Saturday Stories

I’m going to be completely honest with you right now…I have no idea how much I wrote last week. I know I wrote around 3 thousand (plus) words if we combine the blog posts, short story, and chapter book work. However, most of that was admittedly on one article. I haven’t typed up Paulonious Punk’s wordage for the week so I can’t know what the exact count is there…it isn’t anywhere close to the 2000 I wanted. I’m going to guess that count was less than 500.

So why am I admitting this to you? Well, I want to be truthful and I want to be held accountable for my goals, even if that means telling all of you lovely people that I failed for the week.

What did I do?

  1. wrote 4 handwritten pages of Paulonious Punk.

2. wrote 1 flash fiction story 1st draft for contest.

3. turned in the short story I’ve been working on to the contest for which it was intended.

4. read about 200+ pages in 3 different books…but haven’t completed any of them yet. I’m hoping to change that today.

5. Had a Marvel Movie Weekend with my mother and daughter

How did your week go? Were there any goals you met, or didn’t meet, that you’d be willing to discuss? Leave me a comment and let’s get a conversation going!

On to the Short Story! This week’s excerpt is from Dragon on My Neck, Book 1 of The Stone Dragon Saga (currently available on Amazon)

“I bet that silver will look great with your complexion,” Jane announced, “Try it on!”

“OK, you don’t have to twist my arm,” Arianna giggled and slipped the heavy silver choker around her neck. She jogged through the kitchen and hallway to admire her image in the bathroom mirror.

“Oh Jane, isn’t beautiful?!” Arianna gushed, moving her head from side to side in order to better see the glint of her necklace against her pale skin.

“Very nice,” Jane agreed, “I like the way the silver and stones peek through your dark hair, it’s like you have lights under there.”

“COOL!” Arianna moved her head some more to catch the effect and the girls giggled.

“Nice? COOL?” A tiny but deep voice interrupted, “How about gorgeous? I like that one, or Handsome, since I am a male.”

Jane stared again at Arianna’s necklace as she watched its head move and its mouth open again, “Well…ladies have you lost the ability to speak? I’m sure you were speaking English. Let’s see, how about French? German maybe? Irish?” The dragon repeated himself in many languages, including a clucking noise that sounded like chickens running through a farmyard. When the girls finally answered though, it was in English again.

“What’s going on?” Arianna asked, too scared to try removing her necklace as it moved and chattered on her neck.

“I…I have no idea,” Jane replied, still gaping at the miniature dragon as it finally stopped talking and began to glare balefully at the roommates.

“Ummm…Mr. Dragon sir,” Arianna looked down at the bobbing head under her chin, “How can you talk to us?”

“I can talk any language, including animal and magical,” The dragon rather proudly announced, unlatching his tail and slithering down to the counter.

“Oh, How? I mean, no offense but you’re a necklace.” Arianna grimaced, “Or I thought you were.”

“I am,” The dragon grinned suddenly, a surprisingly cute addition to his features, “I am also a dragon that moves and speaks. I shoot fire from my nose and ice blasts from my throat.” This time he growled and puffed himself importantly.

“Fire and Ice?” Jane asked incredulously, “That’s pretty amazing, especially for a dragon of your umm…stature.”
The dragon snorted a flame in Jane’s direction and turned it to a ice pellet with his breath, wheezing out what sound like a giggle as it hit her arm.

 

“Ok, well…obviously I was mistaken.” Jane took a few steps back from the counter and earned another smile from the creature on the counter.

 

“What’s your name?” Arianna asked, “I hate to keep calling you ‘the necklace’ since you’re alive and all.”

“Thank you,” The dragon nodded his head regally at Arianna, “My name is….Al.”

 

“AL?”

 

“Its short for Aliphonsore,” he shuddered, “My mother saddled me with that name.”

 

“OK, Al…I like it,” Arianna decided, “I’m Arianna and this is Janice.”

 

“Jane, please,” Jane replied, “And I call her Anna.”

 

“Pleased to meet you,” Al answered, happy to finally be getting to know his new mistresses.

