5 Photos with Jasmine Silvera (#writerslife)

Five Photographs is back! 

Jasmine reached out to me a few weeks ago and asked if I was still doing my “Five Photographs” interviews. She told me a little bit about her book, Death’s Dancer — “Set in an alternate present in the city of Prague, it follows a woman who draws power from the gods when she dances as she must help a powerful necromancer solve a series of murders” — and then mentioned she started it during NaNoWriMo. I was intrigued.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with my “5 Photos” interviews, I ask writers (both published and pre-published) to submit five of their own photos based on my prompts + a brief Q&A.


Jasmine Silvera’s 5 Photos:

Something that represents something unique about you

jasmine-silvera-unique

This is a view of the Prague Castle from nearby Petrin Tower.  We moved to the Czech Republic for work and lived there for almost two years.  It fulfilled my long-held dream to live abroad. Prague is an amazing city and it inspired the setting for my novel, Death’s Dancer. It has a grand tradition of being a haven for writers and artists, and I wrote the first draft in coffee shops close to places I was writing about. We also have the best “souvenir” from our time in Prague: our daughter was born there!

Something that represents where you live

jasmine-silvera-where-you-live

Seattle is my favorite city in the US. We moved back in the latter half of 2016 and I love calling the Pacific Northwest home. This fountain is at Seattle Center, and the water display is coordinated with music. In the summer, kids of all ages play in the base. The rest of the year, it’s a wonderful meeting spot for catching a show at one of the surrounding theaters, or a movie at the IMAX.

Your pet(s) or plant(s) or thing you care for (besides your human family/friends)

jasmine-silvera-thing-you-care-for

This is “baby Groot.” I have a slight addiction to starting avocado trees from pits. My husband jokes that if I’m not careful I’m going to have my own forest.

Something (not someone) that really frustrates you

jasmine-silvera-thing-that-frustrates-you

Reading music. I can play back things I’ve heard, but sheet music is my nemesis.

Something that brings you joy (besides writing)

jasmine-silvera-joy

I started playing the cello when I turned 30, after a lifetime of loving classical music but not feeling particularly musically inclined. [REDACTED 😉 ] years later, I still feel like a beginner. Though my progress has been impacted by moves and the kidlet (not to mention book publishing) I still enjoy breaking out the cello and playing simple pieces.


Q&A

What’s the elevator pitch for your latest published novel?

Death’s Dancer shakes up paranormal romance with a thriller set in an alternate present-day Prague: a world ruled by an allegiance of necromancers in which humans can draw on the power of gods through dance.

Forced to work together to solve a series of murders, a dancer nearing the end of her career and a formidable necromancer learn that someone “higher up” may not want them to succeed. Failure will cost more than their lives, success will threaten the world’s fragile peace…and the only thing more dangerous than the killer they seek is the attraction growing between them.

What are you working on next?

There are at least two more books set in the same world as Death’s Dancer, and I’m chipping away at them.

What are you currently reading?

Lately I’ve been enjoying the style and efficient storytelling of comics and graphic novels. Both Monstress by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda, and Tony Cliff’s Delilah Dirk books are on my nightstand.

I’m also slowly reading “The Thing Around Your Neck,” a collection of short stories by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Finally Anne Lamott’s Bird By Bird is a favorite I return to on a regular basis. I love Lamott’s essays. She’s one of the few writers that can make me laugh out loud.

What are you currently watching (TV shows)?

This Is Us, The Grand Tour, and Mozart in the Jungle. We don’t own an actual TV, so I tend to binge shows (yay for online streaming) and always be a half-season to a season behind.

Favorite fantasy creature, villain, or weapon not from your own work?

Does Dr. Strange’s cape count as a creature? 🙂

In the vein of “every tool is a weapon if you hold it right,” Hermione’s Time Turner is at the top of my list.

Biggest challenge facing writers today?

To paraphrase Peter Parker’s uncle Ben: With self-publishing comes great power, but also great responsibility. I believe everyone has a voice, and a story to tell, and I am so grateful that we live in an age where you can do that without the gatekeeper of a publisher if you so choose. I think writers also have a responsibility to readers to produce the highest quality work. (It’s also smart business.)

Maybe there are people who can write and self-edit a book until it’s spotless, and market and distribute that book to thousands of 5 star reviews, but they’re unicorns. Anyone else have trouble catching your own typos? Everyone I know who is doing it well creates a team around them: beta-readers, editors, proofers, cover design, etc. Of course, that creates the additional challenge of how to identify your team, and it may take additional resources ($$ and/or time) but in my mind, worth it.

How can we meet that challenge?

There are millions of configurations for creating a team, from hiring freelancers to creating a circle of fellow writers and trading assistance at various stages. I do a little bit of both. It does take letting go of ego and valuing feedback. If you want a good chuckle, ask me sometime to show you the cover I did for Death’s Dancer before I swallowed my pride and reached out to the excellent folks at Damonza. At the end of the day, I still have creative control, but I know what my strengths and weaknesses are and when to step back and let someone with more professional experience make me look good.


More about Death’s Dancer

deaths-dancer

Isela Vogel is dancing on borrowed time: a degenerative hip threatens her successful career, bringing the favor of the gods to her wealthy patrons. One final job – and a big one – could set Isela up for life. If it doesn’t get her killed. As the newest member of a powerful Allegiance of Necromancers, Azrael has a lot to prove to his fellow lords of death. Previously assumed to be immortal, necromancers are turning up dead and Azrael must find an extraordinary killer. He’ll need to channel the power of the gods to succeed. For that, he’ll need a dancer. Isela discovers all-too-fallible gods and scheming necromancers are the least of her worries. If she and Azrael fail, it will cost more than her life. If they succeed, she will lose everything she loves. And then there’s the danger of falling for a lord of death.

Jasmine is giving away 10 signed proofs on Goodreads. Click here to enter.

More about Jasmine

jasmine-silvera

Jasmine Silvera acquired a love of sci-fi, fantasy, and comic books from her dad, who thought The Hobbit was a perfectly acceptable bedtime story for a ten-year-old. She filled long hours as a volunteer at the church thrift store by reading boxes of donated Harlequins. She’s been mixing them all up in her writing ever since. Inspired by and written during her two years living in Prague, her first book Death’s Dancer, was released on December 27, 2016 by Kindle Press. It was selected as part of the Kindle Scout Program. She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and their small, opinionated human charge. She can be found online here:

Website | Facebook | Twitter


Thank you, Jasmine, for sharing your photos and telling us a little bit more about Death’s Dancer and your writing. Best wishes to you!

