look at it, and gave us the diagnosis: Non-displaced fracture on the humerus. Treatment: a cast for 3 weeks. (Three seems to be the magic number here).


I've now added butler/maid/servant/slave to my résumé. So please forgive me if I haven't been around much. I'm not ignoring or snubbing you. =)

********

In an attempt to be helpful, I've come up with a simple Twitter 101, for those of you new to Twitter, contemplating diving into Twitter, or don't know what the heck Twitter is.

I'm fairly new to Twitter myself, being only 3 months old after cracking out of my shell to join the blue twittering birds. But with the help of friends, Twitter has been a positive experience for me.

So. Here are my tips:

1. Twitter is PUBLIC, unless if you opted for a private account, in which case no one you don't know can ever see you. Private accounts are good if you're only looking to connect with family and friends and want to make sure that Mrs. Harrington down the street won't see your tweets about her bumpit obsession and how you suspect she's a vampire because the stray cats she keeps bringing home with her are never seen again (cat vampire?).

So when you sign up for Twitter, remember this: Anything you tweet is open for all to see. Don't do a Weiner and send us photos of your non-existent abs.

2. Twitter is a great way to connect with friends and meet new people. Find a niche that you're comfortable with. For me, my niche obviously is anything writing-related. I follow literary agents and writers/authors. But feel free to branch out every once in a while. Interested in Visual Arts? Follow artists. Foodie? Follow cooks. And so on and so forth.

3. Don't get hung up on numbers. People follow and unfollow all the time. Twitter is a tease of a lady, that first date who may or may not call you, a fickle imp. As long as you see that the followers who matter to you (i.e. friends) have not unfollowed you, then you're golden. Spambots can follow and unfollow at their will and you need not blink an eyelash.

4. Use @ replies when conversing with friends.

e.g. Me: @aghowardwrites (Anita Howard) Hey, how are you?
      Anita: @writercherie I'm good.

If you don't use @ the tweep you're sending the tweet to won't see it or know that you're trying to talk to them.

5. When promoting someone, use . (period) before the attribution. For instance, you just read this awesome blogpost and want to let all your followers know about it. Plus this awesome blogger with the awesome blogpost is a friend. Being the nicey tweep that you are, you give a shout-out:

@writercherie wrote a wonderfully cool and savvy blogpost about Broken Bones and  Twitter, you should check it out at [link].

If you do it this way, the only people who are going to see this are the @ person (in this case, me), and our mutual friends who follow both of us. All your other followers who do not follow @person will not see it.

Another way to do this--aside from the period (.@writercherie wrote a wonderfully cool...etc.)--you can use words before the name:

Hey, @writercherie wrote a wonderfully...blah, blah, blah.

6. Some Twitter apps (like Tweetdeck) has an automatic shrink-link feature, which shortens your URLS so they don't use up all of your 140 characters. I heard Twitter has their own shrink-link now, though I wouldn't know because I use Tweetdeck most of the time. My savvy friend @aghowardwrites told me about http://tinyurl.com/.  You can use this site to shorten your links.

7. Hashtags (they start with #) are useful if you and your many friends want to chat and keep a conversation. There are also scheduled chats--in the writing world for instance, there is #YAlitchat , #askagent , and many others.

Hashtags also let you search for trends or common things that people use/say/tweet about. If you click on #writing, you'll see all the tweets that employ this tag, whether or not you follow the people tweeting them.

Okay, that's it for now. Any questions? Clarifications? Comments? Let me know. I'd also like to hear how Twitter has been a positive or negative experience for you.
    

Monday Funnies, News, and the Skeleton Key Blogvel

Hello Monday!

The "Skeleton Key" Round Robin Blogvel continues with Chapter 3 by Stephanie of Word by Word. This blogvel keeps getting more and more interesting as it passes from author to author. If you haven't been following and want to start at the beginning, Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 are already up. So go check 'em out!

I've been scouring the web for news, contests, and workshops that you might be interested in. Here are some of my finds:

>Win Sara Gran's CLAIRE DEWITT AND THE CITY OF THE DEAD by joining Agent Janet Reid's first summer writing contest. Deets here. (This one is closing TODAY at 7:18 pm EST so hurry!)

>Michelle Simkins of Greenwoman is running a contest. The prize? A short story crit from her (she's the master of writing short fiction IMHO) so head on over and find out what you have to do to win.

> First 5 Pages Workshop (every first Saturday of the month) @ Adventures in Children's Publishing.

> First Page Shooter @ Confessions from Suite 500 (run by Agents Joanna Stampfel-Volpe and Suzie Townsend)

> First Page Critique Contest by fellow blogger Robin Weeks (she's celebrating for hitting 100 blog followers! Come join the fun and follow her cool savvy blog--you won't regret it.)