 

“Al, how did you become a necklace?” Arianna wondered aloud.

 

“Let’s go find somewhere comfortable for you two to sit, and I’ll tell you.”

 

After gathering hot tea and snacks, the girls settled onto the soft couch in their living room and Al positioned himself on the coffee table, beginning to stretch his wings as he contemplated how to begin his story.

Too Many Minions?

Have you ever received a rejection letter that really just didn’t make sense to you? If not…please skip the miniature tirade in this paragraph and move on to the fun below. Otherwise, read on here: I just got one in regards to the following post. If they had just said, “This is not the type of content that we feel our readers would enjoy” and left it at that, I would have been fine. Perhaps I would have been a little miffed, nothing more than a minute or two of agitation couldn’t handle, and then I would have moved on. But that sentence was immediately followed by the words, “We are looking for lists that are remarkable—lists that make you go “wow!” This list is missing that remarkability” and then the suggestion that I learn how to cite my sources…fyi, the only source here is my brain. If I used another source, I would certainly cite it! I am feeling fairly frustrated at the moments because a) multiple rejections for either my work (submitted to places such as the above, though most with much nicer rejections like “we are not accepting submissions at this time) and b) the site asked for unique content but the rejection letter made it clear that my ‘unique’ content needed to fall into line with everyone else. I don’t know, I don’t often write lists so maybe this isn’t a “WOW!” what do you think?

Found by searching bing images for Minions

The Despicable Me franchise, and specifically the little yellow Minions themselves, has amassed a loyal following made up of movie lovers from the ages of 0-100. In my family we watch them at least weekly, even if only the short videos. There have even been multiple occasions in which 4 generations (4!) gathered together and watched a Despicable Me. Completely lovable in their anti-hero personas, Gru, Dr. Nefario, Steve, Mark, Phil, Tim, Dave, and all the rest secured a place in our hearts at least equal to Disney Princess status (and much less grating than having to watch “Let it Go” yet again). With the Minion movie coming out soon, the little yellow guys are enjoying a resurgence in their popularity, causing even more minion mayhem than usual.

So how do you know if you’ve watched these films a time or two too many? Well, that’s why I’m here! Here is a list of the Top Ten Ways You Know You’ve Watched Despicable Me too Much (If there is such a thing)…Don’t worry, I am guilty of all of them…and so much more!

  • Anytime someone asks you for something “pretty please” you’re automatic response is “The Physical Appearance of the Please does not matter!”

Gru says this to Edith, Agnes, and Margo near the beginning of their relationship in response to their request for a bedtime story. This sets the basis for a very funny moment a little later, and a moving and heartwarming moment toward the end of the movie. This also gave parents and teachers around the world a great come back for the ever present “Pretty Please.” Because, let’s face it, “I said no and I meant it” just gets tired.

  • Your child (and now you, to some extent) sincerely believes that a fire engine makes the sound “Be-do, Be-do, BEE-DO”

Because if a minion said it, it must be true right? RIGHT!? Ok, so the sound is somewhat similar if you think about it but this is one of those things that you take videos of for posterity while thanking the Good Lord Above that toddlers cannot actually make the sound of a fire or police siren.

  • You have actually tried to build one or more real working prototypes of Dr. Nefario’s little toys (Fart gun anyone??)

Toy Stores such as WalMart sale so those little replicas and plushy dolls. My child has a Dave that says 25 different phrases, burps, and can fart 4 different ways. I swear I rolled over in bed one night, kicked the thing hidden in my covers, and he said PAPOY! Scared me half to death!

Not only are these toys fun (F-U-N!!) but they also allow grown adults to spend time pretending to shoot farts at each other from a gun…a gun that at least 2 of my friends have attempted to build. (Sadly for them, they couldn’t figure out how to get the ‘gas’ effect just right…I tried hard to be upset with them, truly I did.)

  • You believe that a Squid Launcher could actually be a marketable tool.

