Tag Archives: other authors

A Special Midway Post: My #DFQWBS Entry in Honor of Anna Meade

While my next post isn’t actually scheduled for another week, I just had to make a special midway post in honor of the lovely and amazing Anna Meade!

Who is Anna Meade, you ask?

*Scoff!*

Well, you may remember that a while back, I entered the Once Upon a Time: Unexpected Fairy Tales blog flash fiction challenge. That brilliant idea was launched by one Miss Anna Meade at Yearning for Wonderland, and her writer pal, Susi Holliday. These two darlings decided they loved everyone’s entries so much, they would throw us all into a beautiful book of unusual flash fairy tales available on Amazon.

So basically, Anna was one half of a pair who made a whole bunch of us very happy published people!

Then, as if that wasn’t enough, Anna managed to take over Facebook and the Twitterverse with her amazing social networking and promotion skills. She is a superstar at marketing others to the world, even building Nine Muse Press to support underrepresented authors, and all of this has come to make many of us feel extremely loved in about a million different ways. And here’s the fun part: we’re all over the world, and not a darn one of us has met her! Clearly, she’s got a heart the size of Texas!

Which leads me to the great news—Miss Anna is getting married in a little over a month (congratulations!), and to celebrate, Rebekah Postupak, Laura Jamez, and Miranda Kate decided to join forces and create the Dark Fairy Queen Writerly Bridal Shower: a flash fiction collection of wedding-themed stories in honor of Anna—also known as the Dark Fairy Queen—and her upcoming nuptials!

How cool is that?

In case I was unclear in anything above, I love Anna. She’s just my kind of funny, she sings, she calls me out on Twitter to go for a run (um…I’m not sure why this delights me, but it does), and she even featured my writing space on her blog with A Room of My Own. I also think she wants to steal my eldest cat, which leads right back to that whole Dark Fairy Queen business…

Anyway, I couldn’t very well not write something in honor of Anna, so the following is my mushy fantasy tale to add to the #DFQWBS collection. Did I mention seriously mushy? Because it totally is. Oh, and I should probably also mention that there was some commotion over Anna’s beautiful wedding shoes making her taller than her hubby… 😉

Hurray for Anna and Michael!

*****************************

Title: Love’s Truth

Author: Eva Rieder

Include in eBook: YES

Website: http://evarieder.com

Twitter: @evariederauthor

(Toast below.)

700 words

*****************************

Deep in the forest that lined the sea, they’d gathered to witness something beautiful.

From the east and the north came the Elven and Troll Kings, their alliance forged at the news of the betrothal, and their hollering clans hoisting their swords in honor of the bride-to-be. From the south came the Nymphs, who donned lavender and tulip-lined silk that rustled in the warm, sea-kissed breeze. On the rocks along the distant western shore, the Sirens’ song drew the Unicorns. They scratched their hooves and brought up the back of the crowd, uniting the circle that formed beneath the canopy of trees.

While all of these creatures had grown to love the bride, they watched the fellow, Michael, who waited for her at the altar—for it seemed to them that no human man could tame the mischievous beauty known as their Dark Faerie Queen.

A horn sounded, pulling the creatures from their thoughts and their eyes to the back.

The Dark Faerie Queen blushed, clutching a bundle of white roses to her chest. Her amber hair fell in waves around her face as she padded forward, and doves swept down from the trees to scoop up her beaded train and follow her to Michael’s side. There, the altar griffin licked regally at his front talons and rolled his gaze from the Queen to her handsome, yet shorter, lover.

“We are gathered to witness the most unusual of bonds ever known to the Fae, for the Dark Queen has chosen a human for her mate,” he purred.

Anna smiled. Most could see her sharp incisors peeking from behind her lips, but it was uncertain if the human Michael could detect them.

With a shake of his head, the griffin splayed his paws. “Are there any naysayers before we begin?”

“Aye!” Out from the trees slithered the Dragon Princess, the heiress of a dynasty stripped of power once the Dark Faerie took her throne.

“Oh dear,” Anna muttered.