> Synopsis Critique by Chuck Sambuchino @ Guide to Literary Agents. This is cutting it close but I just barely saw this. He is teaching a webinar on June 16th, but you don't have to attend the live webinar to get crits. Just click on the link to get the full details. =)

>The Speculative Fiction group at Agent Query Connect has already started their Summer Critiquing Marathon. It runs for 12 weeks (this is the second week now), and anyone can join it at anytime, as long as you follow the rules. Chapter posting goes up every Monday, and critiquing goes from Tuesday to Saturday. You have to be a member of the Spec Fic group to participate (send a PM to Clippership, the Spec Fic moderator). The rules are easy: read other people's chapters and provide adequate feedback (no "Hey, this is great. End of critique.") then vote whether you think the chapter is good enough or if it needs revision before the author posts the next chapter. Remember, it's a give-and-take relationship, and if you want in, you have to be committed to read all the other participants' chapters. It's a lot of work, but the feedback you get is worth it.

If you have news you'd like to share, please do so. We'd all appreciate it. Thanks.

Aaaaand, here's a funny for you to enjoy!



By Debbie Ridpath Ohi


Summer! And Other Fun Things...

Yesteday I had the grandest time basking in the sun while my little ones splashed around in the pool to cool off. A week and a half ago when we were visiting graves on Memorial Day, we plowed through slushy snow and shivered in our flip-flops and short-sleeved shirts. It's amazing how a few days can bring a turnaround, but I'm glad for it because Winter was never my favorite season. (I grew up in the tropics, hello!)

I'm a sunflower who follows the light. I love going barefoot and feeling the grass tickle my toes. The sound of bees happily buzzing by as I stretch out on the lounger in the patio, a book in hand, is perfect background music. Ice pops rapidly melting, sticky rivulets running down my arm, and I don't care...I don't care.... My kids squeal and run away as I chase them in the backyard. Or in the park. The wind whistling by my ears as I swing higher, and higher still. Childhood magic visits once again.

Photo By Being There

Because summer is here, there'll be less hunkering down in the basement office typing away worlds my mind creates, and more living, experiencing the world of the here and now. My reality. That said, I won't be posting daily anymore, but rest assured I will still be here (and knowing me, I'll probably keep up with at least 3 posts per week because I love blogging and connecting with my wonderful and smart readers).

Now on to the other FUN things:

The "Writing is NOT Like a Box of Chocolates MEME" is still going strong and expanding. I will continue to update my list. So if you have free time and would like to check out what other people have come up with, find it here.  

Also, Michelle Simkins of Greenwoman is hosting two cool things:

1. Round Robin Blogvel entitled Skeleton Key. The table of contents can be found under PAGES. Or just click here.

2. Summer of Bloggerly Love. I will be guest posting on her blog on the 22nd of June, and in turn, Michelle will be here to enamor us all with her wit and humor (I love this woman. She never fails to make me smile.)

I hope you will all have a great and fun summer! If you have fun and cool news you want to share with us, please do so. We're all about sharing the love here. <3  

On Dialogue and Characterization (Or Specifically, Slang and Dialect Use)

Here we are again with another post on Dialogue. We've tackled topics such as using comma splices in dialogue, using plain "said", and speaker attribution. This post talks about characterization, and while it seems like a no-brainer, I'd like to go ahead and discuss it anyway. =)

Characterization is defined as the process of conveying information about characters in narrative or dramatic works of art or everyday conversation. (Wikipedia)

So. How do we use characterization in dialogue?

The simple answer would be this: We write dialogue like the way our characters talk. For instance, we can't have a homeless man speak like the CEO of some big company. I'm pretty sure Mr. Hobo would not use words like "extrapolate" or "ramifications" in his conversations with the Taco vendor.

But you already know that, right? Pfft, you say. This is nothing. Well, I say, good to know we're in the same page here.

Now, let's take another look at this from another angle. Consider this passage:

    "Hang the boy, can't I never learn anything? Ain't he played me tricks enough like that for me to be looking out for him by this time? But old fools is the biggest fools there is. Can't learn an old dog new tricks, as the saying is. But my goodness, he never plays them alike, two days, and how is a body to know what's coming? He 'pears to know just how long he can torment me before I get my dander up, and he knows if he can make out to put me off for a minute or make me laugh, it's all down again and I can't hit him a lick. I ain't doing my duty by that boy, and that's the Lord's truth, goodness knows. Spare the rod and spile the child, as the Good Book says..."

(Aunt Polly in Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Slang and Dialect. Do we really need to utilize slang and dialect so we can SHOW what kind of a person our character is?