Here’s one I haven’t seen at a toy store yet: Vector’s ‘launcher’ gun. I cannot tell you how much I would love to have one within arm’s reach most days. Being interrupted is a pet peeve and I’m pretty sure that if I had a squid or piranha launcher I could take care of that rude little problem fairly quickly. (side note: Does anyone else always say piranha and at least silently add “I’m a Piranha, they live in the Amazon?” from Finding Nemo)

  • Any Pharrell song (especially Happy or Where Them Girls At) comes on the radio and your 2 year old yells, “MY MOVIE MY MOVIE, WANT PICABLE!”

They don’t forget that either! You can be in the car on the way to dinner/movie/shopping/etc and when you get home 6 hours later BAM! They haven’t been in the house 30 seconds and that dvd case is being waved in front of you with ‘Pickle Me’ being chanted over and over and over until you wear down and find yourself hoping you remembered to DVR the 3 shows you were thinking of watching.

  • The word ‘fluffy’ not only snuck its way back into your vocabulary, it now has its own voice.

Seriously, try saying fluffy without the weird growly but childish and kind of high pitched voice that you now believe to be intrinsic to the pronunciation…sounds hideous doesn’t it?

  • You have to mentally correct yourself before asking your child if they want a “Bapple” or “BA-NA-NA”

This is a particular challenge in my home because she sometimes will not respond if you merely say ‘banana.’ Oh no, you must use the correct tone and, depending on the time and how hungry she is, you may have to actually do the slow motion yell from the ‘Banana’ short film.

  • Despicable Me’s Theme (aka-I’m Having a Bad Bad Day…) is either your ring/message tone or one of your ‘happy’ songs (funny enough, Happy is also one of your ‘happy’ songs!).

Do you know every word of these songs? What about dance moves or little almost involuntary glitches for certain parts? Yeah, me neither…I don’t know what you’re talking about. Let’s move on then…

  • Your toddler and parental unit know the dance moves and have the film timed out so that, without being in the same room or paying attention, they can converge on the television and do a disco dance party.

This can’t possibly just be in my house, right? Please somebody tell me that you too have been awakened from a sappy ending coma by your mother and/or child yelling “TIME TO DANCE!” as they run to block your hazy view and proceed to disco dance right there in front of God and everybody like they have no shame at all.  This can also happen randomly when listening to a radio station that includes songs from the 60s/70s because every once in a while someone plays the BeeGees and BAM! “MY MOVIE MY SONG DANCE DANCE” is being yelled from the back seat. If this has never happened to you, I feel mixed emotions on your behalf.

  • Every day your child searches for the moon. Then he/she tries to grab it. On days when the moon is ‘new’ and not visible for them, they blame Gru and demand we make him give it back again.

Though mostly self-explanatory, if you have never heard a toddler or young child excitedly exclaim “I’ve got the moon” in their best Gru accent while they clutch wildly at the air between then and the moon…I urge you to find the nearest young child that will do such a thing for you (after having a nice conversation with their parents, who you hopefully are quite well acquainted with) and hang out until you hear it. That, my friend, is worth the price of admission. My child, being the creative sort, also likes to draw “big big pictures’ of the moon and then demand Mommy (that’s me) translate her ‘language’ so everyone knows that those scribbles mean “I’ve got it! I’ve Got the Moon!”

Also on this topic, there is a great debate going on in my family as to whether or not the werewolf would have actually turned back into a nekked man when the moon disappeared, since it IS still full even though it was shrunk. So if the rules are ‘full moon’ then they should still apply no matter the size. Just a little extra food for thought (a pre-bonus bonus if you will)

BONUS: You have definitely watched the movie too much when even the DOG has his/her own favorite parts and knows when to come in for them!

The 12 year old Rottie will come in for the beginning of both 1 & 2, then grumbles and leaves around 20-30 minutes in (after Kyle latches on to the coffee shop loot in 1 and after the viewing of the purple rabbit in 2). He then returns for the end of 1…and more notably, for the attack of the chicken booby trap in 2 (then he leaves and returns for the EPIC MINION MELEE).

