Thursday, September 11, 2014

Funny Friday Photos: The Lifecycle of a Wookie and a Little Music

Yay! It's Friday!

Being gone all last weekend was like not having a break at all, so I'm very ready for the next few days! I haven't had a chance to write on book two all week, so I'm hoping to make up for it this weekend.

I've begun doing my Mindfulness groups at school and the classes from last year still ask me to see the cookie monster/Tom Hiddleston video. On their own. For the first time a Kindergarten girl recognized "Loki" before any of the other students. Usually it's the boys. My heart swelled with nerd-girl pride.

I realized this week how my knowledge of Marvel movies has frequently helped me out when I'm needing to establish a connection with tough kids, or when I need to make a reference most students would understand. It's our common language!

Of course, I use the Croods to explain the parts of the brain, so maybe it's just kid movies in general.

Last week's funniest photo was:

Here's some new ones! I hope you like them!


I read that last "anything" in a creepy, Mabel from Gravity Falls whisper.

It's just sad.

The likeness is uncanny.

The life-cycle of a Wookie.

My expression when cake is offered.


I've been on a Neil Diamond listening binge for about a month, so I couldn't resist the pun. Below is a video of a 1971 concert at the BBC. The first song is Sweet Caroline, which is where the pun comes from. At 7 min. 51 sec. is one of my all time favorite songs, Cracklin' Rosie.

And because I just love it, here is the song "Forever in Bluejeans." His voice at the chorus is sensual - not only can you hear it, but the timbre is so low you can feel it. At least I can... Am I sounding totally weird now? Sorry... I'll shut up. 

I blame my mother for my Neil Diamond obsession. She loved him, and so I grew up listening to his music. I remember being seven-ish years old and stealing her cassette tapes of him (and Pink Floyd and the Moody Blues - my father's influence) so I could listen to them in my room. Neil Diamond is one of the greats, as far as I'm concerned.

My favorite photo is the overly-friendly cat. I don't know where its ears went. I didn't know cats could lay their ears that flat when they weren't mad.

Which is your favorite photo?
What music did you grow up listening to?

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

For the Writers: A Self-Pubber Goes to a Writer's Conference

The last time I went to a writer's conference, I traveled the traditional publication track, pitching my story in hopes of  finding an agent or editor.  I probably smelled of Twilight Woods body soap and desperation.

Then I self-published, experienced some nastiness and/or insensitivity from non-self-published writers, and decided I was going to gain some distance from the traditional publishing world. This included not going to writer's conferences, because a lot of the focus is on pitch appointments, so why bother, right?

Time passed, and I toughened up in regards to other's perceptions of self-publishing (and, I suppose, other's perceptions of how successful -or not- Finding Meara is.) The time for the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writer's Gold Conference came around, and it had some wonderful workshops listed, plus I could meet some of my online writer friends. I decided to go, and I'm really glad I did.
Two of the nicest people at the conference:
Jamie Raintree and Alyson Walker
I have never met so many nice writers in one place. In fact, getting to meet online writer-friends in person, and having them (especially Jamie Raintree) be so kind and welcoming was absolutely the best part of the conference. Everyone I sat next to or talked to were open and friendly. The atmosphere was relaxed and generally happy. There were other self-published authors there, but considering how many writers attended the conference, we were few in number.

There were workshops dedicated to self-publishing issues, but they were rudimentary and I chose instead to attend intermediate crafting workshops. I made good choices, because I learned something in all the workshops except one. I finally understand metaphor and theme, and how to use both thoughtfully to augment character arc. Now I get what subtext is, and wonder why it seemed like such a mystery. The exciting thing about understanding the concepts is that I can make planned decisions on how to use subtext, metaphor and theme to benefit what I'm writing, instead of writing and hoping it all comes out okay.

I learned how to develop a short story plot line, and how to incorporate a character arc. I really want to write a short story now, to see if I'll write them better. I need to finish the first draft, but I'm thinking while I'm letting draft one percolate, I'll try out a short story using Tavi or Quinn as the main character. Or maybe the Fairy King and Pixie Queen as a prequel to Book 2.

I finally got to meet Piper Bayard,
after following her on twitter!
One of the workshops taught us how to share better content online, supposedly in 30 minutes a day. Hopefully I'll get that organized soon, so I can start sharing some good stuff with you all!

Mark Coker from Smashwords was there, and it was truly a joy to hear him speak for self-publishing again. I went to several of his talks at the Pike's Peak Writer's Conference (the last one I went to), and got to sit by him at lunch one day. He's probably one of the reason's I decided to self-publish.

For the most part, people were non-judgmental. People's prejudices regarding their publishing preferences would show, but it wasn't bad enough that I felt like the black sheep of the writer family. One writer didn't know I'd self-published, and made a comment about "legitimately published" authors. There were awards given to people who had "successfully self-published a book" within the year. The presenter actually said something to the effect of "since anyone can publish a book, the requirement to receive this award is to be successful, and have written a good book that sells." Like there aren't so many other things that go into a self-published book selling. Maybe it sounds like I'm making excuses, but if you don't have visibility, not even the absolutely best self-published book will sell. I got the feeling they were kind of new to self-publishing. I used to have the same thoughts, after all.

What is it that makes us writers so judgmental? Even self-publishers have to create a hierarchy within self-published books. Instead of having agents and editors as gatekeepers, we erect our own gates. "My book sold XX and yours isn't selling, so that means my book is better than yours." Which may or may not be true.

That's why I liked hearing Mark Coker. He addressed in his speech the presenter's comment about
And I got to meet Heather Webb, too!
"successful self-published books." He noted how people say Smashwords lets anyone publish "crap" and how there's so much "crap" out there. (And he did it in a way that acknowledged the presenter's comment.) Then he said "I didn't want Smashwords to become a gatekeeper. I wanted to let people get their stories out to readers, and let readers decide for themselves what they want to read."

I left the conference both inspired and determined, and with new or closer friendships. I'm excited to write and I can't wait to use what I've learned in my stories. Each book I release will be better than the last, and because of that, I will be successful, without being measured by books sold or money made.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Funny Friday Photos: How to Know If You're Speeding

Happy Friday!
I feel like this you?

I get to leave work early today, so I'm even more excited about the weekend than usual. 

It occurred to me that I never asked if anyone watched the new Doctor Who episodes? I really like Peter Capaldi's Doctor. I've been a little disappointed with the plot-type things but, there's lots of development to be had between now and the end of the season, so I'll withhold my final judgments until then.

Earlier this week I took a "Who or what would you be in the Whoniverse" quiz, and I got an Ood!! Yay for the Ood love! Maybe that's why I like them so much. I wish someone would write another Ood episode.

Last week's funniest photo was:

And here's the new ones!

I've had the same experience more than once with the GPS app on my phone.

I had to look twice to understand how it was funny.

For the less picky vegetable eater.

I can relate - I'm 5'4" and my husband is 6'4". If counter tops are high enough for him, they hit me at my waist. And I'm always running to keep up if he walks quickly. I feel like a five year old!

Puns, anyone?

There are several wind farms around my town, and I love driving near them. The fans are awesome!

You know you've thought it!

How many toes does the kitty have?

I anticipate learning a ton at the writer's conference this weekend. There are so many excellent workshops to go to, it's hard to choose. Although my children won't like it, I'm taking my laptop with me in hopes of getting some writing done, too. 

My favorite was the speeding dog.
Did you like any one photo more than the others?
Does anyone have any fun plans for the weekend?


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