Friday, June 29, 2012

Life List Club Milestone Party

The Life List Club Party has started! 

To celebrate the LLC Birthday I...

Got some balloons... (notice the grammar error above?)

Grabbed some party hats...

Found a low calorie cake (you'll find out why below)

And thought we could do a little dancing!

Thanks so much for coming to MfC to celebrate my second Milestone Party with me!  I hope you enjoy the shortened version of Funny Photo Friday.  I'll give you a quick run down on how the last three months has gone with meeting my goals.

My Life List

Photo courtesy of Wookiepedia

"No. Try not. Do or do not... There is no try." Yoda

Daily Goals

Daily goals were tossed out the window from April 22nd until May 30th. I met them as much as I could, but I needed to get Finding Meara revised by the end of May. It was a hard deadline, and so I shuffled everything to meet it.  If you're interested in how that went, read my post here.

Play with my boys half-an-hour every day.   The one daily goal I tried hardest to meet over the last three months was to play with my boys.  They haven't always wanted me!  How sad it is when they grow up and become more independent... 

Write at least 15 min. every day.  New writing hasn't really gotten started, but I have been writing with blog posts and editing, if that counts (and when I wrote the goal, I figured it better count). I have a short story I want to write while I'm plotting The Age of Stars. I need to just do it!

Exercise 20 min. five days of the week 100 min. a week.  It's been hard to get back on the exercise wagon, but have been doing better the last couple of weeks. I gained some weight while I was focused on editing, and really am not feeling very motivated to reverse my eating habits. I really, really like candy.

Writing (revised 3/23/12, revisions in blue)
Complete revisions of Finding Meara by the end of March May  completed May 30th

Create pitch, query letter, synopsis, etc... for Finding Meara by end of April June  Pitch is done, query letter is almost done, a three paragraph synopsis has been written.  Don't ask me how good they are. All I can say is I'm trying my best!  If you want to read my entry into the Query Corral Blog Hop, go here!  Leave me some feedback, if you want.

Blog twice a week (Mondays and Fridays)  Yay! I'm doing it!

Write first draft of second novel by end of December.  I'm working on lots of pre-writing (using Cathy Yardley's Rock Your Plot.  I can say it's worth a lot more than the $2.99 I paid for it!) so I don't have to think so hard while writing the first draft.  Hopefully it won't take as long as the first draft of Finding Meara.  I'm very excited about the storyline of The Age of Stars.  The blog post on physics and death came from some research I was doing for the novel.

Social Media (all completed by 3/23/12, revisions in blue)
Grow Twitter followers to over 500 1,000 followers. I'm up to a little over 800 followers.  I started in August 2011, so I actually feel like Twitter has been a relatively successful media for me.  Shocking, considering how scared I was of it!  Thanks again, Nina Badzin, for the twitter help and support!

Grow blog membership to over 100 300 followers. Ah, yes. The blog membership. I so appreciate all of you who signed up to keep track of my blog over the last six months. You have made my year. January to March was absolutely amazing, and then it just kind of stopped. I have no idea how to grow blog membership. Over the last month, I had a mind shift, though. I have decided I can't really control this one much, and I'll just do what I do and we'll see where it turns out in December.

Participate in six bog hops (including the A-Z Challenge) completed 3/23/12 Except I didn't do the A-Z Challenge. I did do six blog hops.

Guest post on three other blogs - completed 3/23/12, going for another three by end of year  So far the new guest posts were at Karen S. Elliott's blog (two of them - one about my mom!), and Colin Falconer's.  I can't link to Colin's anymore because I asked him to take the post down for safety reasons.  I hope you saw it when it was up!  I've got a couple more guest posts lined up in the next couple months, so I will meet my new goal.

New Goal: Complete MNINB Platform Building Challenge for April  This was an unexpected good time! I joined the challenge because I didn't sign up for the A-Z Challenge.  It was a wonderful opportunity and I got to meet all kinds of new, talented writers and poets.  When Robert Lee Brewer hosts another challenge, I'd recommend participating in it.  The daily challenges were quite easy to meet and really did make a difference in how I view platform building.