There's a great article by Todd Eastman found here on using slang and accents when writing fictional dialogue. He pointed out the following things to look for:

1. Be careful not to suggest racism. Be aware when you are using stereotypes.
2. If you're going to use regional speech patterns and accents, do it accurately and consistently.
3. When done correctly, using speech patterns and accents can be effective in fleshing out your character's voice.
4. Make it sound authentic. Tip: Listen to a speaker who comes from whatever background it is you're studying.
5. Consider terminology (or jargon) and use them appropriately.

I have a character in my WIP who talks in a folksy way. It's who she is and you can tell a lot (characterization) just by her dialogue. I've gotten feedback--both positive and negative--on this: One critiquer didn't care for this character's dialogue (and the character herself). She said my folksy lady was annoying and her conversations tiring. In my mind, I was thinking BINGO! I got it right! Because this woman IS indeed annoying--she likes to gossip, she goes off on tangents, and she is a talker. Mind you, she's only a minor character so I didn't feel the need to give her a make-over just because she annoyed one reader.

Another critiquer actually loved my annoying folksy lady. She told me she loves how my characters don't sound all alike. Their dialogue and conversations convey their individual voices. As you can see, there are differing opinions on this topic.

I'm pretty sure the days of Mark Twain's dialogue and writing dialect the way they sound (like spile and 'pear, for instance) are long gone. I know we had a discussion about this over at the old Agent Query Connect site, and there was a vehement, and quite unanimous vote on scratching slang and dialect altogether. Personally, I don't mind it when there's a little bit mixed in. When not overdone, or overused, it does give us readers a sense of a character's personality even when we're not told what or who they are.

What do you think? What's your take on this? Or is it so faux pas you're turning your nose up at me for even asking such a ridiculous question? ;)

By the way, here's an example of my annoying folksy lady's dialogue:

“You folks look like you came from the big city. Are you a kin of the Reverend? Nah, you can’t be. All his family got them big noses. You girls are pretty as lilies. My name’s Martha, by the way. But everyone calls me Mrs. Macey. You want to hear about the specials?” 

Poetry, the Music to my Soul

I'm not, by any means, a real poet. But...I do love words. I love poems and the way they sing to me. Sometimes, when I feel emotions bind me so tightly I can hardly breathe, I grab my notebook and jot down the words that come to me. It's my release, my silent reprieve. Today my soul is shaking, vulnerable, as I share with you a few of the poems I've written over the years.

********
I want to
crawl under my skin and
never come out--

Dewdrops fall.
Silver rain.
Words all locked up
inside my head...
They scream, they scream,
"Let us out!"

But
Lips remain shut
Fear, the glue.
I can't win, can't win, can't win
You.
**********

Soulless, I am
Unmade
by your hands,
your words,
your glance.

**********

Like the wind you come
And sweep me off.
Grand gestures--
A dance,
A kiss,
 A smile.
Airborne, high up you take me
And then let go.
I'm falling,
falling,
Rocketing past my dreams,
My hopes,
All laughter.

I am broken.
***********

By Jason Barnes

It's All Fun and Games Blogfest! Plus the Round Robin Blogvel Continues...

Hello Monday!

First off, Chapter 2 of the Round Robin Blogvel is up! Check it out at A.M. Supinger's blog. Chapter 1 can be found here.

Alex J. Cavanaugh is hosting a blogfest--this time about games that we enjoy. The rule? List 3 of your most favorite games and say why. This is probably where you'll see the geeky side of me. =)

So here we go:

1. CROSSWORD PUZZLES

View Image
*Cue nerd alert sirens.... Okay, I'm not a pro and I don't have bragging rights such as I can finish the New York Times crossword puzzle in under a minute. Ah, no. Since I didn't grow up here in the great U.S. of A., a lot of the pop culture references get lost on me. But I still try. I'm a sucker for puzzles. I love figuring things out, and I love it even more when things come together and I have that  'aha' moment. So in our household, whenever there are furniture or toys needing assembly, yep I'm the go-to guy...er, woman (psst, I have a power drill. Oh yeah!).

2. PIT

Pit is a fast-paced card game where you trade commodities with the other players to "corner" the market. There's a bull and a bear mixed in to up the challenge. The goal is to get all of your cards to match. My family loves this game. We yell and scream and trade like crazy, plus I actually learned how to bluff whenever I get the Bear card (you lose points when you have it in possession at the end of the game). The first one to have a matching suit (of nine cards) gets to ring the bell and wins.

3. LEGO STAR WARS Wii

I have a 3-year-old who's obsessed with Star Wars. On his birthday, he got the Lego Star Wars Wii game, and what was I supposed to do when he begged me one lazy afternoon to play with him (and the book I was reading at that time was chock full of boring expositions)? So we played. Do you know that the Jedis can do really cool lightsaber moves? And they can jump really high? Do you know that after every chapter you're given a True Jedi rating (for not dying so much during the game)? Do you know there are cheat codes you can find in the Internet if you know where to look, or field guides when you're stuck in a particular episode?