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#Gothic #FlashFiction #BookSpine Story

A dying knight goes to heaven, witnesses a dark battle for a divine crown and the bleak, cold aftermath of immortal war. The everlasting itself seems destroyed, but the knight finds a buoyant, hopeful survivor, who casts a beautiful new world…

That’s a summary of my attempt at a book spine story, which you can read below. I “wrote” it last night, just before and after dinner. Thanks to Carla Richards for the idea!!!

If you try one yourself, take pictures, post, and link to it in the comments. I’d love to read! 🙂

Blink of an Eye, Ted Dekker, The Sword of the Lady, S.M. Stirling, Fallen, Lauren Kate, Fade to Black, Francis Knight, Death Comes as Epiphany, Sharan Newman, book spine poetry, flash fiction, Jill Archer, 1 of 6
1
the five people you meet in heaven, Mitch Albom, Rivals for the Crown, Kathleen Givens, The Historian, Elizabeth Kostova, The Prince, Machiavelli, The Fencing Master, Arturo Perez-Reverte, The Golem and the Jinni, Helene Wecker, book spine poetry, flash fiction, Jill Archer, 2 of 6
2
Instruments of Darkness, Imogen Robertson, The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner, The Battle of Blood and Ink, Jared Axelrod, Steve Walker, City of Bones, Cassandra Clare, Dust, Joan Francis Turner, book spine poetry, flash fiction, Jill Archer, 3 of 6
3
A Breath of Snow and Ashes, Diana Gabaldon, Shiver, Maggie Stiefvater, Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer, Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell, World Without End, Ken Follett, book spine poetry, flash fiction, Jill Archer, 4 of 6
4
In the Shadow of Eagles, Rudy Billberg, Jim Rearden, The Exile, Diana Gabaldon, The Girl Who Could Fly, Victoria Forester, Clockwork Angel, Cassandra Clare, Dream Weaver, Gary Wright, book spine poetry, flash fiction, Jill Archer, 5 of 6
5
New Moon, Stephenie Meyer, Magic Study, Maria V. Snyder, Garden Spells, Sarah Addison Allen, The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco, A Beautiful Mess, Elsie Larson, Emma Chapman, Brave New World, Aldous Huxley, book spine poetry, flash fiction, Jill Archer, 6 of 6
6

Blink of an eye,
The Sword of the Lady fallen;
Fade to black,
Death comes as epiphany.

The five people you meet in heaven, rivals for the crown:
The historian, the prince,
The fencing master,
The golem and the jinni.

Instruments of darkness: the sound and the fury;
The Battle of Blood and Ink;
City of bones…
Dust.

A breath of snow and ashes,
Shiver into thin air;
Gone with the wind,
World without end.

In the shadow of eagles, the exile,
The girl who could fly,
Clockwork angel,
Dream weaver.

New moon magic study;
Garden spells: The Name of the Rose;
A beautiful mess;
Brave new world.

DARK LIGHT OF DAY Pinterest Book Board #Fantasy #Romance #Giveaway

I’m on Pinterest, people! 😀

I made a book board for DARK LIGHT OF DAY. Twenty quotes from the book matched with twenty pictures of items sold on Etsy. The result? A relatively quick, easy, creative project for me and a fun extra for readers and Noon fans.

I plan on creating boards for the rest of the books and will update with new pics and quotes every now and then.

In the meantime, a small giveaway to celebrate the fact that I’ve crossed one item off of my 2016 To Do List (“Check out Pinterest”)—

GIVEAWAY

Winner’s choice: one print copy of DARK LIGHT OF DAY or any other fantasy book from Book Depository up to $10. Open to international. Other details here. (Why not an Etsy gift card? Theirs start at $25. I’ll be giving away an Etsy gift card in connection with one of the giveaways I do for POCKET FULL OF TINDER though…)

I’ll draw the winner from those people who are following the Pinterest Dark Light of Day board by midnight EST on Valentine’s Day. Winner will be announced here. (I’ll also try to reach the winner via Pinterest). Since there are only a handful of people currently following the board, your chances of winning are terrific!

And quick plug for my newsletter – the first one’s coming out next month with some POCKET FULL OF TINDER sneak peeks! Sign up here.

Okay, back to work. 🙂

Writers Who Create Other Things – Thank you!

I wrapped up this season’s guest blog series, which featured writers who create things other than worlds and characters, yesterday. For anyone who missed any of the posts, there are links below. Many of the writers sell their jewelry and crafts. It may be too late to order custom-made holiday gifts this year but there’s always birthdays, anniversaries, and next year! Thank you to everyone who followed along and to all of the participating authors. Your creativity is inspiring!

Delilah Devlin – The Emerald Casket (Jewelry)

Terry Spear – Award-winning Teddy Bears

Danielle Ackley-McPhail – Costume Horns

Sabina Bundgaard – Baubles and Beads (Jewelry)

Beth Caudill – Chainmail Jewelry

Leela Lou Dahlin – Ink Pen Bouquets

Suzanne Johnson – Drawing, Painting, and Mixed Media Artwork

Lizzie Newell – Book Lanyards and Costumes

As my kids say, it’s Christmas Eve Eve tonight. To those of you that celebrate the holiday, good luck with any last-minute shopping or wrapping!

Lizzie Newell: Beautiful Book Lanyards

Lizzie Newell is the last guest blogger in my fall/winter “Writers Who Create Other Things” series. She tells us how her latest research inspired her to make nautically themed book lanyards. I love the colors, materials, and story behind these lanyards. Welcome, Lizzie!

book lanyard, fishing gear, creativity, inspiration

Lizzie Newell on Costumes, Fishing Gear, Jewelry, and Writing

I’m a writer who makes art, jewelry, and costumes as part of my writing process. Currently, I’ve made a series of jewelry, based on fishing floats, to send to folks who signed up for my newsletter. I’m also putting the finishing touches on the book cover and interior for my soon to be published novella, Sappho’s Agency. I produced the cover image using digital painting. I work in a traditional manner, developing the painting from sketches as I learned to do as an art student.

My stories are set in on a maritime planet, Fenria, which resembles Southeast Alaska over the entire planet. Fenria has many islands and fjords but no continents. The entire population lives near the coasts. They use boats and ships for transportation, and get much of their food, fish and sea vegetables, from the ocean.