All right! That's it for me!  I hope you'll make the time to run over to the Life List Club Blog and answer the question " What goal on your Life List has held the most surprise or invoked the most unforseen benefits/changes?" in the comments section for a chance to be included in the big LLC Milestone Party Giveaway. 

You must comment between 6 AM (EST) June 29th and midnight (EST) July 5th to be included in the drawing. And to show you how tricky I am, I'm not going to tell you what the big giveaway is. You'll just have to go over there yourselves and find out!

Even more good news is that each Life Lister is having their own parties and giveaways on their own blogs, so I highly recommend you increase your chances to be a winner and hop around and see what we all have going on!  Here's a place for you to start.

Winners for the giveaways on all the blogs will be announced July 6th.

Also, if you think the Life List is a group full of the supportive, kind, action oriented people you would like to hang out with (and have your own Milestone Parties!), you can contact either Marcia Richards or Jess Witkins and discuss joining.  The hazing is pretty painless, and the benefits and support are wonderful!

To have a chance to win my giveaway of a $15.00 giftcard of your choice, please leave a comment below.  You can either tell us all how your goals are coming along, or even just pick a favorite out of the pictures above.  

Mine, I think, is the turtle.  I never see them doing anything but sitting there. It's nice to know they actually do move and eat!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Please Meet Vaughn Roycroft!

If you are looking for the Query Corral Blog Hop entry, please go here.  Otherwise, read on!

Who is Vaughn Roycroft, you may be wondering?  Well, he is a talented writer, new-ish to blogging blogger, and embodiment of kindness on the internet.

Vaughn has guest posted on Writer Unboxed's blog a time or two, and written book reviews for the sister site Reader Unboxed.  It was through these posts that I became aware of the fine writing skills Vaughn has, and in my comments, I selfishly encouraged him to get his own blog so I could read more of his writing.  Thankfully, that did happen, and his blog, Seeking the Inner Ancient, went live (along with his cool website) this year.  My only complaint is that I wish he'd post more often! (And I mean that with all kindness, Vaughn!)

We finally bonded a little over my post The Magic of Star Wars and Writing.  Through Facebook I learned that Vaughn is a kind, interesting person -- just the kind of person I would love use as my guinea pig for my first blog interview.  So, without any more talking from me, I would like to present Vaughn Roycroft, the first ever interview at Motivation for Creation!

Welcome, Vaughn! Could you please introduce yourself to us, and share with us some of your favorite things? 

I’m a husband, a writer of historical fantasy, a carpenter, and a former businessman. I love spending time with my wife, my black lab, music, reading, a good laugh, walks on the beach, cooking, the spooky feeling that accompanies being imbued by the muse.

Would you care to share a little about your current work? Where are you in the process of publication?

I completed the first draft of a trilogy a few years ago, and have subsequently written a ‘prequel’ manuscript, examining the trilogy’s backstory (kind of like Star Wars, eh, Lara?).

Short version of all four, starting with the prequel: A Goth chieftain sets out to restore his father’s honor, and is told by a mystic that he and his progeny are destined to greatness. He begins a disastrous war of conquest with the Roman Empire. In seeking to ensure his foretold legacy, he marries two prominent women who each bear him a son. One son goes on to be raised within the fold of empire, and the other is raised in his tribe’s homeland among his mother’s royal clan. The trilogy examines the rise of the sons, and how each responds to his so-called destiny, against the backdrop of the their two peoples’ epic culture clash. Oh, and there’s an all-female warrior sect entangled in there. Can’t go wrong throwing in some kickass warrior chicks, right?

I’ve gone through two rounds of submissions with book one of the trilogy without a sale. This last time I was fortunate enough to receive several wonderful rejections (that’s a funny phrase, but it’s true—anything you get beyond a form letter, be thankful and listen up). I’ve worked on ideas to streamline the opening with my fabulous critique editor (Cathy Yardley, of Rock Your Writing) and some wonderful writing friends who’ve been kind enough to beta read. Round three coming up! 

Name the three things that are most important to you.

My wife is clearly numero uno. I’d be lost without her. She’s my first reader, my biggest supporter, my best friend and my soul mate. 