Phew! Did I leave anything out?  Thankfully, my daughter also adores Tinkerbell and Curious George so we get a break. My poor parents had to endure hours upon hours of Jem and the Holograms (I have no idea why my kid won’t sit through that with me, I still have my VHS tape from when I was 2 and NETFLIX even put it on the KIDS site!) But really, I can’t complain about re-watching movies all of the time. I did that long before I had a child and you know what else? I may or may not have watched the 2nd one during her ‘rest’ time last week….without her to be my ‘reason’ for sitting through the whole thing and laughing at every joke.

“Because I’m HAPPY!”

Do you —Review?

 

 

Have you ever found a book or movie that just made you so excited that you HAD to tell someone?? Or maybe it was so poorly written or full of drivel that you wanted to stop your loved ones from wasting their time?? Have you ever posted on a social media site how ‘totes excited <3’ you are to start a new book, or to have purchased a new book/cd/movie etc.? OF COURSE YOU HAVE! If you haven’t ever found something entertaining that got you worked up then you need to stop taking the pick axe to the rocks and go troll the store for a while!

But here’s the thing…the real point to this post: How often do you take the next step and write a review on the piece? How often have you gone to Amazon.com, found the book you just finished, scrolled down to ‘write a customer review’ and actually WRITTEN A CUSTOMER REVIEW? For most of us the answer to that question is either ‘never’ or ‘not often.’

As a consumer I can completely understand this lack of completing the circle. We have things to do, after all, that do not include trolling internet stores and rating items. I usually finish a book somewhere around the 2 am mark and write a review for the blog in the next day or two. Occasionally I will remember to go post a link, but not usually. Usually I just bop along, and then I wonder why I’ve sold a few books, given away dozens, and still only have 3 book reviews TOTAL on Amazon, 2 from the same guy.

As an author, I am saddened, dismayed, paranoid, and frustrated by the lack of feedback.

So how do we fix this stagnation? How can we as consumers help those we consume? Why don’t we all start by writing a review of something today? It doesn’t have to be long and involved, it can just as easily be short and sweet: I like this book. Good flow, good story, 5 stars. Etc.

Your turn! Go tell a blogger what you like, or dislike, about their work. Have a favorite blogger who published something that you’ve read? Go review that book and link back to the blog you love so much. Have a favorite book from your childhood? A Movie you adore? An artist you hate? Go make you voice heard, constructively please, and help the people who entertain you. We certainly need it.

 

Too School for Cool

so true.  I always get the weirdest looks from people when I am super enthusiastic about things.  And I'm like, what? You mean you never met someone who loved being alive?  You mean YOU don't love being alive?  Dude, that sucks I'm sorry.

When I tell people what I do I usually get one of two reactions:

  1. “You’re an author??” look of mingled concern, incredulity, and very slight admiration. “No wonder you live with your parents at the age of almost 30 and are still single. Wow. Cool. Good for you following your dream!”
  2. “You’re an author??” gleam of narcissistic hope lights behind eyes. “sweet! I always wanted to write but work/school/family/friends/etc. got in the way. I have tons of short stories/half-finished novels/poems at home just waiting for me to find the time. Would you like to read some??”

Somewhere between ½ and ¾ of the time both reactions happen in the same person within seconds of each other. Most of those people are not ones that would ever illicit the idea that they enjoy writing. In fact, some of them are individuals that I didn’t know could write more than their name and the title of their favorite store. However, the truth is that no matter how ‘un-writerly’ someone seems to us, everyone has a story. The difference is, I display mine and revel in the telling of it.

When you add to that my education degree, upcoming first full year of teaching, and various other interests (movies, books, music, playing music, games, etc.), you get the formula for a lot of name calling in the fashion of ‘nerd’, ‘geek’, or ‘dork’. Even my vague sense of fashion has been described as ‘nerdy bohemian teacher type’ (which is better than the weird geek bohemian hippie goth that I got called a few years ago…not even sure how that happened!).

