Thursday, October 29, 2015

Funny Friday Photos: My First Vlog and Tough Kittens

Happy Friday!

Instead of writing the update, I decided to make a video! If you want an update on the book cover voting, push play.

Here's the new photos!

Just because of Halloween. Plus, iit's freaky.
Submitted to by user kenbaker


Submitted to by user amathistblue

How'd that happen?

Me, last night.
Obtained from via


Well, that makes you wonder...
From DumpADay via

Submitted to by user insert_username_here

Who knows, he might be a philanthrofish. Sorry. I'm tired.
If you're looking for a movie to see over the Halloween weekend, I highly recommend Crimson Peak. It's more creepy than scary, and very psychological. Tom Hiddleston was amazing, as usual, but his emotional range in this movie was absolutely outstanding. Even my husband said so! He should get an Oscar for this movie, and everyone should not worry about I Saw the Light. Jessica Chastain was amazing, as well, and the grandeur of the movie sucks you in. Definitely worth the price of a ticket, in my estimation.

I really like the Karma one, but also the shellfish pun, so I think they've tied for me.

Which is your favorite? Do you have any Halloween plans?


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Get Ready to Vote On My Book Cover

I just launched the contest for a book cover design on 99Designs, so in a few days I should be able to open up the voting to you wonderful people who have stuck around for two and a half-years between books!

In order to help you make the best choice, I'm sharing below the same things I shared with the designers, including the back-cover blurb for Through the Fairy Ring. I'll provide the links to my Pinterest author page, where you can find the individual pages for Finding Meara, Through the Fairy Ring and the Realm in general below the blurb, in case you want to see the visual inspiration I've had.

I'll also post the links to some music videos on YouTube. I'm not going embed them, as a couple of them are 2CELLOS and after Luka Sulic deleted the Instagram I had embedded in my post last week, and my horror at the thought it might be related to my sharing the Instagram on my blog, I'm just not going there with anything 2CELLOS related. (I offer an apology to Luka Sulic, too.)

Okay! Here's the blurb for Through the Fairy Ring! (This is so exciting!)

Settling into domestic bliss within the magical lands of the Realm proves harder for Hazel Michelli than she thought. The everyday stresses of being a single mother, running Rosen Manor and learning to wield her new-found magical powers quickly erodes her wonder of the magical world. Some days she can’t believe she’s only twenty-seven years old. She feels like her mother, and she doesn’t like it.

It’s only when rogue Fairies poison her children that Hazel realizes what is truly important to her. Each passing moment moves them further into the Spirit World and out of Hazel’s life. Returning them to health takes precedence over everything, including her complicated relationship with Arden, the duty-bound Daragward.

Desperate to find a cure, Hazel begs Edlark the Fairy King and Amena the Pixie Queen for assistance, but becomes entangled in Fairy-Pixie politics instead. Each promises to help, but only if Hazel agrees to their impossible demands.

Unwilling to play their games, Hazel hunts for an alternative cure. If she doesn’t find one, she’ll be forced to enter a profane alliance with the Fairy King, selling her soul and her future to prevent losing her children to the Spirit World forever.

Here's the link to 2CELLOS Celloverse which holds the same magic I feel about the Realm.

The link to 2CELLOS Benedictus which is like a scene soundtrack to a scene between Hazel and her kids after they've fallen ill.

The link to Skin of the Night by M83, which has the feel of Arden and Hazel's relationship. (I'm so excited I can finally share this, as M83 hadn't put up the audio on YouTube until just three months ago. I've wanted to share it for over a year.)

The link to 2CELLOS They Don't Care About Us which is like an anthem for Through the Fairy Ring.

And finally, Albannach's Eye of the Storm album, which has been inspiration for the Realm from the beginning. There are Albannach videos/audio files on YouTube, but none loaded by them that I can find, so I've linked to their webpage, where you can listen to bits of the songs. Maybe you'll like them so much you'll buy the album! They're indie, so their website is the only place you can find it.

All right! I'll be back in a few days to share the voting link with you for the contest. It may overlap with Funny Friday Photos, too. Have a great rest of the week until then!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Funny Friday Photos: Pushy Reptiles

Happy Friday!

I'm almost done with the back cover blurb for Through the Fairy Ring, which means we'll get to choose a cover soon! I say we, because I hope you will help me pick out the cover. I'll be using 99 Designs again, so you can have a say into which cover design you like the best. I'll explain more in the near future, so be on the lookout for an extra post.

I have two job interviews on Monday, so please keep your fingers crossed for me!