 Next, my cottage in the woods and the life we’ve built here in our little beach community (including daily walks along the shore). 

 The third would have to be my writing journey. It began a bit late in life, but it has been hugely rewarding. I’ve learned so much and have met so many wonderful people (like you, Lara). My relationships and insight into my life and the world around me have been greatly enhanced. I am blessed, whatever comes of my quest for publication. 

What/Who are your writing influences?

I’ve often mentioned the importance of Tolkien in my life, but reading the Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings affected my literary life more than any other single thing. It demonstrated the possibilities for being immersed in another world and yet inspired to emotions that are definitely of this world. I didn’t want it to end. Turning the last page, and being satisfied and yet left with that longing for it to go on, was what led me to imagine the possibility of trying to create such a world and to inspire such feelings in others.

Currently I’m working hard to adapt my work, and my future method, to utilizing the elements of story structure. This is largely in response to the positive influence of my online writing tribe—most prominently in the person of my aforementioned editor, Cathy (plotter extraordinaire). I was a dyed-in-the-wool pantser during the writing of the trilogy. Now I’m going back through and adapting/honing my work to fit the elements of structure. It’s a big job, but I was fortunate to have had either the instinct or dumb luck to have crafted fairly good bones in my early drafts. And I can see what a positive effect it’s having on my work. 

Do you believe in everyday magic? If so, give an example of why.

In a recent discussion about the mystical versus the scientific in regard to writers having a muse, I weighed in on the side of the mystical. I believe there is so much more going on than can be easily explained. Those on the other side claim that those amazing story elements that occur are just a byproduct of our brain’s complexity—the result of accessing our cognitive subconscious. Even if science proponents are right, it’s still pretty damn magical to me. Even if I’m self-deluding, why would I want to live in a world without magic?

A new-to-writing Writer comes up to you and asks for your advice. What would you tell them?

I would tell them not to wait around. Start! Today! 

I always knew I’d write, but I wasted a lot of years saying, “someday, when there’s more time, I’ll start.” Just begin, anyhow, anyway, even if you only spend fifteen minutes a day on a rambling outline. Don’t muse, write! Get something on paper.

Another thing I would advise might sound controversial. I’d tell them to avoid seeking online writing advice or publishing information—at least during the writing of the first draft. Read a craft book or two (I’d recommend On Writing, by Stephen King and The Art of War, by Steven Pressfield), but then stay off the internet and just write! 

Your head will be swimming in the ocean of the online writerly world soon enough. Get out a draft without any of that influence. Do it for the love of it. Do it for you and no one else. All future work will belong to others (editors, agents, readers, etc.). During that first draft of that first manuscript, just rejoice in the exhilaration of freeform expression—rules, advice, gatekeepers, readers, et al be damned.

Optimist, pessimist, or realist?

I said earlier I’d be lost without my wife. This is part of it. I’m a realist with pessimistic overtones. All too easily, I get caught up in a woe-is-me mind-frame. My wife is the eternal optimist. She believes in me more than I believe in myself.

What motivates you to be creative? (i.e. Write, but any other type of creativity is fine, too!)

Hardest question, by far. When I was in business, most of my creativity was devoted to problem-solving. For example, designing a system or a new piece of equipment to overcome an obstacle to production. This creativity had the simplest motivation: profit. I also developed a love of cooking over those years, mostly as a way to relax. Over time a secondary motivation crept in for both: I was being praised for doing them well. It felt good.

Writing, at first, was a completely different beast. For a long time I kept it secret, and honestly never planned to show it to anyone. It took me several months to even tell my wife about it. Even after she knew, I told few others. It’s still a huge, difficult leap for me just to hit the send button, every time (and will be even for this interview). I do feel quite gratified by praise, but it wasn’t what I sought in starting, and I’ve come to see there’s more at work here.

I’m taking a long road to get there, but bear with me. I think I started writing in a quest to answer some big questions about life. It was ’03. My old feelings from Tolkien were reawakened by the release of the LOTR movies and a rereading of the trilogy. 9/11 was a fresh memory. We’d suffered some tough losses. In hindsight I see myself grappling with the meaning of love, honor, choice, destiny, and legacy (we have no children). I was also coming to grips with death (my own mortality, the loss of loved ones, and my fear of losing others dear to me).