In doing the research for my writing, I read up on boats, ships, and fishing villages. I regularly travel in Southeast Alaska and have an extensive collection of seafaring music which continuously inspires me. I’m fascinated by systems of rope and string which leads to my apparently oddly juxtaposed interest in corsetry and maritime gear. A corset with its combination of cord, fabric, and semi-rigid elements has a strong resemblance to the shrouds, sails, and spars of a ship.

My inspiration for the jewelry series came from watching the docking process aboard an Alaska Marine Highway ferry. To dock a ship, the deck crew throws a heaving line to personnel on the dock. This heaving line has a monkey fist knot on one end. The other end of the line is tied to the hawser used to moor the ship. I wanted to try making the rigging in miniature which led me to making my book lanyards which can be used as either a bookmark or a necklace. I net wire around a marble to make miniature glass fishing float such as were used by fishermen in the 1940s. I attach each model float it to a miniature heaving line.

Fishing float book lanyard

Making these book lanyards serves multiple purposes. First, I can’t come up with ideas when faced with a blank computer scene, but if I have something to do with my hands the ideas flow. I’ve played a lot of Freecell, Minesweap, or Tetras. Jewelry takes the same type of thinking. I have tools and materials next to my computer for use as a break from writing. My sewing, which takes more space, is set up in my bedroom. I also make models out of paper and so have a cut mat on top of a drafting table to do the work.

I use my costumes, jewelry, and art as a way to promote my writing. At writers’ conferences, working on jewelry is a great conversation starter, so are my costumes.

Amelia Bloomer costume
Lizzie as Amelia Bloomer

I made a Bloomer costume based on the style of clothing promoted by Amelia Bloomer, a 19th century feminist and magazine editor. I wore this to political events as a way of promoting voting. I also made a regency era costume complete with underclothing and did a strip tease at Worldcon in Montreal. For this I was given a special award and I got a hug from Julie Czernida.

I post photos of my process on Facebook and I give the jewelry away. Each of my pieces has a jewelry tag with my name so that if anyone is curious about the jewelry they can Google my name. Best of all is how I meet other people who make jewelry, art, and costumes or who know about aeronautical and boat design.

Hope everyone had a great weekend! Thank you, Lizzie, for guest blogging today!

Leela Lou Dahlin: Rosy Writer Ink Pen Bouquets (and Mockingjay!)

Today’s guest blogger is Leela Lou Dahlin, who makes pen bouquets. This post is part of a guest blog series I’m hosting featuring writers who create other things besides worlds and characters. Welcome, Leela Lou!

Rosy Writer Ink Pen Bouquets

Rosy Writer 3

 

A marriage of beauty and function. Does it seem odd that I would have this as a hobby when my first love is writing? Not to me. It’s very relaxing. Molding the clay, plotting my story line and creating something beautiful—the flower and the plot.

I love thick smooth paper and a pen that writes well. I’d rather send a hand-made card with a note of thanks than a text. There are so many ways to go digital today but sometimes it’s nice to feel a pen between your fingers as it glides along the page expressing your gratitude or your rage…depending on the mood.

Even though I love pens and I have way more than my fair share I don’t like the way they look sitting in a cup or holder. This is now how Rosy Writers got started though. My children and I moved to a wonderful school district when Christmas came my 5 children wanted a gift to take to their teachers. That was going to prove costly. Since I knew that teachers were another group of people who love pens so I took my love of making roses and found a way to make the pen look like a rose on a stem that would be a bouquet of flowers they could have throughout the year. The idea was a hit and soon I started getting orders for hostess gifts, thank you gifts, mother’s day, wedding and baby showers…practically any other time someone wanted a flower bouquet. Added bonus – no one can walk away with your pen and not realize it.

Making them helps me relax and gets my creative thoughts going, and thank goodness because sometimes they are quite in demand. I’m not sure what I like most…making them or hearing how happy the recipients are with the product.

More about Leela

Leela Lou Dahlin works undercover as an outgoing RN Case Manager by day, but at night her time is filled with kids, clay and computers…and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

She can be found online here:

Hope everyone had a great weekend! Mine was fun. We have a new kitten. 99.9% sure her name is going to be Nutmeg. (My kids have named both of my cats. We adopted a stray last springGinger). So a big part of the weekend was spent hanging w the new kitty and trying to gracefully intro her to Ginger. Unsurprisingly, he isn’t exactly thrilled about her arrival, but I’m still hopeful they will become friends eventually.

Took my older daughter and a group of her friends to see Mockingjay Part 1 on Friday. It was opening night and I expected the theater to be PACKED, and it was, but it wasn’t nearly the mad house that opening night for Hunger Games was. [this next bit is slightly SPOILERY] Put me firmly in the camp of those who do not think the third book needed two movies to tell its story. I’m not saying the movie wasn’t good (it was and is well worth seeing in the theater) but the pacing/tension was definitely slower/reduced for this one. There was action and emotion but not as much as I would have liked. I also missed the juxtaposition of Effie’s wildly colorful dresses and all the gag-inducing excess of the capital against the bleakness of life in the districts. This movie takes place mostly in District 13, which is all gray, all the time. Don’t get me wrong though — I’m a huge fan of this series. The characters, world, and writing are so well done and the filmmaker’s version of the story has captured my interest while remaining true to its source. Only one of the girls I took had read the book. Which made Part 1’s ending more dramatic and surprising for them than it was for series readers. (If you’ve read it, you can guess exactly where Part 1 ends). Overall, despite Mockingjay Part 1 being the deepest, darkest movie yet, it felt less immediate to me. But it’s a solid film that ably sets up next year’s final installment. 

Saturday night my husband and I went to a hippie-themed birthday party for a friend of ours. Initially, I had misread the invite and thought the theme was 70s. Got this vintage disco dress and some boots to wear and then, last minute, saw that entertainment would include clips from Woodstock and songs by Janis Joplin, The Who, CSN, the Dead, Jimi Hendrix…. So I ditched the dress.

ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE... and a beard. Craig's growing a beard for the first time ever for No Shave November: http://www.no-shave.org/
ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE…
and a beard. Craig’s growing a beard for the first time ever for No Shave November: http://www.no-shave.org/

Finally, if you missed Friday’s post… I’m giving away one print copy of the Mammoth Book of Southern Gothic Romance. International. Three ways to enter: comment here, contact me here, or tweet.