Last week's favorite photo is:

And the new photos!

Looks like there's some travelling involved.

Because it's so much more sanitary.

I've been filling out job applications that are about as clear.

And then, two pages later, you finally realize that you have no idea what you just read.


I took the picture and my husband came up with the caption. Did we do good? Or was this groan worthy? :)

I think my favorite this week is the iguana and frog (is it an iguana?)

Which is your favorite?

Have an awesome weekend!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

For the Writers: Are We Good Enough?

How many of us ask ourselves that question on a daily basis?

Artists, Writers and Performers, oh my.

The thing about creative pursuits is that, sooner or later, they should be shared with others. Yes, a person can write for themselves, but the magic happens when you share the story and other people can relate to it. Musicians can become masters of an instrument, but the magic happens when they share the beauty of that instrument and what they can do with it to the world. Actors can get together and read plays, but the magic happens when an audience member is held spell-bound at the intensity of emotion dramatized on the stage.

So the creative arts allow us to connect with others in a very unique way, but they also make a person vulnerable. Creators will receive external feedback at some point-sometimes good, sometimes bad. Or they won't receive any feedback (ie. no one will even bother to engage with their creation) and they'll wonder why.


I don't want to give a definition to what being successful as an artist is. Each person has their own definition, and maybe it wouldn't even include sharing their work with outsiders. However, the world's definition of success often involves significant social approval.

As a writer, it seems that popularity equals book sales  (if you're indie) and/or agent/publishing deals (if you're taking the traditional route), and so if those things aren't happening, you're not successful.

There, I said it.

And by that definition, even though I'm doing better than some, I am sooo not successful as a writer.

And there are lots of my writer friends who are feeling this pain as well. I'm seeing lots of blog posts about writer fatigue, how to deal with those depressive writer feelings (this one here, by Jan O'Hara at Writer Unboxed has some great advice), and questioning if they should continue or just quit.

How common are you?

On Monday, I was followed by @GritFire on Twitter, and saw the following tweet:

I retweeted it with the response, "I'm trying! But what do you do if "it" never happens?" Because that's what I've been contemplating lately, and what I think my writer friends have been contemplating.

As writers we're told that, if we just write a great story (being special and uncommon), your book will sell, or you'll get an agent, etc... Or we're told to market our books one way, or submit our books another way, and then you'll grab the golden writer ring.

But what no one talks about it is the element of luck involved. Well, no one but Porter Anderson (@porteranderson). Thank God for Porter and his reality-based publishing industry posts.

Yes, hard work is first and foremost. If you don't put in the work to develop and master the skills to write a good story, then you're sure to be a failure. But the message of the tweet, and of writer society in general is "Work hard and you'll become something (special). If you don't become something, it's your fault. You weren't good enough."

But I don't feel like that's true. There have been plenty of famous people who acknowledge the roll luck, or timing, or any of a number different variables besides hard work played in their success. And then there are the confusing monumental successes that cause you to question humanity's taste and ask WTF?

There have been several opportunities for my writing career to be different, but it's not happened - and those opportunities have been out of my hands. External feedback, be it positive, negative or indifferent, is not something I can control.

I'm coming to accept that my stories, my blog (me!) just aren't resonating with a large audience of people, for whatever reason. And what do I do now? Should I quit? Should I stop dreaming? Should I stop trying? Am I truly not good enough to succeed as a writer?

An Answer from an Unlikely Source

@GritFire was nice enough to favorite my tweet, but they didn't give me an answer. I did find one, though, in the e.e. cummings-like tweet from Luka Sulic of the 2Cellos. (When I got blown away by their music several weeks ago, I naturally followed them (both individually and the 2Cellos account) on Twitter.)

Serendipity is everyday magic. How funny that a random tweet would be a fitting response to my question of GritFire.

His instagram stated:

Be yourself.  Believe in yourself.

No, not rocket science, and definitely been stated before, but for some reason I heard the message differently this time.

We are writers - all of us struggling-to-persevere people are creative, wonderful people. Just by being human beings, we're already special and uncommon, and our stories are special and unique to us.

We are writers, and writing is what we do. Our stories can make a difference in the world, and deserve to be told.

We are writers, and we are good enough to not give up. To keep trying. And, maybe, to someday succeed.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Funny Friday Photos: That's a Moray!

How are you feeling this Friday?

Like the happy dog below?

I was feeling pretty good until I paid some unexpected bills. Then I felt like this:

Exactly like my bank account. I'm sad to announce the days of being a full-time writer are over. I've started looking for a job. Please keep your fingers crossed for me.

