Versatile Blogger

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First I have to say I am sorry for missing my regularly scheduled post day last Sunday. I was able to have a date night with my husband at the last minute whilst writing my blog post and I just dropped my blog and went out for a kid free night. It was fantastic, but IΒ was sorry I missed and will do my best not to skip for so long again.

This post however is to first thank the person who nominated me for this blogger award and then to share the love and nominate fellow bloggers who are all really awesome and well worth checking out!

Big thanks to the Reckless Romantic for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger award. To accept this award ( which I am late in accepting – apologies again ) I agree to:

1) Link to the person who nominated me
2) list 10 other bloggers to receive the award
3) link to their sites
4) let them know they were nominated
5) tell 7 things about myself

7 Things to Know About Me

1) I am working on my first book in a planned series. It’s Paranormal Romance and the first draft is almost finished!

2) I have a great love for reading – all genres and recently have even added poetry into the mix. Read my A to Z Challenge posts about my love of reading and recent love for poetry.

3) Music and movies are also great loves and help keep me sane. See my 30 Seconds to Mars, Outro or Mumford and Sons posts for music.Β  Though all of these fit into the A to Z, 30 Seconds to Mars is a new favorite band – top 5 all time I think for me! For movies check out my Playing by Heart or Zoolander posts.

4) I love to travel, though I don’t get to do nearly enough now as a happily married full-time working mother of 3 crazy & wonderful young boys (ages 8, 6 & 6 – yes, you read that right, I am a mom of identical twin boys. All 3 of my sons are fantastic fun). Read my post on Scotland travel for an example of travel love.

5) I am a hopeless Fangirl. Check out my ode to Fangirling. My primary Fangirl love is for Tom Hiddleston & can be found throughout my posts, but you can read also about my Fangirl love for Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Sherlock and Game of Thrones.

6) I challenged myself to write everyday for a year back in the end of December 2013. Read my first post about getting started or what I learned early on writing every day. I am at over 150 days now and the challenge has been fantastic!

7) I love to hear from you! Please leave me a comment and tell me something about you! Go check out the other bloggers and Reckless Romantic who referred me and comment on their blogs. Bloggers supporting bloggers is a beautiful thing.

Bloggers I recommend:

1). Lunatic Lover and Poet

2.) Tea and Knee Socks

3.) Wordsplash

4.) Celine JeanJean

5.) Larry Atchley Jr.

6.) Robyn LaRue

7.) Gwynn Rogers

8) Tina DC Hayes

9) A Writer Inspired

10) Cheryl Wright

The Fault In Our Stars

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As seems usual for me, I am a bit late to this party, but now that I am here, I love it! πŸ™‚ John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars is, as you have no doubt heard and/or seen, being made into a movie. I was tempted to wait until after I saw the movie to read the book because I have the tendency to play the “That’s not how it was in the book!” game and I was afraid I might do that with this one. But I really wanted to read the book because I have seen so many great reviews. I bought the book at a local grocery store with a gift card I’d been given. Why buy food with a gift card when there are books? :). I got a trade paperback with the original cover, not the movie cover, because I am funny like that. πŸ™‚

Then I was busy with family in town and other things and only this week did I finally get around to reading it. It took no time to love it. Sadly my life does not easily accomodate reading a book the whole way through anymore, but I did stay up late reading a few nights and finished it yesterday.

Cleaning, who needs to clean? Laundry? It’ll still be there. Kids fighting? Sorry guys, I gotta see what happens to Hazel and Augustus. Mommy, are you crying? Yes, yes I am.

Green does so many things right with this book, and as a writer who is always looking to improve her craft, I had to admire his story and all the little details. I cried several times and not just in the BIG moments. I laughed a lot too, cared for the characters, and could see it all so clearly.

I purposely did not watch this trailer until I had read the book so there would be no spoiling the book for me. Now that I have read the book I am super stoked to see that the movie looks like it will be really great, too.

Since I did not want any spoilers I will carefully avoid giving any. I do want to share with you one of the things that really spoke to me that is not tied into something that would be considered a spoiler. Feel free to comment and we can chat about the book as much as you want though. Because there are so many good things.

