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The Everyday Thoughts and Tidbits that catch my fancy - Look! A squirrel!

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Long-Anticipated Sequel! Out in Bookstores Today!

The title everyone's been waiting for:
(Info obtained from Amazon:)
This thrilling sequel to the much-talked-about Nightshade begins just where it ended-Calla Tor wakes up in the lair of the Searchers, her sworn enemy, and she's certain her days are numbered. But then the Searchers make her an offer-one that gives her the chance to destroy her former masters and save the pack-and the man-she left behind. Is Ren worth the price of her freedom? And will Shay stand by her side no matter what? Now in control of her own destiny, Calla must decide which battles are worth fighting and how many trials true love can endure and still survive.

About the Author

Andrea Cremer lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she's a professor in the history department at Macalester College. Wolfsbane is her second novel. 
The wait is over!

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Serpent's Coil: Prophesy of Days Book II by Christy Raedeke

The Serpent's Coil: Prophecy of Days Book II by Christy Raedeke

(Info obtained from Amazon)
After discovering that Uncle Li betrayed her and the Fraternitas Regni Occulti burned down her family’s house, Caity Mac Fireland retreats to a boarding school that allows her to travel around the globe. With the murderous Fraternitas hot on her heels, Caity continues to mobilize the planet’s young people as she attempts to fulfill the Mayan prophecy. Helping—and sometimes hindering— Caity in her quest are her best friend Justine, boyfriend Alex, and new classmate Jules D’Aubigne, an intriguing French boy.
Can Caity end the devastating global reign of the Fraternitas and save the world?

About the Author

Christy Raedeke is many things, among them an award-winning writer and avid adventurer.
Raedeke's love of mysticism and thirst for ancient knowledge has taken her around the world. She has trekked in the Himalayas, floated down the River Ganges, explored the catacombs under Paris and Rome, studied feng shui in Kuala Lumpur, cloistered at an hermitage in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, spent Halloween in a 16th century Scottish castle, and gone looking for shaman among the Mayan ruins of the Yucatan.
Raedeke was the 2008 recipient of the Edna L. Holmes Fellowship in Young Readers Literature from Oregon Literary Arts and her writing for young adults has earned several awards and accolades. She is a member of the PEN America Center and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).
When not globetrotting, Raedeke lives with her family in Oregon. Prophecy of Days is her debut novel.

I have to gush; Book 1 Prophecy of Days: The Day Keeper's Grimoire was one of my most favorite books. And Christy was my first Interviewee!
Don't walk, run to the bookstore and get this one! It's out on July 8, 2011!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Letters to Heaven

Dear Uncle P.,

Your first cradle was a shoebox on Grandma's warming shelf on her wood stove. You fit in Grandpa's hand, your tiny feet only reaching to his wrist. Though it wasn't the name you were christened with, they called you Thom Thumb. (Which became your alias in years to come:-)
Perhaps it was because you fought death from the moment of birth that you had no fear. Crazy stunts and wild disregard for rules - any rules - were common fare for you your whole life long. You lived life in every moment, laughing and joking and loving every minute, no matter what trouble came your way. You taught me not to worry about tomorrow - right now is where I need to be.

Dear G.,

You expected nothing but 110% from yourself and everyone around you. Having built yourself up from an uneducated immigrant to a well-known businessman, you knew that hard work and persistence would get you ahead. Though we rarely saw eye-to-eye, you taught me that when you get knocked down you just get right back up, as well as how to stand up for myself.

Dear C.S.,

You made an impression on everyone you met. Humorous, ambitious and hard-working, you still always had time to lend a helping hand. We didn't know you for very long and your time here was cut tragically short, but your family's loss was also felt by ours. You taught me to make people important - not accomplishments. The 800+ people at you service had all felt touched by you.

Dear Mr. W.,

You scared the crap out of me that morning I found you stretched out in your hay field next to your truck. You were just taking a nap, you said. With cancer ravaging your body and the chemotherapy literally knocking you on your butt, you were still plucking away at your chores, even if you could only work for a few minutes at a time. You taught me that there are no reasons to not get the work done - only excuses.

You all inspire me.