So… how about you? What did you do this weekend? Have you seen Mockingjay? What did you think? Which Rosy Writer Ink Pen Bouquet do you like best? I’ve given stationery as a thank you gift lots of times but haven’t yet given a bouquet of pens. It’s a neat idea, right?

Thank you to Leela Lou for guest blogging today! Happy Monday, all!

#Writing: Buildingbuilding – Overwhelmed by Worldbuilding? Try a more focused approach…

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately worldbuilding. Or rather, buildingbuilding. One of the projects I’ve had waiting in the wings needed to be taken to the next step. And the main setting for this story is a building, not a world. Since the Noon Onyx novels have such a sprawling setting, designing a smaller set that’s interesting enough to serve as the backdrop for two novels (the intended length of the project) is challenging, but one I’ve taken on happily. Since I haven’t posted in a while, I figured I’d share some thoughts about my buildingbuilding process. It’s too early, however, to share the building from my WIP, so I’m going to use my somewhat silly water tower as the building example for this post.

Here are some of the things I consider as I build a building that will serve as a significant set for one of my stories:

Name

Not all buildings need names, but if your building is going to be a big part of your story, consider giving it a proper name. The first thing I did when trying to think of a name for my MC’s home was a search for “famous water towers.” I wasn’t sure what I’d find. Maybe nothing. But the internet instantly delivered inspirational info. This link takes you to a list of the 10 Coolest Water Towers. (Who knew, right? Some of you may be in the business of constructing water towers, but for the rest of us, lists like this are a nice surprise). So I glanced through the pics. They looked neat. Whimsical. Interesting.

But I don’t want to use any of these water towers exactly. I want to build a water tower for my story that’s unique. So I decided the water tower should look like a light bulb. And it should be painted yellow – as in, American cheese colored yellow. (If you’re wondering why a light bulb or American cheese, see my Unspiration post where this cockamamie story idea first originated).

I decided to name the water tower The Edison.

Purpose

The water tower in my sample story isn’t going to store water. It’s going to be the main character’s home. Its purpose is to serve as living space. So I searched the internet for water towers that had been converted to residential use. Again, wasn’t sure what I’d find. But this link from i09 (People Who Live Inside Water Towers) popped up as the first result when I searched “converted water towers.” I’ll admit, I was both excited and disappointed. The post is terrific; the pictures are awesomely cool. But my water tower as personal residence idea wasn’t as original as I’d thought.

Writers (and readers who are interested in this sort of thing), this happens all the time. You think your ideas are amazing and unique… but they aren’t. This is only one of a gazillion places where your story idea will be tested. You have two choices: ditch your idea in favor of finding something more original that still suits your story purposes or continue using your not-as-fresh-as-you-thought idea. I decided that living in a water tower is still a pretty cool idea even if I’m not the first person to have thought of it. I’m going to stick with it.

History

My water tower isn’t being used to store water anymore. Why not? Here is where the building’s history becomes backstory. Some of this work may show up in your final manuscript, but a lot of it won’t. I started out researching why a town might abandon its water tower. I learned that the main purpose of a water tower is to maintain a constant pressure in the town’s water supply rather than supply the water directly. Interesting, but a distraction. I could have been sucked into researching how water towers work for the next half-hour or more.

But I didn’t want to get side tracked so I decided on an easy answer: the water tower was abandoned after a new one was built. (This idea also generated a possible plot idea. Maybe The Edison is scheduled for demolition. Maybe – a la Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH – the main character has to find a way to save her home by moving it somewhere else.)

Façade

What does the building look like on the outside? Since it’s fairly easy to imagine a water tower that looks like a light bulb, I’m not going to spend too much time describing The Edison.  It’s worth noting here that, even though my stories focus on characters, I more often print out pictures of places when I’m writing, which I then tack up in my office to convey a particular tone or mood. The more easily I can imagine the environment that my character exists in, the more easily I can imagine what that character is thinking, feeling, and doing inside of it.

The Edison (Beware of Nutria)

Floor plan

What does your building look like on the inside? For me, this stage is driven by two considerations: the story’s needs and verisimilitude. I need the interior of my building to provide whatever rooms, hidden caches, darkened alcoves – whatever – that are required for the plot. And I want my buildings grounded in reality. The best fantasy feels like it could be real but for the fantasy elements.

So for my water tower I searched “water tower residence floor plans.” The results were interesting enough but not as inspiring as I wanted. So I searched “tree house floor plans.” That yielded all sorts of fascinating shapes and ideas to build on. I started with three basic areas (eating, sleeping, bathing) and then considered a few others based on my (albeit completely silly) story idea: a playroom for the nutria, a library for a collection of books on Varmit Crimes and Misdemeanors, a zip line hung between two old telephone poles…

I’m not going to share my rough floor plan drawing because it’s horrible. But my buildingbuilding process isn’t. If nothing else, going through this exercise for just one of the buildings in your WIP will give you a more fully fleshed out setting for at least one of your scenes. It might also give you a chance to see your WIP from a different perspective, which can generate all sorts of new plot ideas.

Writers, do you have a “buildingbuilding” process? How do you build the buildings within which your scenes take place?

I hope everyone’s writing is going well! I’ll be posting more about what else I’ve been up to later.

Unspiration

For one reason or another, the other day I was actively trying to think of things that did not inspire me.

My list:

  1. Telephone poles, water towers, billboards
  2. Armadillos, nutria, dingoes
  3. Light bulbs (despite their association with ideas)
  4. American cheese
  5. Petty crimes and misdemeanors

Writers, you know where I’m going with this, right? Any list – even an uninspiration list – can be used for inspiration.

No, I’m not going to write a story about an Oliver Twist type girl with American cheese colored hair who lives in a water tower with only a single light bulb and a family of nutria. But, hey, I could.

I might.

Because ideas can come from anywhere – even unideas. And giving your muse absolute, unfettered freedom can sometimes make your WIP seem fresher and less frustrating. 😀

If you are stuck: write a list! Of anything. Everything. Nothing.

What else have I been up to?

billy joel concert nat park

Concert: My husband’s birthday was this past weekend. We celebrated by seeing Billy Joel at Nationals Park in DC. It was fantastic! Wished he would have played Vienna instead of Uptown Girl, but except for that, a perfect setlist.

Jalapeno Poppers: Once again, I am faced with a bumper crop of jalapeno peppers. What else can you do but stuff them with cream cheese, wrap bacon around them, and bake them?