When I finally started allowing a select few to read, the first outside of family was a dear friend. After he finished, he and I literally spent an entire day talking. The fact that he was moved, that he was able to apply the work to his own life, and that it left him grappling with the same issues as I had in writing it, threw a whole new light on my journey. I knew then this was my life’s work, that it could really matter. It’s the greatest motivation there is.

Thanks so much for having me on your wonderful blog, Lara!

Now that you've had an introduction, head over to Vaughn's blog and read all the great posts he has there, such as Originality Isn't Everything, What Building my House Taught Me About Writing (and it's a beautiful house - there's pictures!), and of course, because you can't have too many warrior chicks, Regarding Kickass Warrior Chicks.

Please come back on Friday to help me celebrate my Life List Club Milestone party.  I'm going to try and incorporate Funny Photo Friday into the celebration, and I'll be giving away an Amazon gift card to a random commentor.  Also, between now and then, I've got some awards to pass on, as well.  It's going to be a busy week!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Query Corral Blog Hop

Heather Webb, writer, foodie and wine afficianado (which makes her very cool, in my book) is hosting a blog hop at her blog, Between the Sheets. Since I seriously need help with knowing where to even start an effective query, I was so excited for the opportunity to participate!

Below is my first attempt at a query letter for Finding Meara.  Even if you're not participating in the blog hop and want to share some of your wisdom, I'd really appreciate it if you'd leave a comment. 

Dear Agent:

In Finding Meara, my 80,000 word adult contemporary-fantasy, Hazel Michelli’s life is turned inside out when she is mistaken for a girl named Meara, kidnapped from her Denver apartment by a winged creature, and taken to the Realm, a parallel world where magic and monsters exist. 

Upon learning she is to be sacrificed for some nefarious purpose, Hazel narrowly escapes the Realm with the help of Frederick, a fire-cat, and Arden, the cryptic keeper of the forest.

Back in Colorado, Hazel’s world is further turned inside out when she learns she was adopted as a baby, and dysfunctional doesn't even begin to describe her family of origin. Her adoptive parents are distant cousins to her mother, an Earthforce magician who fled the Realm to protect Hazel when she was an infant. Meara is her four-year-old half-sister, and their father, Lucian Rosen, is a sadistic Lifeforce magician desperate to sacrifice his daughter to maintain his immortality.

The only problem is Meara has disappeared, and not even Lucian knows where she is. Furthermore, Lucian realizes Hazel is his lost daughter, and if he can sacrifice her, he will obtain the Earthforce magic in her blood and take over the Realm.

Guilted to action by her adoptive mother, Hazel races between the Realm and Colorado, trying to find the four-year-old and stay one step ahead of Lucian, so she doesn’t end up becoming the sacrifice that would give him control over the Realm.

While written with light-hearted humor, Finding Meara deals with themes of sacrifice, selflessness and family.

I am a school social worker, mother and wife. I have had two short horror stories published in printed anthologies. My contemporary fantasy story, Bear Hug, is published in the February 2012 issue of the online journal, Hogglepot.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Lara Schiffbauer

Thanks so much, everyone, for all your helpful feedback! Have a happy hop!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What Does Physics, Souls, Time and Death Have in Common?

Photo courtesy of NASA
Last week I read a fascinating article in Discover magazine (Special Issue, June, 2007). Scientists have formulated theories about souls.  Using quantum mechanics, they believe that our consciousness exists within the most basic sub-atomic levels, called the Planck scale.

Physics and Souls

The scientists (Stuart Hameroff and Roger Penrose) postulate that when we are alive, the bits of quantum information of our consciousness are retained within our bodies, but when we die, get released back into the Universe.  The article discussed how this hypothesis could be used to explain Near Death Experiences, Out of Body Experiences and Reincarnation.  Of course, it's all theoretical, but what an amazing theory.


In the same magazine was an article about the existence of time.  Apparently, at the Planck Scale, there is no time.  The idea connected me with a book I read long ago (Mister God, This is Anna) in which a young girl (age four, and dies before she is eight) explains the universe to her guardian/teenage friend.  She tells him how, if you turn a timeline on it's edge, it's a dot, which is how the past, present and future all exist at once.  The Planck Scale would be the dot of the timeline on it's edge.