The Princess curled around the Unicorns’ hooves with a flick of her tongue. “How do we know the Dark Queen hasn’t won the human with her Fae spell?”

Everyone gasped, for in the old tradition, if the love of a Queen and her mate wasn’t true, all rights would revert to lesser royalty—and in this case, the savage Dragon Princess.

The griffin tapped a talon against his chin. “What say you, Queen?”

Anna shifted back and forth in her wedding shoes, then frowned down into her lover’s face (for her Faerie Queen stature made her an inch taller than he). But when she began to protest, he interrupted.

“You’ve not a thing to worry about, darling, you or any of your kingdom, for I adore your darkness,” he said, his voice resounding over the creatures and beyond. He faced the Dragon Princess. “You, on the other hand…such a scaly, jealous thing.” He pointed, a ray of crystal shooting from his fingertip and forming a cell around the beast. It glittered bright enough for everyone to see, and clamped shut when Michael released a loud wail—a sound remarkably similar to that of a Faerie King.

The Dragon Princess recoiled. “You’re a Faerie!

At this point, Anna stared at her mate in great surprise. She realized for the first time that her lover was indeed much taller than her, and his eyes seemed to shimmer with the same light she’d seen in her kind. “Michael?”

He nodded. “I, too, am Fae royalty, a King from an alternate line. I sought you, Faerie Queen, for none in my realm are as exquisitely dark as you.”

The creatures of the woods gasped, then sighed.

The Dragon Princess rolled her eyes, and the griffin gave a loud chortle and flapped his wings.

King Michael drew up Anna’s hands and kissed them. “Can you love me even if I’m not human, my Queen?”

She tilted her head, the last of the sun’s rays glinting off her cascading hair. “Sweet Michael, even more.” She snuggled close. “Now we can be the Dark Faerie Couple!”

“Hurray!” the onlookers cried.

And thus the griffin commenced, wedding the Faerie Queen to her Faerie King to rule the darkness for all time.

*****************************

Wedding Toast: Dearest Anna and Michael—may you find great happiness and ever more love in your fairy tale! XO-Eva

Read other great stories here:



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Life…The Hamster Wheel

I consider myself a runner. I think this because I conquer a few miles three days a week for both fun and fitness. For me, it’s a time to enjoy being active, to breathe fresh air, and to meditate while burning off calories. It’s also a great time to come up with story ideas. Bonus!

However, while my usual run is along a winding trail, my life is more akin to running on a hamster wheel. Kind of like this.

Today, for example, I opted to cram in a run after cleaning my house, then went straight to the store to buy the fixings to make 15 bean turkey chili for my step-dad’s birthday tomorrow. It’s a simple recipe, but one I’m excited to make for him. However, the beans needed to soak overnight, which is why I thought I’d hit the store now.

Except Safeway didn’t have any bags of 15 bean soup mix. Odd.

I grabbed some other things, then ran over to Trader Joe’s. There I picked up other items for my house and the chili, and went hunting for their 17 bean barley soup mix.

“We don’t carry that anymore,” the grocery attendant said.

Um, what?

So then I ran over to Lucky’s, which fortunately had bean soup mix. Only two bags—no more, no less—which thankfully was all that I needed.

While still pondering the absence of beans in the world (I mean, it’s a bag of beans, one of the oldest staples known to man), I got home, unloaded my groceries, and looked at the clock. The following is where my brain went:

8 p.m. Way overdue for my blog post. Dinner is not made. Groceries are scattered in bags on the floor. Must soak beans. Cats need to be fed. Dear gawd, I still haven’t showered since my run. Yuck. Um, wait, did I ever move that laundry over?

And then:

Oh crap. I forgot the ground turkey!

All of this, a typical evening in the life of me, and not surprisingly, most people.

So tonight I wanted to take a minute to honor those who run this hamster wheel called life, somehow managing to swing it all while still writing. I heard some statistic that 90% of writers have day jobs, and while I’m running over here on my wheel, doing the usual wake-up/feed cats/cook/write/work/run/grade/write/cook/consider doing dishes/throw hands up in air/feed cats again/ponder the existence of people who actually sleep enough/pass out/repeat, I have to wonder how we all do it. And often when I think this, I am baffled at the realization that I don’t even have kids and I’m still running on this hamster wheel trying to get it all done. Kudos to those of you who balance work, writing, and a family—like you, Jessica Vealitzek, and Rebecca Lane Beittel, and a dozen other people. It’s mind-boggling, and sort of amazing, really.

