Category Archives: Awards

Two Blogger Awards

It’s taken me far too long to get around to this, but—today is the day! Great news: Catrina Barton has kindly nominated me for two blogger awards, the Versatile Blogger and the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Catrina writes YA paranormal novels, and she runs a blog following the writing process and the adventures of her recent book release, Dangerous Temptations. I am, of course, completely flattered that Catrina bestowed me with this honor, especially considering my less-frequent posting makes this feel far too generous.

versatileblogger111So, thank you, Catrina!

The Versatile Blogger Award has been floating around for a while now, and the nomination requirements are:

          • Display the award logo on your blog.
          • Link back to the person who nominated you.
          • State 7 things about yourself.
          • Nominate other bloggers for this award and link to them.
          • Notify those bloggers of the nomination and the award’s requirements.badge-veryinspiringbloggeraward

Conveniently, the Very Inspiring Blogger Award has the same rules, so I’ll be doing this once for both awards.

7 Things About Me:
  1. I have a group of really amazing friends. In addition, in the last couple months, I’ve had a few old friends come out of the woodwork, giving me the feeling of being surrounded by awesome, loving people. Add this to my blogger and reader friends and I’m sitting here wrapped in a mental hug. You all rock!
  2. I’m a crazy proud auntie, which I’ve said before and I’ll say about a gazillion times. (In fact, I might have been so proud that I was tempted to circulate her recent report card on Facebook, but I held it together. Swear.)
  3. I love to bake, but am so-so on the cooking. (We can’t just eat cookies and banana bread all day? Really?)
  4. While I do despise traffic, I actually love to drive—call it prep/decompression time for work, or just time-to-ruminate-with-loud-music, but I’ve liked it since my 16-hour roundtrip travels to get home my freshman year in college. Which leads to…
  5. I love to travel and want to do it more. No, more. NO, even more than that! I try to take a trip every year, but this hasn’t worked out the last couple. Fortunately, this summer I’m heading to Italy and Croatia! I can’t wait!
  6. I am really into countdowns. (Like to my summer trip, for example.)
  7. There’s a brown thumb, and then there’s what I have, which is like the thumb of death. I have two plants that have suffered carried along with me for a while—Seymour, a 13-year-old Ficus Monique, and a 4-year-old Cactus aptly called The Cactus. Seymour has some extraordinary branches and a few (read: twenty-ish) bright green leaves. This leads me to believe that Seymour is doing fine, but friends like to tell me otherwise. I just looked up a picture of a Ficus Monique, and I’m going to continue believing Seymour is the minimalist relative of that plant. Meanwhile, the cactus has some brown leaves. (What?!) But you know, I figure I’m too busy tending to my attention-hungry and adorable cats, so…uh…yeah.

Okay, that wraps up seven facts about me. Now on to nominations, where I’ll be bending the rules a bit.

The award requirements suggest nominations for 15 blogs. Instead, I’d like to focus on just a few. Quality over quantity, here, so…the following are three great bloggers I follow:

  • Jessica Vealitzek at TrueSTORIES — Jessica’s blog always makes my list, because she is constantly inspiring, thoughtful, and entertaining. I also enjoy the reality of her posts, since I’m generally more “light and fluffy” and can use a good dose of reality here and there. (Say, Jessica, think you might want to do a post on how to properly care for plants?)
  • MariNaomi at MariNaomi – Comics about real life and stuff — I won’t lie; Mari happens to be a friend of mine who’s been running various comics around the web for years, and after much prodding/nagging/cajoling from her little pal (that would be me), she finally upped and started a WordPress blog. This means I can now spread the word of her awesomeness more easily by sharing her blog with you! Mari is the author of Kiss and Tell, a graphic novel that I immensely enjoyed, and I’ve been following her since I read it.
  • Katherine Checkley at The Intrinsic Writer — Katherine has all sorts of clever thoughts and posts on the writing process, and her blog is one I not only read as often as I can, but one that I reference frequently.

And that’s it—yes, only three. I’m handing five nominations each to these three spectacular people (technically ten, since there are two awards). I read a lot of wonderful blogs, but these three are the ones that I read faithfully and the ones I think you should check out, too.

However, I still think giving commendations to other blogs is extremely important. There are tons of phenomenal blogs out there that I haven’t seen, and they, too, might very well be worthy of these fabulous nominations. That said, I would like YOU to tell me about your favorite blogs and bloggers.

Who are your “go to” bloggers? Whose posts do you regularly read, and who would you recommend for others to read?

I’m always in the market for new reading, so please share your suggestions/loves/favorites below!

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Whole Lotta Love (in Books)

It’s nearly Valentine’s Day, a holiday that tends to divide most of the population. Those who love it do so either because they enjoy the romantic elements, or because they are madly in love and appreciate a reason to celebrate that feeling. Others hate it, for reasons as diverse as single-dom to the commercialization of love. I myself always fall with one foot in either camp—while I tend to be fairly evasive when it comes to relationships, I’m also a giant mushball when I’m actually in one.800px-Antonio_Canova-Cupid's_Kiss-3-Hermitage

So, in the spirit of all things loving, romantic, heart-filled, and Valentine’s-oriented, I figured today’s post should address love. Specifically, love in one’s novel.

Once upon a time, I thought I wanted to be a romantic fantasy writer. That is, I wrote Kyresa, a romantic fantasy novel. I’m quite proud of that little baby, and still aim to find her a home, but in the time since finishing the book I’ve stumbled upon some darker roots. This could be a combination of bad love memories, or maybe just an imagination that lends itself to sinister undertones, but dark speculative fiction is the direction of my next novel.