If we put the two articles together, we can conceive of eternity!  What else is consciousness without the boundaries of time?  

Photo by Benutzer: Conny at Flickr
We can take these thoughts anywhere we want to.  What the afterlife might be like is unbelievable.  While we were talking about this post, my husband brought up a concept called monadality, where souls free of the body don't interact until they find another body in which to be contained.  Even if this is what the afterlife is like, we wouldn't feel pain or loneliness because we wouldn't experience time.  We would die, and then be reborn somewhere, and it would probably feel instantaneous.  If, of course, we remembered life before we were reborn.

Where we might be reborn is another fascinating prospect.  Suppose there are alien lifeforms on other planets.  The next time my consciousness is reactivated (for lack of a better word) into a new body, it could be in an alien!


My father doesn't believe in life after death.  This causes him significant grief over the death of my sister.  I have to say, the idea of no life after death causes me significant anxiety.  I get this claustrophobia feeling at the idea of just being snuffed out.

These two theories would change the meaning of death.  We would go on.  Better yet, who we are and the experiences we have would never be lost.  We would be eternal.

Have you read anything that inspired you this week?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

El Promo by Colin Falconer

Today's the day I get to welcome author Colin Falconer to Motivation for Creation!  If you haven't read the interesting coincidences that led to our cyber connection, you can find that post here.  Otherwise, I'm giving the page over to Colin and his hilarious story of book tours gone awry.  Thank you so much, Colin, for sharing such a great post with us.




Everything you’ve ever heard about Mexico City is true. The city contains roughly the same population as the whole of Australia and twice as many cars as people. They say that one day walking in the streets of El DF is equivalent to smoking a pack of forty cigarettes.

           I was there for a week a few years back to promote a book I had written about the conquest of Mexico. I had not read the book myself on anything except my laptop and the Australian edition was still in editing. So it was slightly surreal to fly halfway across the world and discover it has been a bestseller in another country for weeks.   

            The central figure of my story was a Mayan princess called Malinali (better known in the west as Malinche), Hernan Cortes’ lover during his 'entrada' in the early sixteenth century.  My book speculated about her life, her motives, her role in the defeat of the Aztecs and most especially, the precise nature of her relationship with the great conquistador. Description:

        Well. You wouldn’t think the Mexicans would care any more, would you? The woman has been dead for half a millennium and her name is almost unknown outside of Mexico. 

But they do care; they care a lot. It was why almost every newspaper and magazine in the city wanted to talk to me.

They care so much, in fact, that at times I was being interviewed by three journalists at a time because there was not enough time to schedule everyone. Not all of the journalists liked the book; halfway through one interview a journalist threw his manbag at me and said he was offended by my interpretation of Malinche, a woman he and many Mexicans regard as a traitor of the first rank. She is responsible for selling out Mexico and consigning her nation to catastrophe and slavery, he said. Well, perhaps. But there's two sides to every story.

Finally he stormed out of the office.

        I didn’t read the review but I got the impression that I wouldn’t be able to use any quotes on the cover of the reprint.

            My interpreter for the duration of my stay was a very attractive young woman by the name of Beatriz, publicity director for the large publishing house that had bought Spanish rights to my book. When I was invited onto a popular daytime television show she found out half an hour before my appearance that she would be required to accompany me in front of the TV cameras as my interpreter.
            She had never been on television before and was very nervous, especially as the show’s host was the notorious Victor Trujillo, Mexico TV's shock jock. Her husband was away on business in Guadalajara and she was afraid that he might see the program; she was also nervous that her mother, a very strict Catholic who disapproved of our host, might also hear about it.
          Victor's particular schtick was to have his guests lie down on a psychiatrist’s couch while he sat behind them and asked them personal questions, like a therapist. Sometimes he would have a blonde in a red leather bikini stride onto the set and sit on his guest's lap to distract them - so really, it was more like a kinky interrogation session than a sombre literary interview.      
           Fortunately Beatrix had warned me about this.