You see, we all get told from an early age that brains and quirk are important, more important that our looks even. But then we learn better. By the time children reach elementary school, most of them will be able to tell you which kid is ‘weird,’ ‘nerdy,’ or ‘athletic,’ and the weird and nerdy ones aren’t on the cool list. It isn’t ‘cool’ to love reading and science and math. It isn’t ‘awesome’ to enjoy school…unless you have a class that encourages integration and fun, hands on learning, but even then the chess nerds are going to be picked on.

So how, in the middle of this mess, did being a nerd suddenly become cool?? The answer is incredibly simple…we grew up. So now kids who grew up in the 80s and 90s are the adults and the weird kid with the Ninja Turtles back pack, the Care Bears lunch box, and the Hobbit weighing down her 3rd grade homework is a teacher, and a writer, and an encourager of crazy nerdism.

The best part is that being a nerd is all inclusive. We accept anyone, anyway they come. All you have to do is get excited about something. Be passionate about what you love and do what you’re passionate about. Cosplay, science, drawing comic books, marching band, movie marathons…do it all! And when someone calls you a nerd, thank them. Leave them wondering what’s so awesome in your life because you know what, it is much cooler to live a life you love than to live a life that other people deem ‘popular’ or ‘cool’ just because they don’t understand. Most superheroes…NERDS! Real-life actors, actresses, millionaires, teachers, and business people? They’re nerdy too! Even a lot of the pro athletes are NERDS! So come on! BE A NERD! It’s the cool thing to do 😉

If you don’t believe me, go watch this video of Wil Wheaton explaining why it is awesome to be a nerd.

http://www.wimp.com/awesomenerd

May the force be with you as you live long and prosper while avoiding muggles and orcs during your journey to Mordor with the one ring that will unlock the Mortal Instruments and bring back the Doctor for Sherlock. 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Randomness: Lazy OCD

I have what I like to refer to as a lazy form of obsessive compulsiveness. Now, what I mean is that while someone with full blown OCD must do pretty much EVERYTHING in a certain way or for a certain number/amount of times, my issues are more focused on things that I care about and, of course, picture placement (really people, it isn’t that difficult to center items and make sure they hang straight!).

For example, my books and movies are painstakingly organized to my own system and I have miniature panic attacks if they get moved around out of order. On the other hand, my clothes are lucky to get folded and placed in the correct drawer after washings.

My flute and music are in order and well maintained, my pens and craft items are set up specifically, and my old notebooks and journals are lined up according to year AND content. I count the number of steps I take between oft traversed areas, the number of steps up or down anywhere, and I kiss my daughter three times, every time. However, my refrigerator is often an unorganized mess of forgotten left overs and unused fruit. (I do my best to fight my disorder…obviously I win sometimes).

Do you have pieces of your life that you must have ‘just so’ or you freak out? Do you obsess over things like that? Or do you have full out OCD?? What steps do you have to take each day so that you feel like everything is in order?

One thing I have to do now that I’ve started it, is to end posts with this blessing: May you have a Blessed Day and may your compulsions lead to great materials!

Don’t let that stop you from commenting with your own stories!

Weekend Three: Who are you Reading…or watching…this weekend

This week’s Who are you Reading article has two missions.  The first is to ask that you, my wonderful readers, leave me a comment telling me what book you are reading and/or what movie made from a book you are watching this weekend.  (Message in a Bottle, Twilight, Harry Potter, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, and Willy Wonka are all on different channels of my cable television today). 

I really am VERY interested in hearing from you all, so please do not be shy in commenting!

 

The second mission of this humble entry is to let you know that I have placed both of my currently available books on the ‘free download’ list for kindle and compatible devices.

Dragon on My Neck (The Stone Dragon Saga, Book 1)

and

Dragon in My Yard (The Stone Dragon Saga, Book 2)

will BOTH be available for FREE download beginning tonight (September 28th) at midnight, and running through midnight on Monday (September 30th).

My hope is that many of you will download, read, and recommend…and even, dare I say it, review or comment with your thoughts and opinions. I look forward to seeing the numbers and, hopefully, reading the comments.

As always, Keep on Reading and have a Blessed Day!