Last week's winner was:

Here's some new funny for you!

In honor of hunting season starting soon.

Oops, I read it...

A couple of cephalopod jokes, because my kids are into squids and octopuses right now.


My favorite is a tie between the horrified elk and the bartender with "womanly legs."

What's your favorite?

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Funny Friday Photos: Snippets and Pyrites

Hey there! How'd your week go?

Here's a cute picture of a baby stingray I took at the Omaha zoo, to get our weekend funny started. 

I saw a meme that said they look like raviolis with faces, and I think they're right. Especially the raviolis my Italian grandma made. They were huge! Well, are huge, because I make them now.

For fun, here's a little snippet from the first chapter of Through the Fairy Ring. I'm getting excited to share the story so I hope you don't mind if I tuck a little in this post. If you came only for the funny photos, just jump down below the italicized words. 

Similar to a fly, the sound was ten times more robust. The hair on the back of my neck stood at attention. Whatever it was, it didn’t sound like anything fun or pleasant.
Not wishing to frighten Meara, I forced a casual tone into my voice. “I don’t know what that is, sweetie. Let’s look.”
Meara shoved her spoon into her cereal and ran to the window, her black curly hair bouncing with each step. I set the oatmeal out of Garron’s reach, gave him the towel to keep him occupied, and hurried to join her. Outside, above the trees where the meadow met the forest, an undulating cloud of opalescent shimmer swooped and twisted.
“Those aren’t insects, are they?” I hoped not, but as the cloud approached the manor, the opalescent sheen organized into hundreds of gossamer wings like those of dragonflies the size of pie plates. The front edge of the cloud dipped from the sky, headed directly for us.“Meara, get away from the window.”
She didn’t move, her eyes riveted on the cloud.
“Now, Meara.” I grabbed her shoulders and yanked her backward. The first of the insects came through the window, buzzing around her head. She shrieked and batted the colorful bug to the ground.
Frederick, our Firecat, jumped out from under the table and pounced on the thing. His body covered the insect, so only the wings showed beyond his amber fur.
“Get off me!” A voice, muffled and filled with fear, came from underneath Frederick.
Insects that talk? Even in the Realm that wasn’t normal. “Frederick, what have you got?”
He twisted his head to look at me, his eyes narrow, paw on the creatures stomach. Small human arms reached around it, tiny fists pounding the soft edges.
“What the…?”

All righty! Let's get to the photos, then.

He didn't go back with the Doctor (Who)!

How I feel anytime I go shopping.

What is it with the Clint Eastwood look-alike dogs?


My favorite today is the limitations of my medication. I hope you found one you like!

Have an awesome weekend!

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Funny Friday Photos: Twisted Traps

Happy Friday!!

I hope everyone had a good week. I'm not sure where it went. I've noticed when I try to get things done around the house, not much writing gets done. And when I write, not much around the house gets done. And on days like today, nothing got done, and I don't know why.

This week I've got some writing news to share. I've started my "blurb" for Through the Fairy Ring, so I can get a cover made and start pre-orders, should anyone want to do such a thing.

Amazon caught up to the fact that Finding Meara was free and reduced the price to nothing. During mid-week it was fun to see it shoot up the free charts for a bit. It's free through the weekend (I'll mark them all up on Monday) so if you want to see if it really is a fast-paced, fun and mildly romantic adventure, you can still do so at no risk to your wallet! Click the cover in the sidebar at the right to order it.

(Quick note: I checked the UK Amazon and it's still .99--as are other non-US markets--but I was excited to see that people have bought it. Right now I actually have a ranking above 50,000! That's fantastic - thanks to whoever bought the book!)

This week I posted the second story from the Build-a-Story game, with the story starters of "Hazel, singing, Adven, love" chosen by Kathy Schwab. It's called The Singing Oracle, and click here if you want to read it!

Thank you so much, Suzi Retzlaff, Lexa Cain, LG Smith and Veronica Roth for commenting last week (and the birthday wishes!) No clear winner for favorite photo this week, so we'll move on to the new funnies.

I have waaaay too many accounts like this.

Oh, the everyday conundrums.


Since Boy 1 started learning to play the cello, I've learned enough that this is funny to me.
(Pizzicato means to play by plucking the strings. Right now it's the only way Boy 1 is playing.)

My favorite is the trapped Kermit. It's so wrong it's really funny. Or I'm just that warped.

What is your favorite?


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