Reading: LUCY by Laurence Gonzales. I actually bought this some time ago. Yet another example of a book that’s been in my TBR pile way too long. Now that the movie’s out, I figured I’d better get to it.

I miss Borders
I miss Borders

Writing: Here’s another character sketch from the Nightshade novella I’m working on:

Aceraceae “Acer” Feldspar’s healing magic only works on one person: her. Losing her mother at the age of seven to a disease she couldn’t cure, she was determined to find a way to use her magic to help others. Now, at nineteen, Acer protects her tribe’s perimeter. But the intrusion of a scarlet augur – demon harbinger of passion, pain, and seismic change – threatens far more than Acer’s pride.

So how about you? How was your week? Have you seen any great concerts or read any good books? What do you do with a dozen or more jalapenos? Writers, what are you working on? What’s on your “Unspiration” list?

Enjoy the last two days of July!

#Writing life: Should you keep your face to the sun… Or your nose to the grindstone?

sunflowers 2
“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows. It’s what the sunflowers do.” HELEN KELLER

I’ve been keeping my face to the sun and my nose to the grindstone. It’s why I’ve been mostly absent on Facebook and Twitter lately. I’m enjoying summer and my sunny writing cave. What am I working on? A novella featuring a character I’ve wanted to spend more time with for a while now. Here’s his character blurb:

Nocturo “Nightshade” Onyx has the sinister looks of a Maegester but the soft, healing magic of a Mederi. Eight months ago he joined the progressive Demeter Tribe so that he could hone his skills. He now wields surgical scalpels, defensive daggers, and waxing magic with ease. But his greatest challenges are still to come: trapping a demon, capturing a young woman’s heart, and bringing his sister back from the brink of death.

What else have I been up to?

Reading: Tina Connolly’s IRONSKIN and the first two books in C.L. Wilson’s Tairen Soul series.

Map Making: Bought Campaign Cartographer 3. CC2 was tough for me, so wish me luck! If I can master the upgrade, I’ll be able to make maps of the places I write about. Maps I’d love to share: St. Luck’s campus; New Babylon, Etincelle, and the Mederi outposts; the eastern Lethe; the Shallows; southern Halja; and — if all goes according to plan — Rockthorn Gorge!

Animal Shelter: Took some food, treats, and my youngest to visit our local pet shelter. I’m still trying to talk my husband into adopting another cat in the fall. lol.

Sharing someone else’s good hiking/writing advice: I read this article recently about the Appalachian Trail. It struck me that thru-hiker Jim Parkins’ words about hiking a 2,180 mile trail might also apply, with one slight tweak, to writing a 100,000 word novel => “The hardest part is the mental part, [putting your butt in the chair every morning].” (emphasis added 😀 )

sunflower

So how’s everyone’s summer going? Are you writing? Reading? Working? Sunbathing? Are you keeping your face to the sun… or your nose to the grindstone?

Hope everyone is having a terrific week!

BONESEEKER Author Brynn Chapman: Newton’s Inspiration… It Wasn’t An Apple

Brynn Chapman is here today with a fun post about how her dog inspired one of the minor characters in her recently released YA historical romance/mystery BONESEEKER. There are lots of cute pictures and (tattle) tales of furry pups doing frustrating things + a tour wide giveaway. Details at the end of the post. Enjoy, all! Welcome, Brynn!

Boneseeker Cover

A Tale Involving Sparkles, Fangs… and Fur

I see you are a native Pittsburgher, as am I. Even though you attended Penn State, and I, Pitt—I still wanted to give you something special. I decided to discuss a minor character for this blog visit—minor, but recurring, and vitally important to the BONESEEKER SERIES: Newton, Arabella Holmes’s dog.

[JA: I’m actually headed back to the ‘burgh for a visit with my childhood BFF tomorrow. Plan on taking the kids to my old haunts, maybe down to the Point, the Riverwalk… not really sure yet, it’s been a LONG TIME since I’ve been back. 🙂 ]

Sparkles 1
Four footed, sharp toothed inspiration

Okay so this isn’t precisely Arabella’s dog—said dog in question, however, is the inspiration for Newton. Arabella prefers animals to people. Like her famous father, Arabella…lacks social graces. She prefers animals to homo sapiens. They always love her, never spurn. Bella undertakes the training of her dogs as she does any of her scientific obsessions. To the n-th degree. My dog, Merry, was chosen from a long line of autism dogs. Bred for intelligence, tolerance and loyalty. Now is when I should insert my heartrending story…but I can’t…

I can however introduce you to the insanity that is MERRY. Or as she is called on Facebook, #sparkles. is hilarity/insanity personified.…adventures, we have had together thus far.

Here are a series of Facebook posts about MERRY under her pseudonym, Sparkles.

Merry a.k.a. "Sparkles"
Merry a.k.a. “Sparkles”

There are days…i am so insane with #sparkles, i cannot form amusing words. Today is one of them. So, boy #2 on antibiotics, We literally just got them. This am, I go downstairs (remember, its like 630) for literally 4 min….and return to see something white and crushed in her teeth. The antibiotic bottle. Immediately my mind goes crazy “I will have to cx all my patients, she will have to go to the vet hospital” Then I see them merely strewn about the ground like pretty pink polka dots. Apparently she just wanted the bottle. #seriously #ImMental

type type type. “Stop!” (barks at squirrel) type type type #whine massive paw rakes leg. type type type VERY front teeth nip soft flesh at forearm

#doIneedtoGoOn#adNauseum

Spray bottle: dog's best friend, worst enemy... or tastiest chew toy?
Spray bottle: dog’s best friend, worst enemy… or tastiest chew toy?

can i talk about how im #editing holdin a spray bottle in one hand, typing with the other. she literally just grabbed the tablecloth with her teeth. #saveMe

SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO i use a spray bottle with #sparkles things have been nuts here, so she hasnt been getting her exercise…i came home tonight to SHREDDED SPRAY BOTTLE> GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH #thwarted

Brynn, how could you be frustrated with a dog as cute as this?! 🙂

Warning. The following is a post of truth. Not a figment of the author’s imagination. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent. Yes, #sparkles So….all before 8 am. The temp hovers near zero. I take sausage and sparkles out. *Deep bark bark-the scary one. Sparkles bolts across field, INTO neighbor’s yard, Onto neighbors FREAKING PORCH, where two other dogs are behind glass, scratching, barking, waking their masters. I manage to grab hold of collar, back out into the knee deep snow, and after a struggle worthy of holmes and watson, collapse onto my butt, wet to the waste now, and manage the ‘click’ of the leash to collar. #itCantGetMoreFabulous #goodMorningSunshine