But it forms an interesting question: how do we do it? Specifically—

How do you find the balance? How do you “fit” the multiple life and writing goals you have into your day without falling off the hamster wheel?

I’m sure I’m not the only one to wonder such a thing, so please share your thoughts below!

As for me, I feel like I’m still working on that balance. Always running, always spinning, always…

Oh dear. It appears I just burned a pan cooking dinner (and blogging at the same time).

*Sigh.*


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!


Why Aren’t I Doing NaNoWriMo?

It’s November—the month of writing mayhem! 🙂

If you’re a writer, you are well aware of NaNoWriMo. For those who aren’t familar, NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month, which rolls around every November. It’s a time when many writers take on the challenge of crafting 50,000 words of a novel (broken up over 30 days, that’s an average of about 1,667 words per day). For experienced and new writers alike, this month is a popular one to dive into the challenge—and to help keep authors motivated and on task, the NaNoWriMo website hosts special day challenges, word counts, forums, and lots of support. In many ways, it’s a great banding together of the writing world.

So as many writer friends (and non-writer friends alike) have asked, why aren’t I doing it?

For the last two years, I’ve intended to participate in NaNo. While 50,000 words is only the start of a novel, I liked the idea of a camaraderie with other writers involved. Writing is a completely independent art—which is why we often encourage one another to attend conferences and workshops, or to start critique groups so that we don’t disappear in the confines of our offices and forget to share our work with one another. With this collaborative spirit in mind, it seems I should have signed right up.

Last year, I was heavy in the throes of finishing my first real novel, Kyresa. I toyed with the idea of stopping to create something new during NaNo, but doing so would have stalled my momentum on a book that had to finally be finished. I’m glad I held firm on that.

This year, I considered the idea again—especially because this time, one of my closest friends (a romance writer) decided to go for it. Cheering each other on like we did in high school sounded superb.

But again I had to pause and take a deep breath while I thought about the possibility. As I’ve mentioned on this blog before, I just started my new gig as an English teacher—which I’m loving—but it’s still taking some adjusting (read: paper grading) as I try to also maintain my writing life. In addition, I’m still in that unpacking stage of my recent move (read: curtain rods remain on the floor!).

And of course, there was the bigger issue: I promised myself after my July writing conference that I would take some time to craft shorts and finish editing another piece until the month of February. I made this decision with the goal of learning how to start and finish, over and over, so that I would never drag a novel out like I did with my first one again. Thus, February has long been set in my head as the month I intend to start my next full-length piece. 

I am a woman of strong conviction once I make up my mind, but until then I’m as indecisive as they come. So I wavered back and forth on this, between the lure of the “team,” the best friend, and even multiple blogger pals getting involved…plus those nifty word counters sure are fun…

And then I put my foot down. My enthusiasm over building a collection of shorts is high, and some small semblance of sleep is important to me in this adjustment period to my new house and job. So…no NaNoWriMo for me, and I’m okay with it!

Instead, I’m opting to stand on the sidelines and cheer all my fellow NaNo writer pals on. I’ve been the biggest cheerleader for those I support for as long as I can remember (which is funny, since I never was a real cheerleader), and there’s no reason I can’t do that for all of my NaNo-ing peeps. Go team! While all of you are working away at creating the awesome 50,000 words you’re aiming for this month, I’ll still be writing alongside you. I’m not counting my words, and I’m not building a novel just yet, but I’m excited for every one of you. I’ve got pom-poms in the air, foot kicked high, and pigtails swinging in the breeze. Ra-ra. Yay-you. Goooooooo Team Writers!

Keep up the good work, everyone! Can’t wait to hear about your NaNoWriMo progress. 🙂


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! 🙂


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!


Process, Self-Doubt, and…a Published Piece!