And yet to my surprise, as I set about outlining early last week, I discovered…my story had an embedded romantic plot line! At first, it felt counterintuitive, but the more I thought about it, the more I figured most everyone experiences love, is in love, or wants to be in love, thus making it a natural element for even the least likely of tales. In fact, when I got right down to it, I realized that most of my favorite books included a romantic plot or subplot: The Black Jewels Trilogy, Jane Eyre, The Robber Bride, and The Demon Lover, for example, all have romance weaved into the tale (or as the main tale). The little anti-romantic in me took a pause after that discovery and screamed, “But I like my stories really dark!” Yes, indeed, they can still be dark, but even the deadliest of creatures needs love! 🙂

The element of romance in one’s novel is of course dependent one how big a role it will play in the tale. Is the relationship already established, with the two characters bonded and holding strong together as they face the real essence of the plot? Or, will they meet in the course of the tale, taking the reader along the romantic journey with them? More questions arise as you delve into fictional romantic elements—will their love be traditional or not? Will they fight their romance, or will they fall epically fast? Will their love carry through the whole novel or will the breakup happen in the tale? And of course there comes the big authorial decision (heck, the big romantic life decision)—should they have sex?

While I knew before ever starting to write Kyresa that the romance would begin with a meeting and transform into a full-blown, serious relationship, I’m not as certain where the love story in my current book will lead. Will there be a meeting? Yes. Will there be a love affair? Yes. Will there be sex? Uh, with a succubus as a main character, I’m pretty sure the answer to that is straightforward. Still, do I have any idea what will happen in the long-term? Not a clue. I guess at this stage in my writing, I like my romantic journey to be as mysterious as it is in real life!

So what about you? When you write, do you tend to include romantic plot lines or subplots? Do you have the entire relationship mapped out before you go, or do you sit back and let it unfold as you write?

For those of you who do tend to weave romance into your tales, I’d like to refer you to a lovely little post on romantic plots by writer and blogger Katherine Checkley. It’s an oldie but goodie, and I think worth a read here. Speaking of love—I’d like to thank Catrina Barton, since she kindly nominated me for two blogger awards, the Versatile Blogger and the Very Inspiring Blogger! I’ll try to address both in a future post, but for now, thanks so much, Catrina!

Don’t forget to share your thoughts on writing romance in the comments section below…and in the meantime, love, kisses, and romance to all—in your books and in real life. 🙂

800px-Heart_of_the_Milky_Way_-_Valentine's_Day

 


Liebster Award…Take Two!

***See end of post for information on the theme call for next week’s Third Thursday Flash: The TURKEY Edition!***

A little over a week ago, I was honored with two awards in one day. Wow! Today I’d like to discuss the second of the two, the Liebster, which comes to me from the wonderful Katherine Checkley—thanks so much, Katherine! Katherine runs a beautiful and informative blog called The Intrinsic Writer, which deals with all sorts of writerly topics. Katherine’s is a great voice, and this is why it’s such a compliment that she nominated me for my second Liebster Award. 🙂

Here are the rules for the Liebster Award:

  • Post eleven random things about you.
  • Answer the eleven questions provided by the giver for you.
  • Create eleven questions for the people you nominate.
  • Choose eleven people to award and send them a link to your post. Go to their page and tell them.
  • No tag backs.

Eleven Facts About Me:

  1. I eat cold sweet potatoes almost daily as a quick snack, and I keep them pre-baked and grab-able in my fridge.
  2. I “run hot” most of the time. Fortunately, I prefer tank tops.
  3. I own enough high-heeled shoes to fill a small closet—and I have a small closet actually filled with said shoes.
  4. I am addicted to Trader Joe’s apple/pumpkin/cranberry-apple butter. Yum!
  5. I’ve been getting up between 4:45 a.m. and 5:15 a.m. almost every weekday to squeeze some writing in before work. (I’m still not entirely sure why this is working for me, but it is.)
  6. I like the smell of paper. In fact, I worked at a print shop for two years in college, and I used to love to smell every type of paper and report a scent description to my colleagues. They thought I was weird. Go figure.
  7. I love baking cookies for friends and colleagues.
  8. I have an impressive Venetian mask collection hanging around my house. (I might have as many masks as I have heels, come to think of it…)
  9. I have only been in eleven U.S. states: California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Colorado, West Virginia, Hawaii, and Florida for a day or more, and New York and North Carolina for under twelve hours each. How sad!
  10. My favorite show is Vampire Diaries. An extremely close second is Fringe. They have clever writing, fascinating topics, and beautiful casts on both!
  11. I love candy, and I have since I was a little kid. It’s kind of a problem…

My Eleven Questions to Answer:

  1. Have you ever seen a ghost/spirit? If so, tell me about it. If not, do you believe in ghosts/spirits? I haven’t, but I do believe in them.
  2. What’s your favorite movie from the 1980s? That’s easy—Who’s That Girl. I’m a crazy Madonna fan, and that was one of my first Madonna memories.
  3. What do you wish you knew in high school that you know now? So many things! Mostly, that if it seemed like people weren’t telling the truth, then no amount of convincing could make it any different.
  4. What’s your favorite cocktail or alcoholic beverage? A lemon drop floated with Chambord. Yum!
  5. What’s your favorite vegetable? I’m fond of just about every vegetable other than asparagus. However, I eat spinach and brussel sprouts the most. This is hilarious if you know me, since I grew up hating brussel sprouts but “trained” myself to like them. Now I actually really enjoy them!
  6. What’s one band or artist you love that goes against your normal range of musical taste? My normal range is pretty much all over the map, so I don’t know that there’s anything against normal for me. Though, as a huge Madonna and pop fan, I suppose mentioning I also love Tool, Stabbing Westward, and some Metallica might be unusual…
  7. What’s your favorite Disney movie? No hesitation: Sleeping Beauty. Whenever I read it to my niece before bedtime, there is inevitably the moment I bust out singing “Once Upon a Dream.” To which she usually rolls her eyes and says, “Auntie Eva, the song is not in the book!” 🙂
  8. What do you think was the most interesting news story of 2012? That women are able to prevent pregnancy during rape by willing it so. News to me. (And horrifically ludicrous news, I might add.)
  9. List all the major cities of the world that you’ve visited. Which was your favorite? Since I haven’t been out of California much (see random fact #9), I also haven’t made it to many major cities. However, if you look at Wikipedia’s List of U.S. Cities, I have apparently been to more than I thought (seriously, Oakland made it on this list?). I’ve been to every major city in California, as well as Washington D.C.; Charlotte, N.C. (though it was an overnight hotel stay only); Seattle, WA; Portland, OR; Reno, NV; Henderson, NV; Las Vegas, NV; and Honolulu, HI. Okay, that list is somewhat depressing. I’m not sure I have a favorite. I love Las Vegas but not for the traditional reasons people love Vegas—I have family there, and stay far away from the Strip—but I also love San Francisco. Er, scratch that. I love Honolulu. I love Hawaii! (Excuse me while I go book a flight back!)
  10. Who is your favorite figure from history? Queen Elizabeth I, Cleopatra, and Mata Hari. Everything about Queen Elizabeth’s era fascinates me (I worked the Renaissance Faire for many years when I was younger), as does her entire life story. Cleopatra intrigues me more for her romance with Antony, but I also love the time period. Mata Hari has captivated me since I read a book about her in my teens—a seductress spy whose failing was to fall in love? Intense.
  11. What current song can’t you stand? Kesha’s “Die Young.” I try, try, try to appreciate Kesha, since I know my kids are listening to her—but I just can’t pretend on this one.

Phew. Those were surprisingly challenging questions by Katherine! 🙂 Now on to…

Eleven Questions for Those I’ve Nominated:

  1. What is your favorite musical decade?
  2. List your travel destinations of the past. Which one is your favorite?
  3. Do you live where you want to reside, and if not, where would you move?
  4. If you had to go back to school today to follow a new career path, what would you study?
  5. What is your favorite wild animal?
  6. If you could board a time machine and live in any place and time, where would you go?
  7. What is your favorite song of the moment?
  8. What genre do you prefer reading that is distinctly different from what you write?
  9. You and your laptop are on an adventure to write in the most blissful setting possible (free of charge). Where do you go?
  10. What is the book you read (or were read) as a child that charmed you the most?
  11. If you pick an actor or actress to play the lead role of your most recent work, whom would you choose, and why?

Okay, on to the nominees…Having just nominated five fantastic bloggers last week, and having discovered that all of my favorite bloggers are people I nominated the last time I sent a Liebster around, I have decided to break the rules (for shame, Rieder!)…I am nominating only two people. While I am issuing an honorary Liebster to the five people I nominated for The Illuminating Blogger Award, the following are two people whose blogs are full of great information, and whose posts I always look forward to reading!

Thanks for the engaging posts, you two! Well done, and keep up the outstanding work. And of course, thanks again to Katherine Checkley for nominating me! 🙂

Before I wrap this post up, I want to remind everyone that next week is the sixth edition of Third Thursday Flash—meaning theme submissions are open now until Monday the 19th at 8 p.m. PST! Since this particular edition will fall on Thanksgiving, I’m officially entitling it Third Thursday Flash, the Turkey Edition. That’s right: The TURKEY Edition! Interpret as you like, and send along an idea, pair of words, sentence, or theme that you would like me to craft into a flash fiction piece for next week’s Third Thursday Flash. You can send your ideas to evariederauthor@gmail.com.

Thanks for participating and reading, everyone!


The Illuminating Blogger Award!

Today I’d like to share exciting news—I’ve been nominated for two blog awards! Wow! These nominations come from fellow bloggers Michelle Ziegler and Katherine Checkley. Michelle nominated me for a new one, the Illuminating Blogger Award, while Katherine nominated me for my second Liebster Award. Thanks so much, ladies, I’m honored! 🙂

Since each of these awards has different requirements—the Liebster’s are quite thorough—I’ve decided to address them in separate posts. For now I’ll say another quick thanks to Katherine Checkley for the Liebster, and I’ll elaborate more on it next week! Now for…

The Illuminating Blogger Award

The rules for the Illuminating Blogger Award are as follows:

  • Visit the award site at http://foodstoriesblog.com/illuminating-blogger-award/ and leave a comment indicating you were nominated and by whom.
  • Thank the blogger and include a link back to their site.
  • Share a random thing about yourself.
  • Select 5 or more nominees and notify them that they’ve won the award.
  • Put the award on your blog somewhere.

Michelle, my nominator, is a romance writer who posts as she makes her way along the writing path. Her posts are fun and informative, whether about writing or the world in general. Thanks for the nomination, Michelle!