Thank you, direct tv, for my 7th, 30 minute conversation, just trying to order a video. Thank you, cell phone, for nearly dying, necessitating i run to plug into the wall, and am then trapped. Thank you, #sparkles for your obsession with my fuzzy socks. And biting them, while im trapped, tethered to the wall, and cannot scream as you bite my feet, lest the direct tv lady call for help.  Thank you, resolve as you cracked and i just remove the favorite socks, throwing them across the room to be shredded in the white fangs of death.  #thankyou #thisIsMyLife

I BRAKE FOR FUZZY SOCKS

Newton accompanied Arabella on the trip from England—he has a vocabulary, as does MERRY. She understands the difference between PORCH and OUTSIDE. She understands when you put your hand in your pocket, you may be reaching for a shock collar.

She….no, really. She…found a way to turn on the hose trigger herself, so she could squirt herself in the face. Which she enjoys—for some unknown reason.

MERRY and NEWTON are as intelligent as any toddler, and get into quite as much trouble.

So, if dogs interest you in the slightest, have a peek at BONESEEKER. Bella and Newton are waiting.

More About Boneseeker

Arabella Holmes was born different and raised different. After it became apparent she wouldn’t fit the role of a proper 1900’s lady, her father, Sherlock, called in some lingering favors, and landed her a position at the Mutter Museum. The museum was Arabella’s dream; she was to become a purveyor of abnormal science. What her father called a BoneSeeker.

Henry Watson arrives at the Mutter Museum with a double assignment–to become a finder of abnormal antiquities and to watch over and keep Arabella Holmes. An easy task, if he could only get her to speak to him instead of throwing knives in his general direction.

But this is no time for child’s play. The two teens are assigned to a most secret exploration, when the hand of a Nephilim is unearthed in upstate New York. Soon, Arabella and Henry are caught in a fight for their lives as scientific debate swirls around them. Are the bones from a Neanderthal … or are they living proof of fallen angels, who supposedly mated with humans according to ancient scrolls?

Sent to recover the skeleton, they discover they are the second team to have been deployed and the entire first team is dead. And now they must trust their instincts and rely on one another in order to survive and uncover the truth.

Brynn Chapman
Brynn Chapman

More About Brynn

Born and raised in western Pennsylvania, Brynn Chapman is the daughter of two teachers. Her writing reflects her passions: science, history and love—not necessarily in that order. In real life, the geek gene runs strong in her family, as does the Asperger’s syndrome.

Her writing reflects her experience as a pediatric therapist and her interactions with society’s downtrodden. In fiction, she’s a strong believer in underdogs and happily-ever-afters. She also writes non-fiction and lectures on the subjects of autism and sensory integration and is a medical contributor to online journal The Age of Autism.

More About the Giveaway

  • $10 Amazon Gift Card
  • 1 print copy of Boneseeker open to US Shipping

Click here for the Rafflecopter form to enter the giveaway.

Boneseeker Banner

So how about you? Have any Tales from the Dogside to share? Many thanks to Brynn for sharing pictures of her adorable dogs and for guest blogging today! 

#Writing: Girl Power and Being the Best

Pink Meet 5

Being the Best

I mentioned awhile back that my family drove up to Philadelphia recently for the Pink Invitational. My younger daughter is a USAG gymnast and spends A LOT of time at the gym. This means I spend A LOT of time in the car, driving her back and forth to practice. I don’t mind doing it though because she is truly dedicated and passionate about her sport. In fact, her entire team, and all of the young girls I regularly see at these events, are an inspiration. They spend a minimum of fifteen hours a week at the gym – the equivalent of a part-time job – training, conditioning, practicing their skills, and learning new ones. It’s a sport that takes both courage and commitment.

Pink Meet 1

Every now and then I’ll hear my daughter or another gymnast worry that their scores aren’t high enough or they didn’t win as many awards as they were hoping to at an event. And every time I remind them how amazing it is that they are simply ON THE TEAM. They probably don’t realize it, since they get so caught up in the competitive season, the rigorous practice schedule, and the intensity of the meets, but the fact that they’ve worked hard enough to become a member of a USAG team at all is a feat to be celebrated.

Pink Meet 3

Writers, take note. Because all of us probably experience the same feelings that I see in these young gymnasts at some point during our writing careers. At times, we’ve probably all felt that our sales (or contest scores) weren’t high enough or we didn’t win as many (or any) awards as we were hoping to. But I’m writing this post to remind us how amazing it is to simply be ON THE TEAM. We may not realize it, since we get so caught up in the frenzy of social media, whatever rigorous deadline or word count schedule we’ve set ourselves upon, and the intensity of pursuing the path to publication (or continued publication), but the fact that we all work so hard practicing our skills and learning new ones is a fact to be celebrated.

Embrace your dedication to craft, your passion for creativity, your courage to take a chance on yourself and your work, and your commitment to whatever goals you’ve set for yourself. Take a moment now to smile and say, I’m glad I’m a WRITER. Smile and say, “I’m glad I’m ON THE TEAM.” 😀

The Power of Pink

One of the coolest things about gymnastics is that it’s such an empowering sport for girls. Because of their training, these girls are STRONG even though they are little. Outside of the gym, they are often underestimated because of their size. But their strength to weight ratio is incredible. The sport also teaches FEMALE SOLIDARITY, a message I stand behind wholeheartedly. The meet was a great example of how girls and women can support one another regardless of whether they are big or little, strong or vulnerable.

Pink Meet

And the meet reminded us that PINK is a color for everyone, not just girls. All the dads and male coaches were embracing the “awesomeness of pink” too!

The Pink Invitational is the largest fundraising event for Unite for HER, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to “make a positive difference in the lives of women and girls by supporting and providing breast cancer and wellness programs that educate, empower and restore.” The group focuses on wellness initiatives for all women and girls. To learn more about the group or to donate, click here.

Pink Meet 4

Similar posts:

So, writers, how about you? Do you ever struggle with insecurity? (Come on, don’t we all? Admit it! Embrace it! And then get rid of it!!)

Readers, do you practice a sport? Have a favorite one to watch? What are some of the things you’ve learned from participating in sports or watching your kids participate? What’s your favorite color? Do you love PINK???

