Friday, December 19, 2014

Deja Vu Blogfest

I'm participating in DL Hammons Deja Vu Blogfest today.  The idea is to repost a favorite older post from this year that you feel didn't get quite the viewing you'd hoped for.

I thought, hey, "that will be easy," then I started looking at my old posts.  Yikes, what a decision.  Not that they were so amazing I thought they all needed reposting, I wish.  I was a little underwhelmed and I wasn't sure any of them actually deserved being reborn.  Finally, I found one.  It's short and sweet and I thought it exemplified a kind of Christmas-time spirit, so here goes:

From October 17 2014,

No Powers Necessary

Yesterday, I was talking with my 10 year old son about my YA Fantasy novel (in editing phase) as I drove him to his guitar lesson.  He’s an avid reader of YA books so I respect his literary opinion. I explained some of the problems I was having with it.  First, he told me that a few of my ideas were a little too cliche so I might want to change it up a bit. Then he went on to give me his input on the weaponry my characters should be using, one of his favorite aspects of any story.

After a while he thoughtfully added, “Your main characters shouldn’t have magical powers.”

“Why?” I asked, sneaking a glance at him in the back seat.

“Because they shouldn’t have to use magic to be special and save the world.  Anyone can do it.  Everyone is special just by being themselves.”

Wow, I thought, and mentally prayed that he would always be himself.

Hope you enjoyed my Deja Vu post and I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season!

Kathy :)

Show the world how special you are by being yourself!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

20 Years of Bliss

If you've been a follower for a while you know I love nothing more than to go on family adventures.  It doesn't have to be to some exotic location, we've had a wonderful time exploring places like Gulf Shores, Alabama and Mystic, Connecticut.

But the best adventure of my life, began twenty years ago today.  That was the day, in a small town in Michigan, in the middle of the ice rink where we met, that my husband and I said, "I do."

Standing at center ice, in front of our friends and family, we knew we were embarking on a wonderful and crazy journey.  We had no idea where it would take us, or the bumps in the road we would encounter, but we knew that traveling the road together was the only thing that mattered.

Twenty years has passed so quickly.

We've done so many crazy things together, like raising three crazy, wonderful kids, white water rafting down the Ganges River, biking down Mt. Haleakala at sunrise, driving to Alaska with our kids, and moving countless times back and forth across the country, but even the little moments like going grocery shopping together, hanging out at the coffee shop, or sitting on the couch cheering for our favorite teams are just as special.  It's the time spent together, talking, laughing, crying, exploring, no matter where we are, that has made me love him even more today than twenty years ago.

I'm so blessed to still be on this adventure of a lifetime.  I wonder what other roads this journey will take us on.

Kathy :)

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Evolution of Language

I'm a native English speaker...or at least I was.  It seems that the English language has evolved without me.  I don't know what happened.  I never thought I was going to be one of those old people who didn't understand new slang.  In college, I even helped my linguistics professor compile a slang dictionary!

But it has happened.

I  have two teenagers and a ten year old, so I thought I was keeping up and pretty hip on today's language.  Not even close!  Through almost constant texting and instant messaging teen language evolves so quickly that I feel like a foreigner when I listen to my kids talking to one another.  And the "olden times" sayings that I use produce blank stares from my kids asking for translation.

Here are just a few of the words my kids have said in the last month or so that stumped me:

Jays/(z)- Jordans -I'm assuming the shoe
Bae- an acronym for Before Anyone Else, I thought it was just short for baby
Bruh- what?  like when someone does something stupid or weird
Yeet- form of expression like yeah, but used when really excited
On point or OP- perfection ex: "Your outfit is on point!"  (for gamers, my son informed me, OP means over powered)
mod- minecraft stuff which is a whole other language that I don't get
hella- Hell of a
turnt- party up or yeah, accompanied by hands in the air (like "let's get in the partying mood!")
turn up- similar to turnt
TBT- Throwback Thursday usually to have an excuse to post a weird picture from the good ol' days
tbh- to be honest
YOLO- You only live once (I did figure this one out, but I've never used it)
TT- Transfromation Tuesday similar to TBT

Our kids have even made up their own words used within our family:

Sloth- a creepy person
Ladyboogles- lady bugs that scare our beagle
Bdonkers- thank you
Ridonkulonx- ridiculous
Deeeeeee- said when something super cute is around
Maomaoer- an imaginary treat "thrown" from oldest daughter to son to get him to do stuff
Bobfobis- what my kids call me though sometimes it's Piggymom or Momservant

Nicknames my girls call my son (he actually loves these so don't feel bad for him):

Chubtin (not sure why cause he's super skinny)
Pig Brother
Bean Brain

Nicknames for our chubby beagle Rory:

Flopperoogleboogle- he does have huge floppy ears

Said to our dog when he's bad:

Good boogles don't bite, and you bit, so you not a good boogle, and if you not a good boogle, then there's only one thing left to be, a bad boogle so that's what you are a Bad Boogle!!!  Oh but you can also be good sometimes! (then they give him a hug and kiss!)

Even these words tend to evolve weekly into newer words and my husband and I are left trying to keep up!

So "keep your ears peeled" (something my grandpa used to say) and listen to all that teen speech or someday all us old folks will be left needing a translator to talk to our grandkids!

I'd love to hear any new slang you've heard, or "olden times speech" that no one understands anymore.

Have a great weekend!  Time to get hella turnt!

Kathy :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond

Wow, I'm gone for a few weeks and so much has happened!  The biggest, of course, is the publication of the IWSG's new book, The IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond, which I'm proud to say I had a tiny part in as a contributing author.  I want to thank Alex J. Cavanaugh and all the wonderful people who spent hours editing and formatting it and all the other IWSG contributing authors who made this possible!  What a wonderful collaboration.  I'm so happy to be a part of it!