LucasArts Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga Nintendo WiiYeah. One day, the game mysteriously disappeared. My boy thinks Darth Vader took it so we wouldn't "get" him (we were in Epidode VI the last time we played). My theory is that someone in the household hid it so our normal life of chores can resume. But I like my son's explanation better.
There you have it. Check out the blogfest and what cool games people love to play by clicking the picture below. Enjoy! 

Follow the Yellow Brick Road of Memes...

I love my blogging buddies. They are talented, creative writers, and if you've been following the meme: Writing is NOT like a box of chocolates originated by the great Michelle Simkins of Greenwoman, you know what I mean.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Since it's Friday, and I'm buried under my pile of To-Do lists (I have several), I will let you amuse yourselves by following the trail of memes scattered all over the blogosphere.

Here they are:

Writing is like...

...leading a double life. (Greenwoman)
...flying. (Inner Owlet)
...a river trip. (The Party Pony)
...jaywalking. (Creative Procrastination)
...a patchwork quilt. (In The Jungle,)
...a box of chocolates. (Creativity or Insanity? Straddling the Line...)
...a rose. (A Still and Quiet Madness)
...losing your virginity. (The Starving Novelist)
...being god. (My Inner Stillness)
...hiking. (A Book, A Girl, A Journey)
...an old hound dog. (Write Away)
...climbing a mountain. (It's All Fun and Games Until Someone Gets an Agent)
...the all 80's channel on Sirius/XM (Rookie Riter: Trying to Get it Write)
...a journey into/of the unknown. (Impact of Thoughts)
...my therapy. (Tracey Hansen Will Write for Food)
...planting the seeds of the future. (A Storyteller's Musings)
...sailing. (The Write Time)
...a business. (Decreed)
...a hiding place. (Ashley Nixon)
...a set of car keys. (The Wordsmith Apprentice)
...dumpster diving. (Eli Ashpence)
...telepathy/astral projection. (INK ROCK)
...baking a cake. (Tighty Writie)
...therapy. (Katie On Fiction)
...raising a child. (ROSE RED)
...a symphony. (Kayeleen's Creation Corner)
...a mountain. (MY JOURNEY)

And my own version: Writing is like a Tango dance.

This brick road of memes keeps forking every which way, and I'm sure I'm missing more wonderful metaphors. If you'd like to have yours added, just let me know.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

We've Got Voice!

Yesterday's post was about Branding, and I was ecstatic with the wonderful and thought-provoking comments my readers left for me. Now you know why I call my Followers "Super Cool People" because they truly are. :-)

We've talked about Voice being elusive or hard to define. It's like being told to draw a picture without using outlines. Doable? Yes. Hard? Extremely.

We've established that VOICE = BRAND. That's it. No gimmicks. Who you ARE is what your Voice looks like, if we must pin this down. Who you are--your personality, your quirks, your perceptions, how you interpret your environment, your experiences, your childhood, the influences you've come across or have given, your pain, sorrows, griefs, your happiness--all of these wonderful (and even the not-so-wonderful) things trickle into your writing, your thoughts, your interactions with other people whether you are conscious of this or not. It is, in essence, your VOICE.

Let's be visual. Take a look at this picture:

File:Van Gogh - Starry Night - Google Art Project.jpg
Source: Wikimedia Commons
I don't think I even need to tell you who drew this; you already know the answer. And then if you were to see this next piece of art, you'd immediately think that the artist who drew the first picture made this one too:
File:Portrait of Dr. Gachet.jpg
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Do you SEE now? Do you see how Voice inherently exists, that it is INDEED inside of us, and if we were all painters, we would reproduce works of art that are uniquely our own as Van Gogh did?

The bottom line is this: BE YOURSELF. Be true to who you are, for that is your Voice, my friend. We don't need to pretend to write like J.K Rowling in the hopes that we'll have her successful career. We don't need to be everything to everyone, just to please them. Trust me, it'll burn you out quickly.

Don't fret on trying to have a quantifiable voice. Let your voice come from within.

Any thoughts on this? I'd like to hear what you've got to say.

Precy Larkins's books on Goodreads
Winter's Regret: What Might Have Been Winter's Regret: What Might Have Been
reviews: 2
ratings: 4 (avg rating 5.00)

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Precy's bookshelf: read

Whispering Minds
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Night of Cake & Puppets
The Fault in Our Stars
The Return of the King
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
The Last Olympian
The Hundred: Fall of the Wents
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
The Hunger Games
Wonder
The Founders' Code
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
The Two Towers
The Book Thief
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
The Lost Hero
Divergent
The Battle of the Labyrinth


Precy Larkins's favorite books »