It’s been another solid week of editing…however, this week proved a bit more challenging for a handful of reasons. The first noticeable obstacle was the three-trip adventure to the mechanic for my mysteriously overheating car—sadly, this resulted in a loss of a lot of editing time, and also no verdict on the car (hmph). It also led to a bit of meandering around on foot and thinking, which then rushed me right into the monster obstacle of the week: a giant case of randomly and inconveniently induced self-doubt.

Generally I’m a pretty confident and ambitious person. I mean, it was only 8,000,000* changes, and my years performing circus led me to believe that I’m part Superwoman, so really, how hard could this be?

Ha.

I was editing, then I was up, then I was editing, then I was off in la-la land, then I was editing, and…well, you get the picture. Sure, I suppose I could attribute some of it to my self-diagnosed adult A.D.D., but as I stewed and fretted and wondered “Really, really, can I ever truly finish this book?”, I started thinking maybe it wasn’t the five-year-old trapped in my head after all.

I read some good blogs on getting motivated, and a great post on Letting it Go that I bookmarked and kept referencing (you should too). I had lunch with my talented author and graphic novelist friend MariNaomi, who handed me Stephen King’s On Writing (she’s also the third person to recommend this book to me). I made a deal with myself that I would definitely peruse this memoir right after I entered the 8,000,000* changes in my book but before I gave it a last touch-up read, since I might actually learn something helpful from Mr. King. And then when all that still didn’t seem to make me any calmer, I busted out my Kaiser medical handbook and learned how to belly breathe.

Sadly, all good monster stories tend to contain the really scary moment when the beast goes haywire. And that moment happened. Hard.

I happened to be on the phone with my cousin. I don’t usually like to refer to her as my cousin; she is more of a best friend than a relative, and she is also one of my treasured beta-readers/editors. She’s sassy and smart, and despite our familial connection, she can critically (but kindly) tear apart most any text I throw in front of her. We keep telling her husband that the two of us are going to quit our jobs so he can support us while I write in their basement and she edits for me full-time, but alas, he seems a little slow on follow-through…

All of this aside, the darling dear had something I really needed at that moment: patience and a good ear. I told her my frustrations—because “life” happened, I shelved this book so many times and for such long intervals (read: years) that my first novel had now been with me for the better part of two decades [belly breathe], and I have so many great ideas bouncing around and waiting for me to hurry up and finish that it was distracting and frustrating me [belly breathe], though of course I love the book I’ve been carrying around for more than half my life, but would I ever stop finding things to change on it [belly breathe!], because it simply feels so drastically different from the style I’ve been writing on the side for the last ten years, and how would that ever work? [BELLY BREATHE!]…Wah wah wah, cue violins, play a sad song, and then I dropped to the floor to belly breathe again.

After my cousin ascertained that I was indeed alive and breathing like a normal person, she said, in the wisest and calmest of voices, “Eva, you’re doing fine. It’s your first novel. Of course it’s going to be the hardest. So finish this edit, get it out there to some agents, and then feel good about it no matter what. You owe it to yourself to finish and move on.”

Before I knew it, I was on my feet with that last little sentence on a post-it hanging on my mirror (no I’m not kidding). I was ready to go full-tilt and finish this little baby.

And honestly, I realized the end is not so far away. In fact, here’s a pretty little visual for how many of the 8,000,000* changes I’ve entered:

So close!

I cooed to my cousin for about ten straight minutes with lots of thanks and a threat to send her cookies in the mail, and then I pulled out more pages to enter. Before I started, I checked my email and got the real kick in the pants to cheer up and get to work:

The wonderful anthology that Susi Holliday had worked and slaved over from April’s Once Upon a Time Flash Fiction Contest was in print and ready to order!!! I mean, could I get any more inspiration than that?!

So, in summary, I think I need to spout a few great lessons I learned here.

1. Surround yourself with good people.

2. Listen to the wise words of your cousin/friend.

3. Belly breathe. Often.

4. Don’t let the Self-Doubt Beast win when it comes to writing. So the book takes forever, and maybe it doesn’t get published, but you’ll never know if you don’t try. And if it doesn’t work, okay, move along. In fact,

5. “You owe it to yourself to finish it and move on.”