The Insecure Writer's Support Group Guide to Publishing and Beyond

ISBN 9781939844088
235 pages, FREE

Get your copy here!

Barnes & Noble

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  We had a fabulous time with our family.  Thanksgiving is the one holiday each year when we can all get together.  This year it went way too fast!

Then we headed up to Ann Arbor, Michigan for my daughters to compete in a synchronized skating competition where they took 3rd!
Now we're looking forward to a nice, quiet but hopefully snowy Christmas and the new year already!

Oh, and I took my girls to see Mockingjay which was awesome!!

What have you been up to lately?
Hope the rest of your week is great!!

Kathy :)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Author Visits Part II

Author Visits Part II- Put Yourself Out There!

A couple weeks ago I mentioned that my daughter, Jess, was invited to my son's elementary school to give a talk about writing and her book, From the Ashes.  Because it was her first time doing something like this, I asked you guys for some advice and tips that had worked for you.

Jess, Alyss, and Ryan at Writing Day
Jess who is only 18, was anxious about the whole thing and thought she wouldn't know what to say. Using some of the great ideas you guys shared,  I helped her plan out a presentation.  She also got permission to have her sister Alyssa, 16, come along and be her helper (aka moral support).  

From your comments, we decided it was best to involve the kids as much as possible in the talk.  Jess decided her main topic would be character development and she would walk the kids through creating their own characters.  She made a worksheet for them where they could fill in character traits like hair color, skin color, birthplace, etc.

Jess and Alyssa stayed up late together the night before, working out all the little details of the speech including jokes and gestures that they would use to liven it up.  They were going to have to give the presentation 5 times to different groups of 20-30 kids from 4th-6th grade and it was supposed to last 30 minutes.  We timed them.  It was only 8 minutes of actual rehearsed material, the rest would have to be them winging it.  

Last Friday, was the big day.  Jess was so nervous that day she actually puked before we left for the school.  I wished I could have stayed to watch them, but I left and hoped for the best!

Turns out they had a great time and so did the kids.  It was amazing to hear what the kids came up with for character traits.  One had a translucent mullet hair-do, one was born on a rainbow, and one had E.T and Chuck Norris as parents.

The teacher who invited Jess, told me when I picked them up that the kids loved their presentation more than any of the other speakers.

Over the weekend, Alyssa was walking around our little town square and a girl approached her and said, "Hey you were one of the girls that spoke yesterday, right?  I loved you and your sister's presentation.  All the other speakers were stupid and yours was actually fun!" (I love how blunt kids are!).  Then Jess's old English teacher texted her saying that she tutors a girl who went to Jess's presentation and she was so inspired and excited by what she had said!    

All in all it was a wonderful experience for everyone.  So even if you're shy don't hesitate to put yourself out there and speak at a school about writing, but make sure you have an activity that the kids can participate in to show off their own creativity and it will be a big success!  

Thanks so much to all of you who gave us suggestions!

Have a great weekend!

Kathy :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


Well it's already time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post.  The IWSG was created by Alex J Cavanaugh and is co-hosted by many other awesome blogger buddies.  It's a place where we can tell our hopes and fears about writing and offer encouragement to others.  

I feel pretty good this month, mostly because I love this time of year.  I love the colors and nothing is better than having my whole family to our house for Thanksgiving.

One thing I've been struggling with recently is focusing on a single project.  I have a number of things I'm working on.  I'm rewriting my fantasy novel, working on an article, and developing ideas for a chick-lit book.

Carving out time to write is difficult enough but when I'm splitting that time amongst different manuscripts it seems impossible to finish any of them.  I know I should probably focus on one thing at a time, but some days I'm drawn away by some phantom force pulling me in another direction.  

If you have any tips on how to stay focused on one project at a time, feel free to tell me.  In the mean time, I'll be working my way through three manuscripts hoping to finish at least one of them by next year!

Kathy :)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Contrast Creating Tension

I'm reading Bram Stoker's Dracula for the first time, for a Cousera class called, Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World.  (The class is excellent and  totally free!  I'd recommend it to everyone who wants to learn how science fiction works.)

Dracula isn't the kind of book I'd ever pick up on my own.  I really don't care for the extra spooky, creepy or bloody genres, but I'm thoroughly enjoying taking this novel apart to see how it works and it's neat to read around Halloween.

As I read, I'm realizing that a lot of the tension in the story comes from contrasting elements. When the MC, Jonathan Harker first meets Count Dracula at his castle, he senses an eeriness but the Count provides him with a sumptuous meal and is a friendly and welcoming host.  Jonathan continues to discover strange things but upon face to face interactions the Count is always pleasant and intelligent.

At one point early in the story, the Count startles him while shaving and the Count's eyes have a demoniac fury when he sees Jonathan's blood and reaches out to grab him. But his hand brushes Jonathan's cross and the fury disappears.  Jonathan wonders what kind of demon his host is, what he is hiding, and fears he won't leave the Count's castle alive.  Yet after each frightening incident, he interacts with the Count who assumes a noble friendly air and asks Mr. Harker knowledgable questions on the law as if there was nothing strange occurring.  

There is also the contrast of night and day which mirrors the two sides of the Count.  During the day the Jonathan feels renewed and safe, at night he is afraid and vulnerable.  These contrasts between Jonathan fearing for his life and risking his life for freedom and between the friendly noble Count and the monstrous Count and never knowing which Count is present, the demonic or the noble are what help to create enormous tension in this story.

I'm not yet finished with the book, but I'm excited to learn more about it and hopefully be able to use some of Stoker's tricks for creating tension and suspense in my own writing.

Have you read Dracula? What did you think of it? What tips have you learned from reading the classics?

Kathy :)