Monday, October 22, 2012

Things Every One's Talking About: NANOWRIMO

Since people in the writing world typically post about the same nonsense over and over again. I'm going to join in the on the fun, especially when it's a topic I can get behind. So if I see a bunch of posts over a few weeks that deal with the same stuff I'll chime in. What the hey, right?

This week every one's talking about: NANOWRIMO

It's around the bend, 10 days away in fact, and people are blogging, shop talking and app downloading in preparation. Some do it for fun, some do it because they genuinely want new material to work with in the new year, and others just do it because they do it every year. Sounds like a new sexual position, but alas it's writing. Hardcore, labor intensive writing. You're expected to produce 50,000 words in a month.

To most this may not be hard, but factor in the Thanksgiving turkey stuff fest, the biggest shopping day of the year, and the bed binge afterward... 50K doesn't seem so easy now does it? If you're still saying it's easy then you're probably published or you don't care about the quality of what you produce. This is a creative juice fest for sure. It's about the fast draft and downloading as many creative ideas onto your word document as possible.

Will I Nano? Yes Mork! I will, Nanu Nanu. My goal isn't to start from scratch. I got a head start plopping 20k down on my current novel in 10 days. I figure this gives me a 10 day rest period if I need it. I'm also shooting for 80k or around about in there.

Will I post updates or use fancy gizmos for motivation? No, but there's plenty available. You can find all sorts of motivating apps and tools to help you gear up. From plotting outlines to Write or Die. I don't buy into those app dealies. I tend to use my critique partner for motivation. Every time we talk we experience a sudden urge to produce words. So it's a win-win!

So enough about me, what about you? Will you Nanu Nanu? What tips and stratagems can you offer?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Anti-Bullying Month: My Story

After some much needed attention, posted my dear friend Lori Sizemore (check out her post), I was reminded October is National Bullying Prevention Month. At first I wasn't going to post, why post really? There's tons of people who were bullied as children, myself included, but there are others out there with worse stories then mine. Then Bill Cameron, on my tweet feed, posted this link. The story inspired, enraged and put forth the moment where I had to speak out.

My story:
I was in elementary school. My family: a middle class, hard-working unit, with 2 parents and every 3-4 years adding a new sibling. I was the oldest. My father's words were:
"You can do anything you want to do. All you have to do is use your head."
Beauty, make-up, fancy clothes, those were things we couldn't afford so the fail safe involved my smarts. And boy, was I smart. Straight A's, and I loved learning. The kids didn't love me. My hand-me-down clothes were ugly. My family was poor, and many a time I found myself exposed to the cruelty of my friends, whether getting hit in the head with a kickball and laughed at until I ran crying or ganged up on by a group of 15 girls with teachers standing by and doing nothing.

I went to my father with my troubles, the pressures from my peers making we long to stay home. I hated recess with every fiber of my being. I couldn't hide at recess. My father said:
"Don't fight. Walk away. They'll give up after a while. Tell the teacher."
Except none of those things worked. I walked, they followed. They had 30 minutes to follow me around. I almost got my head pushed into a brick wall, and I'd told the teachers. They were cruel, mean, and when I got to middle school I worked doubly hard to fade into the dark. I tried to avoid bringing myself to the center of attention. Didn't want to make friends, except for a small group. Sure I knew every one's names, but my circle of 4 friends were enough to keep me happy. They didn't make fun of me or try to push me around.

The unfortunate thing is that my sense of self worth diminished. My father's endless tirades of awesome I was because of my brain power paled in comparison to the pretty girls, with the nice clothes, and the boyfriends. Secretly I wanted attention. I wanted to be liked and loved by everyone. I sought those feelings in the wrong places and by high school lost my virginity a few months into freshman year. My belief was it would give me some sort of staying power. It didn't, and if I wasn't careful I'd become a slut behind closed doors or an emotional wreck because the one guy who took a precious part of me shared it with everyone he knew. Thankfully, all of this occurred before the age of the cell phone and social media, and I stopped myself from committing the worst. Because at some point you realize these people who are making fun of you don't matter. You'll grow up and you'll get away from them, move away to greener pastures.

In this day in age the silly things we do as high schools and teenagers are no longer just a part of life or privy to the inner circle of 20-30 people that can't 'prove' what happened. The idiot who took my maidenhead couldn't prove it. But now with cell phones being in every one's hands, Facebook and YouTube uploading a press of a finger away, your most intimate moments become available to the world seconds after they happen. Children and teenagers must be taught to avoid peer pressure. Don't fall into the trap that says let's do this, whether on the bullying or the not-bullying side. When someone calls you weird embrace it. When they make fun of your clothes say 'thank you'. Attempt to walk away, but be ready to stand your ground. Sometimes the best reaction is a positive one. The words hurt, and even as an adult I hear things about myself that hurt, but I always remember at the end of the day I'm the one who's got to be happy with who I am. Not them, and most bully's do what they do because they aren't happy.

Side note: On the last recess of fifth grade, the next year would be middle school, I confronted one of my elementary bullies. I finally said: "What's your problem? Why me?" Her response was: "Because you act all high and mighty because you have a daddy and I don't know who mine is."  Now, I never acted high and mighty about anything. Yes, I have a father, but I didn't parade the fact around like it was something special. This other girl had nice clothes, got to each lunch at school every day while I took bologna sandwiches, and everyone liked her.  Funny how this one social difference she held against me, even though it was something outside of my control. If I'd asked her a long time ago what her problem was would she have kept bullying me? We'll never know, but after 5th grade she didn't bully me ever again.

This post was inspired by Lori Sizemore and @WhenALionSleeps. Visit Rachel @ When a Lion Sleeps, Let it Sleep and blog your own story. We all have one and it's important to share them. Let's learn from past mistakes, and others actions. Let's learn how to teach our children to break the cycle.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Reading List: September 2012

It's been review land for me over the last couple of months. I'm also trying out new things in the writing realm. As I move into October I'm working to finish wrapping up my reviews for the year. The goal is to somehow write like an insane woman, and read the rest of my review commitments.

If you've sent a request via email and I haven't responded rest assured you're on my list. I need a time turner, a magic mirror or a hour glass that can give me extra hours. Anything for more time, and now I know what it feels like to let people down. Regardless, I've got a few things on my mind that I'm hoping to share...soon.

1. Tempting the Bride by Sherry Thomas**
2. Royal Pain by Megan Mulry**
3. Eyes of the Seer by Peter Dawes*
4. The Angel by Tiffany Reisz***
5. Seducing Mr. Knightly by Maya Rodale**
6. A Notorious Countess Confesses by Julie Anne Long**
7. Head Over Heels by Susan Andersen*
8. Dark Before Dawn by Stacy Juba*
9. Seduced by a Pirate by Eloisa James**
10. Lord of Temptation by Lorraine Heath**
11. Mistletoe Bride by Vanessa Kelly**
*Review available on IndieBooksRUs
**Review available or upcoming on The Season
***Review available on this blog.