Time for a random fact about me…hmm…I love fun socks! This is particularly random since I’m always warm and wear flip-flops most of the time—but around the house I love short or knee-high socks with some variety of silliness on them. I own a lot of striped, polka-dotted, and zebra-printed ankle socks. I have knee highs with stripes, others with skulls and crossbones, and some with both! I also have pairs that tote some verbal hilarity all over the feet that I’ve owned for many years (“Diva,” “Sassy silly flirt,” etc…seriously, who buys these for me?!). My new house has bamboo floors, so I have an excuse to wear my socks more—and slide across the surface a la Risky Business!

My five nominees for the Illuminating Blogger Award are:

  • Jessica Vealitzek at TrueSTORIES: this award is intended for illuminating, informative bloggers, and Jessica is just that. Her posts involve real stories from real people, and they’re all beautifully written. I love finding her posts in my inbox!
  • Mike Manz at Stories for the Masses: Mike restructured his blog to focus on his fiction, and it’s exquisite. In addition to posting his work, he creates a companion podcast every time (wow!) and has a special feature showcasing other story-based blogs. Love it!
  • Anna Meade at Yearning for Wonderland: Anna runs flash fiction contests and posts her own work. She is a social media guru, managing to rile up participation like none other! The themes she creates for her contests are inspired—I plan to enter more!
  • Rebecca Lane Beittel at Rebecca of Tomorrow: Rebecca’s posts are playful and clever, often full of facts about authors of the past or present. Sometimes she sheds light on the season (she posted a fun series on Halloween), and others on writing in general.
  • Shay Fabbro at Dr. Shay West aka Dr. Shay Fabbro aka Dr. Fab!: Shay posts author interviews and book reviews, but also posts about fabulous science topics! Shay is a Biology Professor with expertise in the field, and as a former biology student, I get a kick out of her posts.

So there you have it—five awesome nominees. Great work, everyone! And thanks again to Michelle for the nomination! 🙂


Third Thursday Flash Submission Call and the One Lovely Blog Award!

Happy Thursday, everyone!

I’d like to start off my thanking the wonderful Nathan Payne over at Writer’s Codex for nominating me for another award, the One Lovely Blog Award. Thanks, Nathan!

I’ll go into more detail on the award in just a moment, but first—drumroll please!—it’s time for another call for submissions! As a reminder, every three Thursdays I’m posting a 500 to 1,000 word flash fiction piece I’ve written based on your idea! Submissions are now open for theme ideas you’d like me to craft from for next Thursday’s post. Please pass along whatever idea you like (it can be a theme, a sentence, a prompt, a couple of words you’d like me to incorporate or use as background—your choice), and send your suggestions to me by email at evariederauthor@gmail.com. You can also use the handy contact form on my website. Submissions will remain open until Monday the 17th at 8 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, when I will pick one of your great ideas and craft a piece! In your email, please let me know if you would prefer I keep your name anonymous should I pick your idea, otherwise be prepared for me to shout out your awesomeness for providing a swell idea.  🙂

You can click here or here to read the first two installments of Third Thursday Flash. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your suggestions thus far, everyone—it keeps me writing and I love having your input. So, I welcome more ideas and themes for next week’s edition!

And now…back to the One Lovely Blog Award!

The One Lovely Blog Award is another of those fun blog awards circulating at the moment. While some bloggers consider them chain letters just by the nature of passing them along to more bloggers, I find the mention by my esteemed peers quite flattering. There are about 80 gazillion blogs out there, so being nominated as one of a small group that someone likes to read is not only encouraging but a real highlight of the day. So, thanks again, Nathan!

The One Lovely Blog Award suggests that I should: thank the nominator (done—you rock, Nathan!), post the picture (done!), mention seven random facts about myself, and nominate fifteen other blogs.

We’ll start with the seven random facts. (Dun dun dun…this could get interesting.)

1. One of my favorite foods is a pot pie with popcorn in it. This is a holdover from childhood, when my mom loved to eat popcorn for dinner (why, mom, why?), and we’d grab handfuls and sprinkle it over our pot pies. For some reason, the butter flavor mixes quite well. I have to get crafty with this now due to a double whammy of lactose and gluten intolerance (random fact number 2!), but I sure do love that combo.

2. See last sentence of #1. Fortunately, this is a pretty bearable issue now that it’s 2012 and there are delicious substitutes available.

3. I’ve become addicted to getting up at 4:45 to squeeze in 45 minutes to an hour of writing before I leave for work – so much so that I have to remind myself to sleep in a little on the weekends. (Why waste a perfectly good day?)

4. I’m a clean person but I have a tendency to drop mail and shoes as soon as I come in the house. Mail on the counter (which I leave, often, for a week at a time) and shoes by the door. This results in (a) no counter space and (b) random bouts of tripping over shoes while heading into my kitchen. My kitchen, by the way, is inconveniently placed as the opening to my apartment. This leads me to item #5.

5. I am giddily, delightfully, and over-the-moon excited about the fact that I will be moving in the next month to the area I’ve dreamed of living in for the last seven years. (Please review #3. This is the only writing time happening for a while since I’m packing.) The new place is on the water, beside my favorite running trail. Tranquil, safe, and beautiful are three words I would say best describe my new neighborhood, and I can’t wait to move!

6. I use an exercise ball as a desk chair half the time. It’s only half the time because my cats have a tendency to pop every exercise ball I acquire (the current tally is cats: 3, exercise ball: 1), and so I’ve been hiding this one in the tub of my guest bathroom with the door closed to prevent their access. This also means that I often sit down and start writing before I remember to grab the ball, and then I’m too immersed in what I’m doing to grab the darn thing. Sorry, abs.