6. And finally, always celebrate good things—like, for example, my first ever published piece. Yippee!

If you would like your very own copy of this fantastic anthology, you can hop on over to Amazon to order it here: Once Upon a Time: A Collection of Unexpected Fairytales. Edited by S.J.I. Holliday and Anna Meade, this anthology contains 89 tales by brilliant authors on the theme of “Unexpected Fairytales,” and it’s only $3.70 plus shipping. The proceeds beyond production costs even go to charity!

So, I’m off to edit now, with a big smile on my face and no belly breathing necessary. And thanks to all of YOU for going on this journey with me. 🙂

*Special Note: A week later, I am still fessing up to my tendency to exaggerate, often with the number 8. But shhh, don’t tell, or I’ll have to pick another number. 😉


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!


Review of THE HUNGER GAMES, by Suzanne Collins

First take: WOW.

Second take: Thank god I borrowed the next book from my friend so I can start it tonight!

I read about The Hunger Games in Entertainment Weekly about nine months ago and found the concept incredibly intriguing. Kids fighting to the death on demand of a Capitol entity, as a punishment for the people’s rebellion? What an insanely unique idea for a novel!

Over the summer I vacationed to Aruba; on the plane, a young man of about twenty sat beside me reading the third book in the series, Mockingjay. He barely acknowledged his soda and peanuts as he pored over the book, eventually lowering it to his tray table with a big sigh.

“What did you think?” his girlfriend asked.

“It was incredible,” he breathed.

He then proceeded to go on and on about the book to the point where I finally said, “Um, hey, some of us still haven’t read it. Can you maybe not give away the whole story just yet?” We had a good laugh, and he informed me that he’d been reading the series nonstop over the last few days and simply couldn’t put it down. 

I proudly purchased my copy just after I returned home. Sadly, I got distracted working on Kyresa (okay, that’s not such a sad thing), the school year started, and various other bouts of drama abounded—but I swore I would read that darn book before the movie came out if it killed me. Well, I finished it, and you know what? The kid was right.

From the first page, I refused to put this book down. Narrated by sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, a girl in the poorest District who volunteers in place of her twelve-year-old sister, Hunger Games contains a carefully blended scene of both science fiction and fantasy. Gone is the world we know, replaced instead by a cruel Capitol bent on punishing the people for their past defiance. Katniss is a skilled huntress who has spent her life unintentionally preparing for the Games, by providing for her family since her father’s death. Headstrong, clever, and hosting a keen understanding of the natural world around her, Katniss is a phenomenal teenage heroine. She bravely enters the Gamemakers’ world, hoping to survive the brutality that has reminded the world of their place under the Capitol in a manner vaguely reminiscent of George Orwell’s 1984. Once in the arena, Katniss fights against a collection of terrifying opponents, both human forces and natural elements alike. Meanwhile, she also struggles against an acquaintance from home, the questionable Peeta, with whom she learns a bit about herself as well as her transforming emotions throughout the course of the Games.

Though the book is geared toward a younger audience, any adult can enjoy this book (I personally know of four who can’t stop raving about it). The reading is smooth and intriguing, with rich and engaging characters whose complicated flaws and endearing traits wrap you up in concern as you follow their journey. Even the dangerous, bully teens who seek to snuff the lives of those around them are characters you can’t help but feel sorrow for, as their morals are caught in the Capitol’s inhumane rules and expectations. I had a few flashes back to Connell’s “The Most Dangerous Game” as well as Golding’s Lord of the Flies as I read, though, I have to admit, I took far more pleasure in this read—and I’m a pretty big fan of the aforementioned pieces.

At the gym today, a gentleman asked me how I could move so fast on the elliptical machine while still reading [and clutching] a book. My response?

“Because this book is amazing! You should read it too!”

I’m so excited to read the next book of the series that I’m afraid it’s now time to sign off and read!

(Be sure to check out Suzanne Collins’s website: http://www.suzannecollinsbooks.com/index.htm for more information on the trilogy.)


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