Hazel has a book she loves in this story. A book she had read again and again. A book that spoke to her and her experience. A book that meant something to her and then to Augustus as well. Of course as a reader I can identify with having a book that you love like this. But because of some things that happen in the story, I really caught a glimpse into the power of being the author (or creator of anything really) that touches people. What we write has the power to move people. Maybe it is simple entertainment, and that is great. Maybe we just take them out of whatever else is going on in the world for a moment. Maybe we make them laugh. Maybe we make them smile.

Maybe we can change their life.

As Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben reminded him, “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility”. Reading this book helped me see the power and the responsibility.

As I work on things I am writing, I will remember. And even if all I ever write that gets read is this blog, even this can be important to someone. Maybe not monumental (ok probably not monumental πŸ˜‰ ) but even small things can make a difference.

And we may never know the difference we make.

For fun

Today is a friend from my writers group’s birthday, so here is a little gift. I am certainly a novice at poetry, but I believe in this case, she’ll accept that it is the thought that counts. πŸ˜‰

Hopefully, you will as well. πŸ™‚


Anew
By CJ Schwartz

Pain will not crush and confine me
I will let it transform me
Fear will not hold or hinder me
I will let it drive me

Forward is where I am headed
I will begin anew
Upward reaching, growing
I will journey on

Happiness will not a stranger be
I will let it accompany me
Peace will not allude me
I will let it surround me

The Stories We Tell

After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.
Philip Pullman.

I own a book I got years ago which is a collection of short stories by women called We Are The Stories We Tell. I always loved that title because it rings so true. The stories we tell about ourselves, about those we love and who share our life, those stories tell so much about who we are.

You know the stories. The ones you tell or listen to every time your family gets together. The story of the time your mom embarrassed herself at the water park. Everyone has pretty much heard it but still you listen and you laugh. There’s the story of how your grandmother and grandfather got married, and even though you weren’t there, you can see it. Or there’s a story of yours. The time your dad’s uncle cut a long splinter of old rotten wood out of your foot – with his pocket knife! Yikes!

Okay, that last one really did happen to me, and let me tell you I will never forget that story or cease to share it with anyone that will listen. Don’t worry, I survived and he did it with a great deal of care and it seemed much scarier that it was.

We all have a story, or two, or twenty, that we carry around with us and whether it is at a family gathering or over drinks with friends those stories will come out.

The last two days I’ve had a lot of extended family at our house while my Aunt is in from Oregon. She brought a photo album and old photos of my dad and her and my uncle and grandparents. Looking through the pictures with the variety of extended family, I heard a few stories I had never heard before or saw things from a perspective I hadn’t seen them from before. I also looked at the pictures and wondered about all those stories the people in the pictures had to tell. Of course as a writer, I couldn’t help but have ideas spin out in all directions. πŸ˜‰

One story I heard and hadn’t known before was that my grandmother was recognized for selling war bonds. It was cool to learn something new about a woman I only sort of knew as she was older. I had always known that she was a strong and selfless woman. I started to wonder with this new story what she would be like had she lived in my time instead of her own. Would that sales ability translated into a high powered career? Or would she have been a home builder and teacher as she was in her own time? She’d make a great character. I wish I had talked to her more and gotten her story when she was alive.

My grandparents on both sides lived during a wartime I’ve only studied. My paternal grandfather counseled returning veterans. My maternal grandfather was a veteran of the Pacific War. So many stories from all of them. I wouldn’t have known some of those stories, about my own family, if someone, in this case my aunt, hadn’t told me.

How many stories are out there that we’ve never heard? I’ve often thought how the older generations have so much to share with us if we will just listen and then carry those stories forward. But everyone we meet has a story to share. Maybe it is one they haven’t shared, but need to tell. Or it maybe one they’ve told before but it makes them laugh, or they know it will make someone else laugh. Maybe it is a story that tells a history of the family, or of a time, or of the land where we live.

I hope I always remember to listen.

Then of course there are the stories some wished would go away. Hey, CJ, remember when you got that splinter?