What valuable lessons have you learned from others in your life?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Getting My Rocks Off, a.k.a. My First Artist Date

In case you missed last Monday's post, I started the The Artist's Way: The Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity  (post)Twelve-Week Challenge. (Want to try it yourself? Click Here.) One of the required Tasks is a weekly Artist Date.
Artist Date: Basically, a play date with your Inner Child. Otherwise known as Filling The Well. Must be performed solo; no buddy/child/significant other. ME-Time. Well, Me and Inner Child Time;-)

Artist Date Week One:

Inner Child: It's time for our play date!
Me: But I have all these errands to run. How about later in the week?
Inner Child: (whining) Tomorrow you have plans, Thursday is Alison's grad, Friday you have to drive her all the way to the airport in Calgary, and you hate being in town on the weekends...
Me: Okay, okay.
Inner Child: Yeah Me! You know where I want to go. We're going shoppin'! We're goin' shoppin'!
Me: Just don't let this get too expensive.

Ten minutes later at Josee's Hand made Imports:
IC: I wanna see the rocks.
Me: Let's check out all the new items they have in. Look at these fairy sculptures; aren't they cute? And these carved wood dragon statues. They're gorgeous! These metal sculptures - is that what they refer to as 'steampunk'?
IC: I wanna see the rocks!
Me:You have lots of rocks at home. You filled that crystal sugar bowl, plus you have them scattered all over the house.
IC: I just wanna look...
Me:Just for a minute.

Half-an-hour and $50+ of stones and crystals later:
IC: See? That lady likes rocks just as much as I do.
Me: Maybe she just likes selling rocks to chumps like me.
IC: But these are so pretty! Let's go check them out in our book at home and see what POWERS they have!
Me: Properties. What Properties they have.
IC: POWERS! Powerspowerspowers!

At home at my desk with new purchases spread out in front of me:
(In walks my youngest daughter:) "What'ca doin'?"
Me: (Scurrying to cover up rocks.) "Nothing."
YD: "OOh! New rocks! Can I  see?"
IC: But they're mine!
Me: Play nice.

Ten minutes later:
IC: She took my pretty green malachite and my lucky soapstone elephant!
Me: Green is her favorite color, not yours. Here. This sodalite wand is a real pretty blue...
IC: I bet she took my Jade Buddha.
ME: We gave her that. Look at the time! I forgot to take meat out for supper. Let's go get some frozen burger patties out of the deep freeze.
IC:(whining) But I wanna play with my rocks!

Another ten minutes later:
Me:(Finding myself on my haunches in the driveway) What did I come outside for again?
IC: Somethin' about burgers in the freezer in the garage. But look at these cool rocks! Right here in our gravel!

*Tisk.* Kids.

Where does your inner child take you?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

If I had a Rider...(Repost)

Riders are basically negotiations that actors and musicians attach to their contracts; you know, like only blue M and M's in the dressing rooms, etc.
That got me to wondering what I would need in order to perform my job as a fantabulous and uber rich and famous (and prolific) writer WRITER. (Let us not forget the capitals;-). I have just one question; who do I send it to?

1) A lakeside cottage with the above aforementioned view, or one similar, in a forested mountain setting.

2) A personal trainer, one with the physique of the actors in '300'. (The better to motivate me...)

3) A personal chef, one schooled in my personal desires and quirky expectations.

4) A stash of All-Dressed potato chips, preferably a closet full.

5) A second storey office in said cottage, with windows on all four sides that open to the mountain breezes.

6) An extensive library of an eclectic variety of books, also in said cottage.

7) An awesome SUV, with all the bells and whistles, to take me to and from said cottage.

8) A Mac computer (I'm told this is necessary) to do my writing on.

9) Hours of uninterrupted bliss to follow my wondering mind.

10) Blue M and M's on the left-hand side of said Mac computer.

I've actually picked out the cottage I want, but dagnabit, someone already lives there;-)

What would be numero uno on your rider?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Following The Artist's Way: Introduction

Following The Artist's Way: Introduction

I'm sure that the majority of you have at least heard of - if not partaken in - The Artist's Way: The Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron. I myself have undertaken the start of the twelve-week program three, maybe four times. Notice I said "the start of". Alas, once I came across the bumps in the road, I performed what Julia refers to as a creative U-turn. I don't think I've made it past Week 5, yet. Let me repeat that. YET. As of today, I pledge to myself (and to you all out there watching me) to complete the twelve week challenge that is The Artist's Way. I'm not so sure that Julia would choose the word challenge to describe it, but that's how it has stacked up for me in the past.

If you care to follow along, there is The Artist's Way Online. If there's enough interest, perhaps we can start our own cluster group and join the forums on the site.

To start with, there are two Basic Tools: Morning Pages and Artist Dates.