Tomorrow, I’ll post some White Heart of Justice news, and then Monday, I’ll post a book recommendation. Best wishes for a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Snakes, Sharks, and Planes: Lesley Carter of Bucket List Publications Encourages Us To Dream BIG

Lesley Carter is a travel adventure blogger I discovered through WordPress. She has posted about traveling all over the world, extreme adventures closer to home, as well as sporting events, spa days, and the importance of friends and family. Her online magazine, Bucket List Publications, is still relatively new and yet has an impressive number of subscribers and followers. Her core philosophy (live life to the fullest) is inspiring no matter what your age or tolerance for risk. She’s currently competing in an online competition to win a trip around the world and hopes to spread the word about it. So I asked her if she’d be willing to answer a few questions and share a few photos. She happily agreed. That’s her, upside down, in the biplane picture below.

Biplane

Jill Archer: Your blog is all about embracing life. You’ve often said that some people have a bucket list because they are dying, but you want one because you want to live. When did you first discover this unquenchable thirst for living life? Were you an adventurous child?

Lesley Carter: While other kids were playing dolls and dress-up, I was playing airline attendant and explorer. The passion to see, explore, and experience more was always there. Even at 8 years old, I planned a trip for my brother and I to fly and see my aunts who lived in a different province. I went as far as contacting the airline to see if we could travel alone. It’s in my blood.

JA: You write about pursuing life’s dreams. Bungee jumping, sky diving, adventure travel, etc. But what about the dreams you have while sleeping? Want to share one of your funniest, or scariest, nighttime dreams with us?

LC: Those are the things I dream about while sleeping. In most of my actual dreams, I can fly; not like with wings, but just fly. It’s peaceful and natural. Sometimes I’m flying to save someone from a burning building or sometimes I’m flying to get somewhere. I have a recurring dream that I’m flying to school but when I arrive I can’t stop flying, literally. I guess I’ve mastered the flight, just not the landing.

Snake

JA: Many of my followers are bibliophiles and book addicts. #39 on your personal Bucket List for this year is “Be a Motivational Speaker at an Event.” If you were speaking to a room of library and book lovers, how would you inspire them to pursue their passion in a new and unique way? In your extensive travels, have you discovered a place which would be “the perfect place to read” or “the best bookstore in the world”?

LC: In The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom, my favorite author, he says, “The true value of time is that you’ve got to make your decisions in each day count, otherwise you could live forever and it won’t make much difference.” I try to reflect on that quote or at least that philosophy daily. We are only given one shot at this life, as far as I know, so it’s important to live life to the fullest. If you dream of visiting Italy, go! If you dream of skydiving, get up there and do it. Make this life count. Don’t ever wake up and say, “I wish I would have….” Your older, happier self will thank you.

As for the perfect place to read – the airplane! All you have is time. 😉

JA: Although many of the things you’ve written about are extreme adventures (flying with a jet pack, swimming with sharks), some are about quieter moments (experiencing a spa day, seeing the sun rise)and some are just about the joys of being with family (giving birth to your daughter, returning to your childhood home, the importance of your husband and sister in your life). How do you stay so well-balanced?

LC: Each night, I reflect on what I’ve accomplished that day and what I’d like to accomplish in the days to come. I’ve learned that if I don’t find balance, I can’t truly enjoy the things that I love. For example, I wanted to swim with the whale sharks at the Georgia Aquarium a few months ago. Athena was sick, though, and the drive to Georgia was frustrating. She was fussy and I was starting to feel terrible myself. Darren and I were up all night and I hadn’t really slept in a few days. I decided that I couldn’t pass up the opportunity so I went anyway. I got into the tank, started to swim, and passed out. If I would have changed the date, it would have been the most memorable, positive experience; instead, I had to be pulled out of the pool and miss the swim. The next weekend we went to Asheville for a spa day. I learned my lesson.

Sharks

JA: I think one of the neatest things about your blog is that you’ve not only encouraged others to pursue their dreams through your posts, but you’ve also organized a handful of bucket list adventures for others. Please share a bit about how you make OTHER PEOPLE’S bucket list dreams come true.

LC: In the last year and a half, I’ve gained a substantial following and support. I currently have 16,032,115 page views and 58,685 subscribers. I’ve used those numbers and klout to help others make their dreams a reality. People send me their bucket lists regularly and I do everything in my power to make them a reality. You can see examples by clicking here. I organized and found a way to offer these experiences for free for my readers. One reader drove a NASCAR and hung out in the pit with the crew, another reader went skydiving, and another went heliskiing at one of the top resorts in Canada. These are just a few examples.

Mud

JA: You’re currently competing in My Destination’s Biggest, Baddest Bucket List Contest. (And you’re currently in FIRST PLACE). If you win, you’ll have a chance to win a trip around the world and $50,000 to help you pay for expenses along the way. What is your tentative travel plan? What do you hope to accomplish with this trip? Of course, we’re happy for you! You sound amazing and inspiring! But what can we look forward to READING while you’re on tour? What’s your plan for keeping in touch with the folks that voted for you?

LC: Once the winner, me, is selected, My Destination will help make the travel plans. There are some countries that I haven’t seen that will definitely make the cut including:

  • South Africa
  • Kenya
  • India
  • Malaysia
  • Thailand
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Austria
  • Iceland
  • Russia
  • Brazil

Darren will not be able to join me on the trip, but I plan to bring Athena. I have a great friend, Jessica, who I’ve traveled with in the past. She will join me as Athena’s nanny. Most days we will participate in activities together, but when I want to experience extreme adventures, Jessica will take Athena for a playdate. With a lot of planning and organization, it is all possible and who better to help plan it than My Destination? During the trip, I will continue to post daily or as much as possible. I want my readers to experience the world with me. Maybe you physically can’t be there this year, but I’ll make sure you don’t miss a thing. Like when I was in Fiji, I will utilize all forms of social media including WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and my website. After all, this is my wildest dreams come true. Traveling the world and sharing my experiences with others… it doesn’t get any better.

[JA: Darren is Lesley’s husband and Athena is her daughter. She blogs about them too. :-)]

QUICKIE QUESTIONS

  1. Favorite comfort food? McDonalds
  2. Best food you’ve ever had while traveling? Anything and everything in Italy!
  3. Favorite book? The Five People You Meet in Heaven
  4. Top resource for travel info (besides you ;-)) Other bloggers or travelers

If you enjoyed this interview, please consider voting for Lesley’s entry in My Destination’s Biggest, Baddest Bucket List Contest by clicking here so she can stay in first place, win the competition, and keep inspiring and entertaining us! 😀 A big thanks to Lesley for doing this interview. Hope everyone is having a terrific week!

