Monday, September 30, 2013

Theme Park: What is Love?

The other day my youngest son came into my bedroom while I was getting ready to face yet another work day to give me a hug. I held him tightly, he held me tightly and I couldn't help but say "I love you." In his sweet voice he said, "I love you, too, Mommy," and then he left to get his backpack for school, leaving me in that deliciously cozy state of knowing I'm loved and needed by another human being.

Photo by Stuart Miles at
What I wondered, though, (because I have to over-analyze everything) is how does he know what love is? When he says "I love you" does his words mean the same as mine? Does he experience the same feelings of tenderness and vulnerability that make his heart hurt at the thought of being separated from me? Is love an innate emotion? One that we are born with and, depending on our lot in life, is nurtured with parental love, or withers in the desert of neglect?

And there are so many different kinds - love between adults, love between parents and children, love between siblings, love between friends, love for nature, love for pets, romantic love, puppy love, the list can go on and on. 

I've had some comments on Finding Meara from people dismayed that there are relationships included in the story line. Because the romance aspect is a sub-plot, I don't mention it in the blurb (it's hard enough to explain the plot) and so the readers were surprised to find some romance in the adventure promised. I've contemplated adding something like "Warning: Contains Romance" at the bottom of the blurb.

Photo by Boians Cho Joo Young at

To me, love is one of the biggest mysteries and miracles in the world. It is precious and is one way we can touch the face of God or experience the grandeur of the universe. I can't help but include some aspect of love in every story I write. Our relationships help define us as human beings and I can't really imagine writing about people (characters) without including their relationships with others. 

What do you think? Is love a basic part of the human condition? Do you find relationships in stories that are not romances to be distracting or a pleasant addition?  What do you think love is? Inquiring minds want to know!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Funny Friday Photos: Cats and Dog

Happy Friday!

I am glad this week is over. It has been long and exhausting. The day job has chewed me up and spit me out! I actually fell asleep while finding the pictures for this installment of funny photos, and now I can't quit yawning.

Me, right now.
Last week's winner for funniest photo is:

And here's this week's edition of funny photos!

I love those little flop-eared cats!

The owner above needs this book.

This is the cutest dog video I've seen in a long time. It comes from Facebook, so I may have shared it with you already, but it's worth watching more than once, for sure! My children have me play it over and over and I do so happily because it just makes me laugh. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Finally, it's not really a pun, but it's clever...

Have a wonderful weekend! My favorite is the tall cat/pile cat.

Which is your favorite?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

For The Writers: How Deep Are You?

The other day a coworker said to me, "You know, you don't talk much, but what you do say is profound and really means a lot to people."

I was absolutely shocked that anyone would think I'm profound. Or that I don't talk much, actually.

It would be wonderful if I felt profound. I wouldn't have trouble coming up with blog posts, because I'd just take it for granted what I had to say would be interesting and worthy of someone's time. When I sat down to write a scene or a chapter I wouldn't worry that what I was writing was too shallow or stupid. I'd automatically know that it had the depths of knowledge and experience and would impact readers with its mighty theme.

Isn't that what we want as writers? 
To impact our readers? To tell a story that has meaning? 

There seems to be a perception that genre fiction is not "thinking" fiction - literary fiction is where the thinkers go. But I don't think only literary fiction writers want to be profound. Don't we all want to share a bit of our understanding of the world with others, and hopefully make a connection with them or help them see the world in a slightly (or maybe not so slightly) different way?

Personally, I don't think there has to be an either/or in genre fiction. We can write meaningful (profound, even) stories wrapped up in suspense, fantasy or science fiction. After all, some of the most profound short stories on the human condition I've read have come from science fiction writers. It's this belief that causes me to stop and pause and rethink every plot point and turn of phrase.

I've been enjoying Art Holcomb's Rule Book and Improving Your Fiction guest posts over at Storyfix. He explains how by deepening the character arcs of our characters, we deepen the meaning of the story. He has some very usable writing tools to help writers bring their stories to a deeper level.

I haven't been able to really utilize the charts and questions he poses. Hopefully, after completing the homework that goes along with the posts, I'll feel profound enough to quit second-guessing every thing I type and feel confident to just tell the story.