7. I now consider myself a former theatre brat, Renaissance Faire girl, and circus freak. I acted a bit in my teens and first year of college, and hope to do it again one day (you know, when I have more time). I sold garlands at Renaissance Faire for seven years (I was there, but flighty, for my eighth and ninth years), which was fun and formative, but now I have a strong dislike for dusty, dry areas, as well as camping.  And the circus part—if you’ve been following me for a while, you’ve heard this fact. If not, you can read more about my circus life here.

All right, there are some random facts about me for you! Now, since Nathan was kind enough to nominate me for the Liebster Blog Award just a couple weeks ago, I recently nominated several blogs that I love to read and follow. The list often does not change as I follow these blogs because I think the writing is either informative, superb, or both, and for that reason, I would like to redirect you to my formerly posted list of blogs here. However, there is one blog that I’d like to add to the list, since her blog had already been nominated the last time around and thus I couldn’t renominate her. (Yes, I’m breaking all the rules in only technically nominating one person, but there you have it.)

That said, I nominate Katherine Checkley over at The Intrinsic Writer. Her blog boasts not only great writing but helpful writing posts, and I consider her a veritable fountain of clever writing information. She is also one of the first bloggers I ever started to follow!

I’d like to say thanks to Nathan again for the nomination. He’s running a fascinating blog with lots of good insight, and I’m enjoying following him through his writing journey.

And to my readers, I’d like to say thanks again for being a part of my journey. I look forward to reading your theme suggestions for Third Thursday Flash, and I hope everyone has a wonderful and restful weekend!


The Liebster Blog Award!

 

I’m delighted to have been nominated for another award by fellow blogger Nathan Payne! Nathan runs The Writer’s Codex, a site following his journey through the writing process. I enjoy Nathan’s blog because he manages to share his real feelings on the writing process (gut wrenching and all!), while also posting some helpful and thought-provoking info on the field. In addition, he posts impressively often (go Nathan go!). Nathan has been following my blog for a few weeks now, so I am flattered that he thought of me for the Liebster Blog Award. Thanks, Nathan!

Pursuant to the Liebster Blog Award rules, Nathan has provided eleven questions designed to “get to know me” outside of my blog. After I answer Nathan’s incredibly challenging questions (he even stressed he wanted his recipients to think hard—geez, Nathan! :)), I will be providing my eleven nominees with eleven new questions to answer.

First, the answers to Nathan’s questions:

1. What prompted you to start your blog?

A little over two years ago, I found my way back to writing. In the summer of 2011, I decided I was serious about doing what I’d said I wanted to do my entire life—be a writer. I set to work on a plan of action, booking a conference, writing regularly, and even getting an English credential (both because I wanted a change, and because I wanted my job to more closely align with my love of writing). Then in March, it was time to launch my website and blog. I was ready to share my writing journey with the world and to finally live my fantasy.

2. What is one life event/decision that you didn’t expect, but made your life what it is today?

I would say the terrible torn wrist cartilage of 2009. If I didn’t hurt my wrist, I wouldn’t have had some serious time to ponder my aerial antics (find out more here). That pondering led me to the reality check that I really wanted to write, and though I still practice for fun, massacring my wrists while performing would have destroyed any hope of writing. That was something I simply couldn’t do!

3. Do you have any regrets in life? If so, are you doing anything to resolve them?

I try to live a life without regrets. I fret about things excessively sometimes, but I believe that all the things that have happened in my life happened for a reason, even if they were horrific, traumatic, or hard. In some cases I would choose differently if I had the opportunity to go back again, but I think of that less as “regret” and more of “reliving with more life wisdom.” In addition, I would rather “regret” things I’d done than things I’d never even tried, which tends to nullify the concept of regret in my mind. 🙂

4. What specific tasks are you doing to achieve your goals right now?

My goals are to write often and more, and to work on getting published. To do this, I have been getting up extra early (hello, 5 a.m. alarm clock chime!) and putting in about 45 minutes every morning before I leave for work. I try to get more in at night, and have restructured my evenings a bit to make it happen. I’m also aiming to hone in on the plan to write and submit a short story every week—I haven’t gotten there quite yet, but I’m working on it!

5. What one thing do you wish people would remember you for after you’re gone?

My optimism and loyalty. I would do anything for most of my friends and I try to be everybody’s cheerleader! Finding the silver lining is extremely important to me, even if it takes some real searching.

6. What do you enjoy most in life?

Most? (Seriously, Nathan?) I enjoy life the most. Everything about it!

7. If you could make one decision that would change your life forever, what would that decision be?

To become a full-time writer. I’m not even close to there yet, but hey, a girl can dream.

8. What is it about books that draws you them?

The fantastic stories inside. The smell of paper. The black print on white (or cream or beige or tan) background. The way they look stacked up on my coffee table. But mostly, just the words and the stories contained within.

9. Describe your favorite movie in terms of what makes you love it so much.

My favorite movie has been Dangerous Beauty for about ten years. The movie is a biographical drama/romance starring Catherine McCormack and Rufus Sewell, directed by Marshall Herskovitz. It follows the life of an Italian courtesan who falls in love, and I’ve adored the movie since I first saw it. (I own it too, though one of my friends has it now and I don’t know which one. Grr!) The movie is filled with exquisite costumes and set pieces, and of course the sensual nature of the story is smashing too. Honestly, I’ve always liked movies about courtesans, and I’m not sure why. It’s a bizarre and lovely profession, all at the same time. Catherine McCormack is sensational in this role—if you haven’t seen it, I recommend it.