Morning Pages are written long-hand, and are stream of consciousness writing done first thing in the morning. Three pages of it.
Sometimes, three pages was a challenge. Heck, some mornings, just getting out of bed early enough to get them done before I had to get my day rolling, was a challenge. But I am the first to admit to the miracles that Morning Pages created. I'm not the same person I was before I started them for the first time. I'm more confident and self-assured than I ever was, even though I wouldn't go so far as to say I'm any smarter or wiser than I was before. I'm much more in tune with who I am and what I want out of life. I didn't have a clue before I started them. Why did I stop?
 {NOTE: Morning Pages are intended to be a lifelong practice, like brushing your teeth. Just because I slacked off on them doesn't mean it's good practice to do so. I now have plaque buildup on my  muse.}

 Artist Dates are weekly outings to explore something that interests you. By yourself. No children/buddies/significant other tagging along. These are basically play dates with your inner child.
I admit, I've had resistance to Artist Dates in the past. Part of me felt silly, part of me just simply didn't know what to do.
My Artist Date for this week: a shopping excursion to Josee's Handmade Imports. It carries a collection of New Agey stuff that I find stimulating and engaging. Then I'll hit the local craft store for drawing supplies for next week's Artist Date.

I'm hoping I can make it through the challenge this time without balking when things get uncomfortable. (No one has ever accused me of being the touchy-feely-let's-talk-about-our-emotions type. Emotionally stunted? Probably.) Each Monday for the next twelve weeks, I'll report on my progress. Or rant about how frustrated I've become. Or cry on your shoulder. Just warning you.
So I'm off to read Week One: Recovering a Sense of Safety, and see what I can accomplish in the TASKS.
Have You ever completed The Artist's Way challenge? Any pointers?
Would you care to join me on this journey?
Any ideas for me to do on my Artist Dates?

Extensive List of Julia Cameron's Books

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I'm Baaaack!

I figured it was high-time to get back up on the horse. I've missed you guys!!! (Even though I've still been stalking a great number of y'all from the shadows...)
Is my life tuned-up and in perfect running order? Er, no.
Have I finished a series of novels and self-published them on Amazon Kindle and made my first million? You're at the wrong blog.
But I've been polishing my skills, rethinking  story structure and, of course, started another NEW AND SHINY story. (I can't help it!)
Over the next couple weeks I'll be revamping the blog; you know the drill;-)

In case you're interested and planning a trip to the Calgary Stampede, my daughter, Leanna, will be performing at the Calgary Stampede Talent Search at the Boyce Theatre on July 11, 2011 at 6:30 pm, for the preliminaries. And if you miss that performance, there's always her gig in the beer gardens at the Canadian Country Weekend in Fort MacLeod, Alberta, on August 12 -13, 2011.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

EPIPHANY Served to Me By Youth

I realized this morning that I need to take a page out of my daughter's book. And if you know my daughter Leanna, then you know what book I'm talking about - her day planner. Her life is in that book; her job(s) schedules, voice lessons, mentoring, meetings and workshops, just to name a few things in it. Her sisters tease her boyfriend that he is only 'penciled in'. She's a first year college student studying to be a psychologist, and a leader of her sisters' 4H group, as well as an aspiring singer who is setting up gigs to sing the anthem at sports venues all over town, and is preparing for open mike nights at local watering holes.

Today is her nineteenth birthday. And what was she doing this morning while her friends from out of town were sleeping off last night in our basement? (Birthday party at my place last night.) She was working on a workshop presentation she's putting on for Monday.

"Dear, I'm almost ready to put breakfast on the table. Do you have to haul this stuff all out here now?" (For some reason, my eight foot long kitchen table is barely enough room for her projects.)

"I need to get this done, and now is as good a time as any."

If you knew my daughter, you'd know she rarely watches television, she goes to movies simply to catch up with friends, and she has NEVER uttered the words "I'm bored". She has made sacrifices in the past (not just working on projects on her birthday on Saturday, no less) in order to accomplish what she feels is top priority, like dropping out of volleyball in her senior year to make more time for her singing and mentoring. She LOVED volleyball, but The Grand Ole Opery is her goal, so it had to go. I don't worry about her not having what it takes; ambition and drive, as well as talent, are on her side.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's time for me to make some sacrifices in order to accomplish goals I feel are top priority. And I don't just mean giving up TV. I need to unplug. I love to visit your blogs, learning and laughing and getting my kicks from all the time you all put into your blogs, and I find that is the first thing I come to do when I find time to sit down at the computer,when I should really be doing my writing. (Sniff) I've decided that I need to take a hiatus from blogging, and the Internet in general. I can't say how long that it will be, but I WILL be back. 'Cause I already miss you :-(

I leave you with a sample of Leanna's singing; just know it doesn't sound near as good on tape as it did in person. My husband and I both got chills while she was singing this piece.