How do you deepen your stories? Do you have a favorite resource/book that explains how to create a profound story?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Funny Friday Photos

And here's Friday! I hope this week went better for you - no matter if last week was crappy or if it was the best week so far. If this week is better, it's a win-win for everyone.

I have absolutely nothing profound to say, so I'll just move on to the photos. I hope your weekend is fun and filled with joy.

Last week's winner for funniest photo was:

Are you ready for the new photos? Here you go!

Me when I make chocolate chip cookies. A dozen cookies and several globs of cookie dough later, I feel sick enough to actually stop.

I believe the cat is serious.

It's right - I can't! The floof got me!

Zombie Ninja Cat

Pulp Fiction comes to mind, where Vincent and Mia dance. You know...Right?

Umm, the dog looks like it could use a little help.

Murrrr-durrrr. You know, from the movie Minority Report?

I think you're right.

And a pun of gratitude for all of you who keep coming and reading Funny Friday Photos:

This week is a tough call, but I think I'll go with the dog in the blinds. It looks so helpless and... caught. 

Which do you like the best?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Something Bizarre Happened: Zombies and Links

I can't believe it, but again, nothing that bizarre has happened in the last month. One incident that recently occurred gave me some things to think about, though.

Photo from
A week ago I was driving down the interstate to pick up my children from school. It's a lengthy drive, and the roadway is littered with all kinds of billboards, whose messages I pretty much ignore. A plain white billboard with red lettering caught my attention. I didn't really read the sign, more I absorbed the letters and formed the sign in my head. It said: "For Sale: 55 Acres" and below that, "No zombies."

What? Total double take. It actually read "For Sale: 55 Acres" and then "No zoning allowed." 

I started to wonder about the potential meaning of the sign if it did say "no zombies." Did it mean that the sellers wouldn't sell to zombies, even if they were upstanding citizens with decent credit?

Did it mean that there was a zombie proof fence encircling the fifty-five acres? On the outside ravenous zombies stretched down the length of the fence, while the inside was pristine and zombie-free? How would anyone keep zombies out of the fifty-five acres?

And, if we discriminate against zombies, can Wyoming really be called "The Equality State?"

In any case, it gave me a chuckle. Then, later that evening, I was perusing posts and status updates on Facebook and misread a post on beading to be about beheadings. I gave up and went to bed.

Here's a couple of links to some blog posts and articles I've found interesting. Have a great rest of your week!

* The Best Days of My Life by Hugh Howey on Indie Reader. (I just enjoyed the sentiments.)

* Weird Finding Suggest We Live in a Saddle-shaped Universe on NBC News. (This interests me because there are Multiverses in another one of my works in progress, The Age of Stars.)

Feel Good
* The Most Astounding Fact. Ever from Upworthy (Around 3min10sec it shows the neural-like network that all the billions of galaxies form. I love that.)

What kinds of things inspired you this last month?

Friday, September 13, 2013

Funny Friday Photos

Okay, now that we've got that out of the way... How was your week? I'm a little worried, because only three weeks into the school year I'm already feeling a little like this:

It's not bad - just very, very busy. I've been running around so much I've actually lost three pounds. There are perks to playground duty.

Are you ready for some photos? Last weeks winner was:

Here's the new ones!

Do belugas eat meat?

When your relationship with your pet requires therapy.

The poor elephant looks like it's going to explode!

And the coolest looking pun ever:

The clockodile.

Please remember to visit the start of Briane Pagel's blog tour for the release of Temporary Anne over at Life Is Good! I'm looking forward to reading the story on the go.

I'll be in Denver this weekend for fun time with my high school friends. I hope you all have a fun weekend, too! My favorite this time was Spidercats.

Which was your favorite?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Temporary Anne by Briane Pagel Is Coming!

And in honor of the release of this gothic horror story, Briane Pagel has come up with a unique and fun blog tour for us to enjoy. I'll let him tell you about it.

SHE'S ALMOST HERE... and I'd advise not being here when she arrives.

My name is Anne. With each day of my life, my actions brought me closer to Hell. Now, with each day of what is left of my existence, I struggle to avoid the fate that was set out for me -- or rather, not just to avoid it, but to master it. 