          So when the blonde came on set, I was prepared. I asked, through Beatriz, if the young woman would come back to my hotel with me. I had Victor on the back foot.

Disappointed at not catching me off guard, he raised the stakes. He brought on his second surprise – a male model with a six pack (make that twelve) in a bulging g-string who came and sat on Beatriz’s lap. I don't know who was more surprised; my blushing interpreter or her husband, watching from his hotel room in Guadalajara.
        On the way back to the car afterwards Beatriz was busy fielding phone calls from her mother and her other half. After she hung up the phone she told me she would not be acting for any more Australian authors. I protested that it really wasn't my fault but she told me I was a no-good gringo and I could get my own lunch. So there.

       Wow, this was really working out well.

       The next morning I woke at six o’clock to the sound of bugle and drum, as the Mexican flag was raised in the Plaza Major. It is a big flag, a monster that takes a dozen soldiers standing at arm’s length to furl and unfurl.
       I spent the morning with more journalists (no man bags thank God) and then Beatrix took me to an early lunch and invited me to sample one of the local delicacies, chilli chicken in chocolate sauce. It tastes exactly like it sounds, like chicken covered in spicy chocolate sauce.

            She then drove me back to the television studios for an interview that was to be syndicated throughout Latin America, South America and the US. I was happy enough with this but did not discover until a minute or so before we went on air that it would last for the better part of an hour. I also discovered, to my chagrin, that my interviewer, who could speak perfect English, would instead ask me the questions in Spanish, and these would be relayed to me through my earphones by an interpreter – at about a split second delay. 

            Now if you’ve never had this experience you may not appreciate how disconcerting this is. You have no idea what to do with your eyes for one thing; if you look at your interviewer’s face, the lip movements are out of synch with what you’re hearing and you end up staring at your interlocutor like an imbecile and going “Huh?”

            Or if you look away and just concentrate on what you’re hearing through your earphones you look like someone who’s lived with their bedridden mother all their life and has lost any ability for social interaction.

            To compound my panic the chocolate chicken I had eaten for lunch had come back to haunt me. Montezuma had decided to take his revenge on the latest author to slur his name and not only could I not look my interviewer in the face – I also began to sweat, wriggle and cross and uncross my legs every few seconds.

            I survived the interview with seconds to spare. Was it Beatrix's revenge? I suspect so.

            All in all, my author tour of Mexico was a chastening experience. Oh, and I got mugged. But hell, it's Mexico. Doesn't everyone?

            Would I go back and do it all again? If I could get another book on their bestseller; lists, you bet. I'm a writer - it's okay to be shameless.
            But next time I'd pass on the chili chocolate chicken.

Born in north London, Colin  worked for many years in TV and radio and freelanced for many of Australia’s leading newspapers and magazines. He has been a novelist for the last twenty years, with his work published widely in the UK, US and Europe. His books have been sold in translation in Brazil, Belgium, the Czech republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Korea, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain and Turkey.

He travels regularly to research his novels and his quest for authenticity led him to run with the bulls in Pamplona, pursue tornadoes across Oklahoma and black witches across Mexico, go cage shark diving in South Africa and get tear gassed in a riot in La Paz. He also completed a nine hundred kilometre walk of the camino in Spain.

He lived for many years near Margaret River in WA, helped raise two beautiful daughters with his late wife, Helen. While writing, he also worked for many years in the volunteer ambulance service. “I’d be at my desk typing, then thirty minutes later I’d be crawling into an overturned car.”

Colin blogs at Looking for Mr. Goodstory, and is on twitter at @colin_falconer.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Funny Friday Photos XI

This has been a wonderful, relaxing week.  I hope you all had a nice week, too.

Today I am posting over at the Life List Club blog on banishing negativity from our lives.  I'd love to have you stop by, if you have the time!  You can also peruse Wednesday's post by Gary Gauthier about creativity while you're there!

My house is a lot more clean that it was last week.  I have been a blog post writing maniac. I've gotten to read and comment on some interesting blog posts.  I've begun critiquing a fascinating story.  I've started researching for my next novel, and the only thing I haven't done yet is actually write some fiction.  I decided to write a short story while I research for Age of Stars, but am stymied on a story idea.  I'll have to give it a little more thought.