Oh yes, come sit here with me and let me just tell you all about it! πŸ™‚

Updates

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I like this idea of being a survivor of the A to Z challenge. But now that the crazy, awesome experience that was the A to Z Challenge has ended, I am back to my once a week commitment to blog on Sundays. While I feel that we A to Z challengers earned our survivor badges, perhaps readers also should get a badge for hanging in there with us through it all. So I salute you and thank you for reading my collection of random inspirations/favorites.

While I was in the blog challenge I did not give many updates on what else I have been writing or share updates on my 365 days of writing challenge, so I thought I would share some of those with you tonight. πŸ™‚

I am over 100 days into my daily writing challenge! Actually, I believe it is now 126 days. And yes, I have stuck to the commitment to write everyday, although I ended up counting quite a few blog posts as my writing for the day just because it took up my ‘free’ time for writing. Blogging was not originally my intent for the daily challenge, but the blogging every day in April was a writing exercise in itself, so I let those count.

In addition to the blogging, though, I did write a few poems, I worked on my book and did some tinkering on a short story as well.

I committed to finishing my first draft this month and I feel I am pretty close. It will have some holes to fill in, but it is after all just a first draft ( and you know what Hemingway says about first drafts…)

I am very excited that I am getting close on the ending. I have it mostly in my head and need to just get it on paper.

I am also working out a plan for the next books in the series. With the things I have written, I’m always learning how to do it better the next time.

One thing I am learning is that I can’t be a complete ‘Pantser’ as I move forward. I need a bit more direction and would like to get the next book out in less time than I have taken with this one.

Several people have recently recommended Scrivner. A friend even showed me around the software a little bit. I am planning to give it a go and will let you know my thoughts. Please share with me your experience with the program if you have used it already.

So I have made a few plans and am sticking with my goals. But I’m also open to new challenges, like the A to Z challenge, so I am excited to see what I stumble upon next.

Have a great week everyone! I will see you next Sunday, unless I find something else I think needs sharing. πŸ™‚

You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.
-Oscar Wilde

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Zoolander

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Z is for Zoolander which is a silly movie really, but it never fails to make me laugh. My sister and I will sometimes text each other Zoolander quotes randomly because it’s guaranteed to make us smile. πŸ™‚

If you can quote Zoolander with me, we are instant buddies πŸ˜‰

Zoolander stars the hilarious Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Farrell, and a host of cameos like David Duchovny, Billy Zane, Natalie Portman, Vince Vaughn, David Bowie, and even a Bet You Didn’t Know This pre-True Blood Alexander Skaarsgard. See if you recognize him. πŸ™‚

Ben Stiller takes us into the world of male modeling as the intellectually challenged Derek Zoolander. Derek soon discovers there must be more to life than being really really ridiculously good looking.

That’s pretty much the plot. But it’s just comedic gold.

Below I give you my favorite Zoolander quotes, some of which may not make sense out of context, but if you are a Zoolander fan, you’ll know them. πŸ™‚

And with that, I bid adieu to this A to Z challenge! It’s been a great experience and I will definitely have to do this again next year. It has been a pleasure exploring other blogs and getting to ‘meet’ new people and getting to know some of you better.

Big hugs!!

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Derek Zoolander: Have you ever wondered if there was more to life, other than being really, really, ridiculously good looking?

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J.P. Prewitt: Male models don’t think for themselves.
Derek Zoolander: That’s not true!
J.P. Prewitt: Yes it is, Derek.
Derek Zoolander: [meekly] Okay.

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Mugatu: Hansel… so hot right now… Hansel.

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Derek, presented with a model of a building for his proposed school:
Derek Zoolander: What is this? A center for ants? How can we be expected to teach children to learn how to read… if they can’t even fit inside the building?
Mugatu: Derek, this is just a small…
Derek Zoolander: I don’t wanna hear your excuses! The building has to be at least… three times bigger than this!

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Hansel: Listen to your friend Billy Zane, he’s a cool dude!

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Brint/Meekus/Rufus: [in unison] Orange Mocha Frappuccino!

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Billy Zane: It’s a walk-off!

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