This is at a singing competition last spring. She received first place in this grouping, and was asked to perform at the festival's wrap up concert as one of the year's top performers. (Yes, I'm bragging. I'm her mother, so I'm allowed.)

Monday, January 24, 2011

It's My Birfday

My actual birthday is on Wednesday, but it's shaping up to be another crammed week, so I'll post this today:0)
Even though I already did a post on Resolutions, I have to admit that mine never really get started until after my birthday. That's when MY new year begins, and my 42nd year is supposed to be one of my best!
I know this may sound weird, but I've been looking forward to this year for three or four years now. And honestly, how many of us over 25 look forward to getting older! But I've always known, somehow, that this was going to be an awesome year.
Will I get rid of this extra 20 pounds and get my torn shoulder ligaments healed up? Will I get my plantar fascitis under control and get back to running 15 - 20 miles a week? Will I get my crap together and let my writing take a front seat? Will I find an agent? A publisher?
Stay tuned for the next episode of As The Toilet Flushes...

Friday, January 14, 2011

New Year's Writing and Reading Goals for 2011

I hate to admit it, but I've already screwed up as for as my writing resolutions were for 2011. (And we aren't going anywhere near my exercise and dieting goals!)
Just how hard can it be to get down 250 words a day? Apparently, harder than I thought. But then, I didn't limit it to my fiction, either. I wrote on my Resolutions List that I was to write 250 words a day, be it on blog posts, novels, etc. I'm running with the etc. part. Have you ever written a shopping list to feed and supply four teenage girls? I can drop 250 words there easy. And answering emails? I tried to be wordy without being redundant. Does commenting on blogs count? Maybe I should draw a line there, don't you think?

Anywho, some of my other writing resolutions include; finishing Witches Don't Wear Socks and getting it out there, fleshing out two more novels I have in the oven, and twisting Time Wardens around to where I want it (total revision).

As for last year's reading goals, the results are as follows:
Young Adult novels: 25/24
Writing books: 6/24
Fantasy novels: 26/24
Research books: 0/12
Biographies: 4/12
Writing magazines: 13/60

For 2011, I think I'll stick to:
Young Adult novels: 2/month
Writing books: 1/month
Fantasy novels: 2/month
Research books/Biographies: 1/month
Writing magazines: 2/month

Do You make reading goals for the year? If you do, are they specific?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tuesday Teasers - Time Travel Edition

I'm a LITTLE late getting back to you about the answers to the last Tuesday Teasers, I know. Even that bratty little New Year's fella snuck by me without taking down my resolutions for 2011. But that's another post. I believe the last teasers were of the mushy variety, if I recall. The answers are:

1) FLIPPED by Wendelin Van Draanen at and Chapters
2) Reincarnation by Suzzanne Wyen in the US and Chapters
3) Fact of Life #31 by Denise Vega and here And this place

Now on to the first teasers of the New Year! (Yeah, I KNOW it's a week late!) Time travel is an obsession of mine, and if I ever find a way to make it work, I'll let you know. Lord knows there are a few cakes and squares I would like to have avoided this past holiday! Here are the "cover stories" of a few of my time travel novels on my shelves.

1) The strangest things seem to happen to the Hall family. Now their adventure is with time itself. It starts when Eddy receives an unusually large packing crate from his uncle, Prince Krishna, containing an old-fashioned bicycle complete with wicker basket. The bike has more than that, though: It possesses the ability to travel through time!

2) Twelve-year-old A. F. is a millionaire, a genius, and, above all, a criminal mastermind. But even A. doesn't know what he's taken on when he kidnaps a fairy, Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon Unit. These aren't the fairies of bedtime stories; these fairies are armed and dangerous.
A. thinks he has them right where he wants them . . . but then they stop playing by the rules.
Stay back, Human.
You don't know what you're dealing with.

3) Gideon Seymour, thief and gentleman, hides from the villainous Tar Man. Suddenly the sky peels away like fabric and from the gaping hole fall two curious-looking children. Peter Schock and Kate Dyer have fallen straight from the twenty-first century, thanks to an experiment with an antigravity machine. Before Gideon and the children have a chance to gather their wits, the Tar Man takes off with the machine -- and Peter and Kate''s only chance of getting home. Soon Gideon, Peter, and Kate are swept into a journey through eighteenth-century London and form a bond that, they hope, will stand strong in the face of unfathomable treachery.

Are any of these on your bookshelf?