I will not go back to Fan Pop, since many of us had picture viewing problems.  If you want to see some funny pictures, though, go check out their site. There's a ton of good, funny photos.

Now, on to this weeks photos!

This kitty needs to meet Fluffy, Destroyer of Worlds.

It took me a minute to see what's waiting on the side.

That's just scary.

I had to look up Sisyphus, and then it was funny.

The first is my favorite.  The fluffy hater kitty.  The otter is cute, though.  Reminds me of Vicente in The Princess Bride, for some reason.  Have a happy weekend!

Does any particular picture tickle your funny bone?

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Coincidences Make Life Interesting

Medicine Bow National Forest
When I was thirteen, I used to spend my summers in the Medicine Bow National Forest.  My grandfather had built and run a hunting lodge there, sold it, and then my father and aunt had it return to them in the late 80's.  The buildings were rundown and falling apart.  Our respective families tried--in vain--to get it back into top condition.  No running water on the premises meant we had to drive an hour and a half every couple of weeks into Laramie, Wyoming to do laundry.

As we would drive by the University of Wyoming, I always thought to myself, "I sure would like to go to college there."  I could imagine myself on campus.  It felt "right" to want to go there.

My traditional college attending age came and went.  I spent some time at a college in the Nebraskan town I lived in, and then had to begin working to pay off hospital bills I accrued when I was nineteen.  Time passed, and I figured I'd never go to college, much less UW.  And then, I turned twenty-eight.  I'd paid off my hospital bills, and decided I better get my behind to college so I could earn a decent living and get out of my parent's house.  Guess where I went.  Yep, UW.  When I did finally set foot on the campus as a student, it felt almost preordained.  At the very least, it's a fun coincidence.

My life is full of coincidences like that.  My husband is another one.  My grandmother called him my "mashad" (totally a phonetic spelling, by the way) the first time she met him.  A mashad is Italian for "match," as in "Matchmaker, Matchmaker, make me a match.  Find me a find. Catch me a catch."  We weren't even dating.  I had the same feeling when I saw him walking down the street, before I'd ever met him.  It took a little under ten years, but we did end up married.

Next week, I get to welcome a guest to Motivation for Creation who is another of those coincidences.

In the early nineties, I read, no...devoured...this fascinating book about a woman with red hair who was kidnapped and forced to become part of a harem.  The story is about how she rose (connived) her way to the top of the harem and even the Empire.  I read the entire novel in one day.  Periodically, over the twenty-ish years since I read the book, I would think about it, and wonder who the author was, and what the name of the book was. 

Last summer, I read a post on Writer Unboxed about heroes that resonated with me.  The author was Colin Falconer, and I started following him on Twitter, and followed his blog, Looking for Mr. Goodstory.  I also won his newest release, Silk Road, from Corvus Books.  We have chatted every now and then, through blog comments and twitter, and he is a very gracious fellow.

Sidenote:  One of my embarrassing twitter stories involves him, and if you want to read it, you can go here.

This winter, one of Colin's blog posts was about his book, Harem.  (Do you see where this is going?)  After some discussion, and Colin sending me Harem so I could read it and see if I recognized it, I realized that this was indeed the book and the author I had enjoyed so much twenty-ish years ago.

And now we are exchanging guest posts!  Maybe it isn't a big deal, but when I think about all the changes in my life leading up to me becoming a writer, and then just the happenstance of reading that one post on Writer Unboxed, I have to shake my head.

Those "in the right place at the right time" moments help my optimism stay in the top of the Optimism Register.  They help me believe things can end up right, even if things look so very wrong from my current point of view.  It's coincidences like these and others that make me believe in everyday magic.

Colin will be visiting on June 12 to share about his misadventures on a book tour in Mexico, and I'll be posting over at Looking For Mr. Goodstory on the 15th about my experiences with psychopaths when I worked on the Criminal Justice Unit of the State Mental Hospital.  I hope you will come back next week and give Colin a fine welcome!

Do you have coincidences like these in your life?  Please share them in the comments section.  I'd love to hear about them!


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