10. Think of a loved one, what one question do you want to ask that person?

Can you live forever, please?

11. What would it take for you to make friends with an old enemy?

I have made friends with many old enemies, some who were worthy, and some who sadly proved again that they were not. It depends on the circumstances, I suppose, but mostly it’s showing that he/she has a good heart.

**

Okay, now that I’ve answered all of Nathan’s heavy questions (!), it’s time to nominate eleven bloggers and give them my own questions. Poking around the internet, I’m finding most Liebster nominees had much easier questions, so I’ll provide my nominees with a mix of hard and easy. 🙂

The questions are:

1. What prompted you to set up a blog?

2. When did you discover you liked to write, and why?

3. What is your favorite writing setting? (Coffee shop, office, etc.)

4. What is your favorite time of day? Least favorite?

5. If you could have anything you wanted, at this moment, what would it be?

6. What is your guilty pleasure?

7. If you were trapped on an island with only three things, what would they be?

8. What is your favorite animal?

9. How would you describe yourself in five words or less?

10. You are offered $100,000,000, but you may never write again. Do you take the money? (Crazy question, I know!)

11. What is your favorite television show, and why?

Somehow I think my nominees will have a much easier go with their questions than I did with Nathan’s! 🙂 Now for the nominees, and I encourage you to seek all of them out. They are:

  • Jessica Vealitzek from True Stories – My favorite blog subscription! Realistic, heart-wrenching, fun, and definitely a great blog to read.
  • Rebecca Lane Beittel at Rebecca of Tomorrow – Her site is a mix of writing insight and maternal joys. Rebecca’s posts make me smile.
  • Anna Meade at Yearning for Wonderland – Whimsical and demonstrating a real gift with flash fiction, Anna’s posts make me think of fairies and butterflies. Unless she’s posting about her new Zombie Apocalypse fitness program, in which case I’m thinking of zombies and running.
  • Regina Swint at Write on Time – I met Regina on SheWrites and have considered her a mentor ever since. She’s thoughtful and kind, and you can hear these traits in every one of her blog posts.
  • Marylin Warner at Things I Want to Tell My Mother – I’m a new follower to this blog, but the concept is beautiful. Marylin focuses on the effects of Alzheimer’s on her mother’s memories and writes a journal to her mother in her honor. It is incredibly striking, and a real emotional journey that moves me through every post.
  • Mike Manz from The Blog (of Destiny) – Mike formerly ran a blog at http://lived-inlife.blogspot.com/ but left it behind to start a more story-focused site. I followed Mike then, and I’ll follow him now. Though I enjoyed his snappy posts, I’ve appreciated the stories I’ve found by him much more, so I’m excited to see where his new blog leads. Congratulations on the change, Mike! 🙂
  • Catrina Barton at Kitty’s Inner Thoughts – She’s fun. She’s peppy. She has intel. Check her out.
  • Daniel Swensen at Surly Muse – Daniel is a whippersnapper, and he can write, too. I enjoy his posts tremendously.
  • Angie Richmond at Write Me Happy – Angie has a good spirit and a warm blog. I like it here.
  • Angela Goff at Anonymous Legacy – I’ve been following Angela for a while on Twitter, but she posts some lovely fiction pieces on her blog. I’m sorry I didn’t start following her blog sooner than I did!

YES, I was supposed to choose eleven, but here are ten. Ten wonderful bloggers that I think truly deserve it and whose work I admire and enjoy! Be sure to check them all out. And once again, thank you to Nathan for the nomination!


Fabulous Blog Ribbon Award

I’ve just been honored with the Fabulous Blog Ribbon Award by Katherine Checkley!

Thanks, Katherine! 🙂

Katherine is the author of The Intrinsic Writer blog. Her posts are lively, informative, and inspirational. Every time I read them, I’m delighted with her style. Katherine’s blog is actually one of the very first blogs I started following because she had a ton of information on her site, so I encourage you to check her out!

Thank you so much, Katherine! I’m flattered you thought of me!

*Squeal!*

The Fabulous Blog Ribbon Award has five simple rules. They are:

1. Thank the blogger who gave it to you and share the link back to the awarding blog.

2. Name 5 fabulous moments in your life.

3. Name 5 things that you love.

4. Name 5 things you hate.

5. Pass the award to 5 deserving bloggers.

All right, here goes…

Five fabulous moments in my life:

  • The day my father figured out I was addicted to writing and finagled an old Mac from his coworker. Which I promptly sat in front of, every day that summer, at the tender age of 12. (I was never much of an outdoors girl.)
  • The day my mother took my hands into hers after I’d won a speech-writing contest at 17 and said, “Honey, I’m so proud of you. You do it all. Sing, dance, write, act—you’re like Madonna, but better. Keep it up!” (Ah, thanks mom!) (I should mention I was and still am a huge Madonna fan. 🙂 )
  • The first day of my teaching career. I was 23, the kids in my Geometry class were adorable, and after they left the room, I ran my fingers along the desks with a big beaming smile and thought, “Oh my goodness! I’m getting paid for this awesomeness!”
  • The day I passed my subtests (10 years later) to earn an additional credential in English. (I imagine the first day of this school year, when I’ll get to teach English too, will be a new moment to add to this list!)
  • Every time I’ve finished an edit of Kyresa, and in particular, this last one—there are tears, a celebration, a feeling like I’ve done something right, and then a rush of excitement for the next step! Woo hoo!