Blog Tour for Dark Light of Day Starts Today!

Noon Onyx Book #1 Blog Tour

I’m over at P.W. Creighton’s place discussing how writers use folklore and myths as inspirations for their stories. I also talk a bit about the myriad sources of inspiration for Dark Light of Day. Do you use myth as inspiration for your writing? If so, which ones? Do you like stories inspired by folktales? If so, what are some of your favorites? Stop by and tell me if you love ABC’s Once Upon A Time or if you’ve read Meg Cabot’s Abandon or share some of your own reading and watching recommendations.

Tour prizes!

Here are the goodies I’m giving away during and after the Dark Light of Day tour:

  • Signed Copies of Dark Light of Day: Three signed copies of Dark Light of Day to the blog tour followers who visit the most stops. (U.S. only due to mailing costs).
  • Ace/Roc 2012 SF/F Samplers: At each stop, to be drawn randomly from that stop’s commenters, one Ace/Roc Science Fiction and Fantasy 2012 Sampler. These are bound, print samplers with a color cover and the first few pages of new work from the following authors/titles: Benedict Jacka’s FATED, Alex Hughes’ CLEAN, Jacqueline Carey’s DARK CURRENTS, Steve Bein’s DAUGHTER OF THE SWORD, Anton Strout’s ALCHEMYSTIC, and Jill Archer’s DARK LIGHT OF DAY. (U.S. only due to mailing costs).
  • $10 eGift Card: Either Amazon or Barnes & Noble $10 eGift Card, winner’s choice, to be drawn at random from all blog tour commenters.
  • $10 eGift Card: Either Amazon or Barnes & Noble $10 eGift Card, winner’s choice, to the person who brings the most people to the party. To enter to win this one, tell a friend about the tour (someone who hasn’t yet commented). You’ll be entered to win when your friend stops by at any spot on the tour and tells us that you told them about the tour.

Don’t forget: my publisher, Ace, is also giving away 25 copies of Dark Light of Day on Goodreads. Click HERE to enter to win one of those copies.

Thanks, everyone, for your encouragement and support! Hope to see you on the cyber road!! 😀

Falling and Getting Back Up Again

Potential + Grit = The New Perfect

How writing is like gymnastics

My younger daughter is a gymnast. Like all sports, gymnastics is highly competitive. It’s both a team sport and an individual sport. But unlike other team sports where positions and game strategy rule the day, the team aspect of gymnastics is different. In gymnastics, your individual scores combine to help (or hurt) the team. After an away meet earlier this month, the team went to lunch and I found myself sitting beside the coach, listening to stories of when she was a gymnast and getting her take on what it takes to be a great athlete. Her advice struck me as not only great advice generally, but also advice that could be specifically applied to writers.

“Seriously?” You ask in disbelief. “What on earth does gymnastics have to do with writing?” Well, I’ll tell you.

Writing’s mostly a solo gig, but you’re still part of a team

Gymnasts go out alone, in front of hundreds, maybe even thousands, of people. And they compete. And they are judged. For us writers, it’s even worse. You still go out there alone and these days, with digital books, your audience, and the judges, are potentially limitless.

But you’re still part of a team. Everything we write, the quality of our work, the way we interact with one another… it all reflects back on the writing community as a whole. Once you sign a contract, your commitment becomes even greater. Now there are agents, editors, and various other publishing professionals looking to you to fulfill on the promise of your potential. Like a gymnast, your work will be judged and it will either help (or hurt) the team.

So what are you saying — that failure is not an option? What is this? Apollo 13?

Well, yes… and no…

You can fall, you just can’t fail

The number one trait my daughter’s coach believed made a great gymnast was one who could take a fall and get back up again. She’d known some gymnasts who were amazingly talented, medaling in nearly every meet, breezing through levels and practices… but whose potential was cut short by one fall from the bars or beam. (Not the kind that causes significant physical injury — that’s different). No, she was talking about the kind of fall that injures your pride and self-confidence. The kind of fall that makes you suddenly realize that what you’re trying to do is HARD. The kind of fall that sometimes makes an otherwise incredibly talented athlete turn away from her potential and leave it forever.

My mom passed away last February after a lengthy illness. Before she died, I’d been dividing my time between New Jersey, where she was, and Maryland, where my husband and kids are. When she finally passed, the moment, for me, was like falling off the beam. But when I fell, I hit my head on the way down, and I laid on the floor for a long time. I stopped writing. Like many urban fantasy authors, the world I’d created had a dark side. After my mom died, I couldn’t go there. It wasn’t my pride or self-confidence that had been injured. It was my passion and desire to do the work I’d been doing before. But my quitting was the last thing my mother would have wanted. (She was a creative spirit, if ever there was one!) In time, I healed enough to pick myself up off the floor and climb back on the beam. Falling wasn’t failing. But quitting would have been.

First revision letter — A big fall or a tiny slip?

Last week, I received my first editorial revision letter. I suppose I could have viewed it as another fall (What, my work’s not perfect? You don’t love every word? You mean I have to actually work at this novel writing career?), although obviously not one as personal and debilitating as before. But experiencing a near career ending fall earlier this year gave me the perspective I needed to not even worry about how to characterize it. Does it matter? If all these editorial comments add up to a fall, then I just need to climb back up. If it’s a slip, I just need to regain my balance. If it’s a series of small bobbles, I just need to correct them in the next pass. In other words, I just need to keep practicing.

Hey, everyone’s gonna fall sooner or later. (Otherwise there would be no VH1 Rock Doc black moment for our life’s story, right?) My daughter’s coach’s point during our talk was that the best gymnasts aren’t the ones who ALWAYS nail the routines; it’s the ones who fall off and get back up again. It’s the ones who are willing to practice over and over and over again, suffering the bumps and bruises they accumulate along the way. Those who succeed are those who realize that perfecting any skill is hard, difficult, sometimes even brutal, work.

So, how about you? Have you fallen off the beam yet? Did you pick yourself back up again? Think your story will inspire others to do the same? Have any writing tips that you’ve learned from studying something else? Are you looking forward to the Summer 2012 Olympics?!?  If so, I’d love to hear from you!