 A contemporary horror classic, "Temporary Anne" presents the terrifying tale of a woman who avoids eternal damnation by sending others to take her place, scrambling to avoid the minions of Mephistopheles while searching for a way to allow her ravaged body to serve her indomitable will. The frightening images -- demons made of ice, babies' souls consumed -- will stick with you for as long as Temporary Anne exists -- which is FOREVER.

Get it on Amazon for $0.99!  And watch for the blog tour where you can win free copies of this book and all my others.  The tour will be:

For this tour, I'll be offering not only giveaways of Temporary Anne and my other books, but I'll  be writing a short horror story on the go: I'll begin the story and each host and their readers will get to suggest where the story goes next.  It's a blog tour like no other! 

Monday, September 09, 2013

Creature Feature: Unicorn

The unicorn is a legendary animal whose roots extend as far back in history as the ancient Greeks, and across varied cultures, including the Chinese, Indian, African and European cultures. Different accounts give different descriptions throughout history, but the current unicorn is described as having the body of a horse, the tail of a lion, cloven hooves and a single, spiraled horn coming from the middle of it's forehead.

I have long had a secret love affair with unicorns. I haven't let on to my friends and family of my interest because it seemed so juvenile. Perhaps it is the association between unicorns and virgins that has created the aura of fluff around the once fierce and noble beast. Or maybe it's My Little Pony's fault. In any case, modern day unicorns seem to have been relegated to being play things for little girls.

But this was not always the case. Pre-My Little Pony, unicorns were thought of as fierce, intelligent and noble. They were considered brave creatures, wild and independent. They would choose to die, rather than to be captured alive. The spirit of the unicorn was so highly regarded that it was chosen as the national animal of Scotland.

Unicorn of Scotland on a Scottish Coat of Arms

On Friday I mentioned how I listened to Albannach a lot while writing Finding Meara. My favorite CD, The Eye of the Storm, has a wistful, wild, rebellious quality to it, and captures the essence of this new perspective I have of unicorns.

I hid unicorns in Finding Meara by creating an animal called the Suntaria, which is half pegasus and half unicorn. I think in book two, the unicorns will be coming out for a visit. And they will be beautiful, and wild, and rebellious.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Funny Friday Photos

Yay!!! We made it! It's Friday and the weekend is ready to begin. Wait. Is Friday considered a part of the weekend? I don't think so, because you still have to go to work. I could be wrong.

I'm rather happy to have been able to update the words completed on Adven 2 in my sidebar. I'm finally writing, and hopefully that will continue. Now, I just need to come up with a title... Maybe I should have a contest. One person suggested keeping with the "finding" theme, and call it "Finding Truth," or something like that. However, the Lulu Titlescorer gives "Finding Truth" a 55.4% chance of being a bestselling title. Obviously not a bad title, but not real eye catching, either.

Last week's funniest photo - winning by one vote - is:

And here are this week's! Quick warning - several are rather crass, but they made me laugh, so I went with them. I hope none of them offend anyone. Also, all photos are courtesy of I Can Has Cheeseburger.

Oh. My. Gosh... Unbelievable similarity!

Isn't this just what it feels like? Or if you walk into the restroom at work after someone has...
well, you know. Totally why I stock the staff bathroom with air freshener.

Ha! I love the drug ones. And I've never done drugs... Why do I find them so funny?

And our pun...

Don't mess with the chickens...

This weekend our family is taking a day trip to Estes Park, Colorado to enjoy the Longs Peak Scottish/Irish Festival. 

Our goals:

1. See Albannach perform and buy their new album, Runs In the Blood. I listened to lots of Albannach when I developed the Realm in Finding Meara. Linked below is one of my favorite songs.

2. Watch a little jousting

3. Buy swords with scabbards for the boys. You would think we have enough swords (or "blades" as the boys call them) but no! We need swords with scabbards, so they can draw the swords like in Lord of the Rings. Okay, to tell the truth, my little fantasy-filled heart is pleased as punch that they're so into swords and castles and slaying Orcs. 

What are your plans for the weekend?
Did you have a clear favorite photo this week?
I think my favorite is either Gandalf or Dog Weed. I can't decide.


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