Five things I love:

  • My niece. (If you’ve followed this blog, you’ve probably guessed this one.) She is almost 5, and is also known as the Most Adorable Niecey On the Planet. A weekend with little Miss V trumps all!
  • Friend time. I adore my friends to pieces and would pretty much throw myself in front of a bus for most of them. I often joke I’m “everybody’s girlfriend” because I like to make them all laugh and help them out as much as I can. Can’t help it; it just is. XOXO to my pals.
  • My cats. No, I’m not a crazy cat lady, but I am pretty amused by the two of them. They think they’re dogs—one played fetch for two years and the other will smother you in love—and once I figured out they could open jars I decided they’re twice as much fun. I also love white tigers, leopards, panthers, and jaguars, but I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t house train so well. 😉
  • Working out. I’m kind of a fiend, except when I’m in big-time writing mode—then I struggle to stay on top of it. But golly I sure do love my gym time.
  • Candy. (Um, sort of the direct opposite of the last one, I know.) Candy is my nemesis, but I love it so. Gummies, Good N’ Plenty, and especially licorice are my favorites, and I can’t keep candy in my house because I cannot stop eating it. My dentist once told me I’m the poster child for teeth brushing, because I clearly feel so guilty over my habit that I brush all the time to compensate. I’ve toned it down a lot (not the brushing), but if you put candy in front of me, the rate at which it gets eaten will blow your mind. Sigh…

Five things I hate:

  • I hate the word “hate.” I hate the way it is used all the time, I hate that people feel it, and I hate that I still use the word too. I particularly “hate” when children tell their parents/teachers “You hate me, don’t you?” It takes so much energy to hate someone. I don’t have the time, and neither do you. Let’s hug and move along already, world!
  • The inability for people to directly say what they mean. I get the sense that we’re particularly bad about this here in America, where “I’ll call you” gets thrown out (for example) when it isn’t meant. I think we would be better off just being honest, because then rejection wouldn’t sting so bad, no matter what the case (dating, publishing, hangouts, etc.). I would rather hear, “Thanks for lunch. It was interesting spending time with you, but I don’t think we’re a match,” or “I really want to hang out, but I’m super busy right now,” instead of evasiveness or vagueness. Can you imagine what life would be like if we all said this stuff? I think we’d be confident people able to handle rejection by age eight! (Perhaps I’m dreaming, but this is my theory.)
  • Sleeplessness. As a teen, I didn’t sleep much. As an adult, I get by on 6 to 7 hours of sleep. So while those nights I stare at the ceiling may be residual from my teen years, they still drive me bonkers. (I am sure I’m not alone in this.)
  • Heavy amounts of garlic. I can actually smell it on me for days, and I usually dream of vampires (nope, not kidding) when I eat loads of garlic.
  • Inconsiderate drivers. A common phrase uttered in my car is, “They know they have turn signals, right?”

and finally…

Five deserving bloggers!

  • Jessica Vealitzek, who runs the True STORIES blog. I’ve nominated her for an award before, and I’ll nominate her one hundred times over. Her blog focuses on real stories, and they are anything from deep and painful to lighthearted and fun. Jessica is a fellow SheWrites member, and we’ve formed a kinship via email as new writers storming the path and plotting to take over the world. (Whoops. Did I say that out loud?) You are awesome, Jessica!
  • Anna Meade at Yearning for Wonderland. Let it be known, Anna is a fairy princess and a dark fairy, all rolled into one. She is probably the funniest person I follow on Twitter, and her blog posts are delightful—she posts a variety of musings as well as lovely flash fiction pieces. (Anna was also one of the co-hosts of the Once Upon a Time Flash Fiction contest I entered; if you’d like to read all the entries in a beautiful print anthology you can buy it here.) Her blog is also incredibly whimsical, and easy to get sucked into if you like pretty things, fairies, or fairy tales. 🙂
  • S.J.I. Holliday for her flash fiction-focused blog, http://sjiholliday.com/. Susi was the other co-host of the OUAT contest, and I’m pretty sure she and Anna were fairy twins separated at birth (follow them both on Twitter and you’ll belly laugh for hours). This wonderful lady writes some amazing flash fiction—that’s very short fiction—and great commentary on reading and writing in general. Let’s just say that thanks to her and Anna, I believe in fairy tales again. 🙂
  • Vanessa Grassi, who runs http://vanessagrassi.com/. Big heart, big thoughts, and a lot of good posts. Vanessa’s blog is currently on hiatus until the fall (she, too, felt the call of the writing, and had to pause to focus on it), but every time I read her posts I feel her enthusiasm soar off the page.
  • Melanie Conklin, a writer and designer at http://www.melanieconklin.com/. When I think of Melanie’s posts, the first thing that comes to mind is intelligence. She is a clever woman, and her posts about writing and the publishing world are quite thoughtful. Sometimes she relates the writing process to her design work, and I find the connection fascinating. I particularly enjoyed Melanie’s last post, What Agents Really Mean When They Say “We’re Not a Match”, because it’s so true! (If you’re a writer and you haven’t seen this piece, be sure to read it.)

I hope you have the opportunity to check out each of these wonderful blogs!

Thank you again to Katherine, and keep up the great writing and reading, everyone!


Kreativ Blogger Award

I have been nominated for the Kreativ Blogger Award!

Thank you so much to Rebecca Lane Beittel for nominating me. What an honor! Rebecca is a fellow SheWrites member as well as an author of YA Science Fiction and Fantasy. She is currently working on her second novel, Kingdoms of Blood & Magic. Can’t wait to see how it turns out, Rebecca!

The Kreativ Blogger Award has been winding its way around the blogger circuit for a while, as a way for all of us to share our appreciation of one another, as well as to get to know each other a little better. In addition, it’s a fun way for us to promote the great blogs we’re reading to our own followers.

The Kreativ Blogger Award rules state that I must thank my nominator and provide a link to his/her blog, list 7 things that readers might find interesting about me, and nominate 7 other bloggers.

So, here are 7 things about me that might intrigue you…

1. I wanted to be a doctor when I was a teen. Specifically, a neurosurgeon. I even interned at a hospital and sat in on a surgery! Ultimately, I decided that it would get in the way of writing, and that I didn’t want to be in school my whole life…which is somewhat ironic, considering my day job as a teacher puts me in school. For my whole life. 🙂

2. I have friends with names for almost every season. That’s right, I know a Winter, a Summer, and a Skye (she’s practically a Spring, since she has an incredibly refreshing personality). On the one occasion I got them all together, I threatened to call myself Autumn all night!

3. I use to be an aerial rope artist. I get asked about my circus days a bit, so this seemed a great opportunity to share. I started aerial acrobatics at 25 with a wonderful teacher, Rachel Stegman (she has since started a school in Arizona, and I still think she’s the best!). I’d spent the majority of my life behind a book and occasionally running, so when I started, I didn’t have any strength to work with…but eventually, I trained enough to start performing with Rachel and on my own. I also taught 3 to 7 year olds with her in a few summer camps. My focus was the rope (corde lisse is the official term), and I performed in some demos and cabaret-style shows in San Francisco before a wrist injury took me out of practice for about a year. After my recovery period I gave up performing, picked up other apparatuses, and decided to just practice once or twice a week for fun. This also gave me more time to write, so it turned out to be a very good thing!

4. I am obsessed with knee-high socks, leg warmers, high heels, undergarments, post-its, and nail polish. And by obsessed, I mean I have amassed an impressive collection of each. The knee-high socks get worn at home a lot. The leg warmers don’t get quite the circulation anymore since my circus training lessened. I’m always looking for an opportunity to wear heels, because I most certainly won’t wear them to teach. Undergarments are pretty self-explanatory. The post-its decorate my entire kitchen, car, and bathroom vanity with notes-to-self. As for nail polish—name a color and I’m probably wearing it. Really, it’s just all about options with me. 🙂

5. I taught myself to sew at 23. I had some sewing machine help from my mom, but having decided I needed to make a new costume for Renaissance Faire (yes, I worked that for about eight years, too), I set about on a mission to make my own patterns and create my dream costume. I figured I was a math teacher, after all, so the logical brain would pull it all together somehow. I ended up making three beautiful pieces—again, all about the options—and then made shirts, dresses, pants, costumes, baby clothes, underwear, bathing suits…I even considered started a design company.

6. I have seventeen cousins on my mother’s side alone. And this isn’t even counting step-cousins! My mom is one of eight children so I suppose this isn’t so surprising, but it always boggles my mind. As the oldest of all of them, I’ve watched the family grow and grow…and was delighted as I sat with the youngest cousin last year and we realized that we were twenty-five years apart. Oh my!

7. I feel cheated if I don’t have a pancake breakfast on the weekend. I love pancakes, and I also love making them for friends (this habit started in my teen years). At least one day of the weekend, I make blueberry banana pancakes with a big cappuccino and enjoy them before I do anything else. Sometimes I add bacon, and today I ate all three. 🙂 I love breakfast, and I particularly love pancakes!

Okay, enough about me. Here are 7 other bloggers that I’m following and whose work I deeply enjoy. Be sure to check them out:

1. Jessica Vealitzek’s True STORIES: Jessica’s blog is real, emotional, and also fun. She focuses on the encounters we have in real life, and her tales—as well as her voice—are deeply moving.

2. Vanessa Grassi: Vanessa’s blog follows her journey as she writes and moves into publishing. She is extremely thoughtful in her work and I love the way her heart shines through her writing.

3. theRibz* by Ribal Haj: Ribal writes series fiction, short stories, and poetry on his blog. Remember that phrase, “I love it so much I want to marry it”? That’s how I feel about his poetry pieces. I enjoy his longer works as well, but I’m touched by nearly every poem he posts.

4. Ashley Jillian: This gal has more sass and spunk than a leopard print leotard paired with sparkly sequined shoes. (Okay, terrible analogy, but you get the idea.) I’m still not entirely sure how I found her blog, but her humor is undeniable. She’s tearing up the internet world with her comedy and I love every piece.

5. Dr. Shay Fabbro: Author of Scifi and Fantasy: “Dr. Fab” is just that—completely fabulous. She is an author as well as a University Biology professor. Her posts are both caring and sassy, making her blog extremely fun to read. Her latest entry was titled “Building Webs is For Suckas,” so if that doesn’t give you an idea of how much fun you’ll have reading, I don’t know what will. 🙂

6. Kitty’s Inner Thoughts: Catrina Barton’s blog follows her as she “learns the ins and outs of writing, marketing, and publishing.” She’s shared some great finds in her posts, and has done extensive research on many interesting fantasy and SciFi topics.

7. My Lived-in Life: Mike Manz maintains a blog that I started following fairly recently—he also entered a piece in the Once Upon a Time Unexpected Fairy Tale contest—and so far I’m enjoying his positive thoughts. He is a Canadian author living in China, and his blog is both honest and reflective.

So, there you have it folks! 7 random facts, and 7 entertaining blogs for you to investigate. Thank you again to Rebecca, and of course, to my fabulous readers!


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