Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Goonies Never Say Die!

Happy Tuesday! Hope everyone had a nice weekend and Thanksgiving if you celebrated. On Sunday I turned 39 so I thought today would be a great day to post on my birthday treat to myself--which actually occurred last month.

When I was 11 I saw this movie called The Goonies in the theater and I walked out a change girl. Ah, youth! Since then, I don't know if I've ever had a feeling that compared to that one.

I mean, what more can you ask for than middle class kids finding a treasure map in an attic and setting out on an adventure?? Plus, the setting in Astoria, Oregon just called to me. I loved the houses, the rocky beaches, the rain. Everything about it made me wish I lived there, and I've always wanted to visit.



Last month I finally made the trek to Oregon for a writer's retreat hosted by the lovely and talented Carol Riggs. The retreat appealed to me because I know from Carol's blog what a great writer she is, and the price was ridiculously affordable. So Hubby and I tied in a family vacation with the retreat and spent the week in beautiful Oregon.

After a little online research, I found that, to this very day, The Goonies still has a cult following that visit the famed Goon docks house in Astoria. The owners of the house encourage it, actually. How cool is that?? My 7 and 6 year old came with us and I think were a little baffled why I cared about seeing the Goonies house, even though they've seen the movie, they just weren't old enough to appreciate.

But Astoria is probably one of the prettiest, uniquest towns in the U.S.  I've ever been to (besides Sausalito), and just as I suspected, I could easily envision myself living there and writing books. So in celebration of another bucket list accomplishment and my 39th birthday, I wanted to share some pictures with you:

The sign on the way up the hill to the Goonies house.

The Goonies house. (I wanna live there)

Almost all the houses in Astoria are gorgeous and unique with so much character.


The Goon docks


Beautiful Astoria neighborhoods

Bridge to Washington State


Famous Astoria column--actual stone etchings depicting the early settlers and Native Americans on the sides.

View from the top of the column after a kazillion stairs

The rich emerald forests of Oregon just blew my mind. Trees bigger than ever. SO amazing.

Goonies beach!! If only I would've had a doubloon!


 At Heceta Head Lighthouse

Our cabin in the woods. So rustic and fun. We had no TV and kids just had fun watching the fire and sleeping in the loft.
Beautiful Silver Falls. This state park gave me lots if inspiration for stories!

Famous Voodoo Donuts in Portland. The wait for donuts was 90minutes minimum so no, I didn't buy any. That's fellow blogger, McKenzie McCann on the bench next to my daughter.


And of course Powell's City of Books. Wow you can get lost in this place. Awesome book madness!

Carol Riggs. Stop by and say hello to Carol. She's a star! We had a super workshop / critique session in the quiet Aldersgate Retreat. So restful and productive.

Thanks for sharing my trip with me. I can honestly say it was worth the cross country trek in many ways. From fulfilling a childhood fantasy (no matter how silly) to meeting a few fellow blogger/ writer friends, to enjoying the gorgeous Oregonian scenery with my family, who never missed TV or internet one single time. :)

Oh, and if you don't know already, Trisha at Words & Stuff is doing a Baby Face Blogfest on Dec. 1 where bloggers post a picture of themselves in those chubby cheek years. Sign up today!

Have you ever been to Oregon? Is there somewhere you've always wanted to visit? Are you a Goonies fan too? What's on your bucket list? Please share ...


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Gratitude

While Americans across the continent are getting in touch with their thankful side, I wanted to take the opportunity to show some of my gratitude to my friends in the blogosphere.

I'm thankful for:

* genuine friends, even if all I'll ever meet is your little floating head

* all the brainiac writers who never tire of sharing their brilliance

* giveaways! (even tho some self-promotion is involved)

* making new friends via contests and all the excitement that goes along with it

* pubbed writers extending a hand to un-pubbed writers on their path to publication

* funny posts!

* bloggers who remind me of important issues and those in need of help

* uplifting posts that inspire me to never give up

* book and movie recommendations, even when they're negative reviews

* your funny, heart-warming, and gracious comments on my posts

* that you take time to read my posts

THANK YOU!

And to my fellow Americans,

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!


Monday, November 19, 2012

My Wildest Moment

Former wild child here so this is a hard one to narrow down, BUT Krystal Wade is hosting a Wildest Moments contest for the release of her new book, Wilde's Meadow.


And she wants to know our wildest LIFE-CHANGING moment, in celebration of her third book in the Wilde series. Like I said, I've never been deprived of wild moments, but most were spontaneous whimsy that didn't actually change my life.

Which led me to this one moment I'm going to share with you, because it made me into a better, stronger person. Sorry it's long.

When I was 21 I moved back to my hometown from college town and met someone, fell in love, and began a relationship. This guy, whom I'll call Bronx (since that's where he was originally from) was the kind of guy that is what I call magnetic. His charisma, his wit, his humor, his looks, his style. Everything about him was compelling. I fell hard, and we continued a three year relationship that I wish I could say was a bed of roses.

BUT ...

It was far from it. Bronx liked to flake out on the spur of the moment. He was young, like me, but also self-absorbed, and even though the stunts he'd pull could've been from mere immaturity, they were the kind of stunts that hurt and made me question what it was I wanted and needed in a relationship. Every day.

Ah, but love is so fickle and stubborn, isn't it?? It didn't matter what Bronx did to hurt me, I always found a way to forgive and get past it. I wanted it to work. I loved him, and I loved being with him. I was willing to sacrifice some of my convictions in order to have him in my life because he was that magnetic.

He proposed to me, at Thanksgiving, many years ago, and I accepted. We were engaged and I had a diamond ring. I was ecstatic. It all appeared to be working out and I was going to get to marry my guy. Except, every time I'd mention setting a date, he'd change the subject. Or shrug. After a few months, I began to understand that the engagement ring was not a beginning of a life together, but instead, a kind of layaway plan in exchange for my loyalty. He gave me a ring to keep me around while he went off and did his own thing. I came last. Our relationship came last. There were never any wedding plans.

I was utterly confused. This was supposed to be the happiest time of my life and instead, I spent most evenings alone in tears. I was 23 at the time (so young when I look back at it now) and I should've been at the top of my game. I was doubting everything about myself because the guy who asked me to marry him didn't really want me around. Oh, he'd call and stop by, as if he were doing me a great favor, but there was no depth to it.

I wondered what was wrong with me. How could I be better? What should I do to fix whatever mistakes I'd made? How could I change to suit him better? I didn't understand it was him and not me that needed some adjusting. The final straw was when my birthday rolled around and he never called.  That was it. He'd been elusive for months before then, but that was the real eye-opener. I was done.

So there I was: heartbroken and with zero confidence. Something had to change, and fast. In my wildest moment(s) of clarity, I took off the ring, put it away, and booked myself a trip to Europe. My family thought I was nuts, but I didn't care. I left it all behind and flew to Italy alone where I spent two weeks touring the country and re-discovering myself. Rome, Florence, Venice, Tuscany ... showed me there was so much beauty in the world and to stop feeling sorry for myself. I soaked in all the art and culture and architecture and it repaired what was broken inside me.

That trip was a self-defining experience that gave me back the strength and confidence Bronx had whittled away. This was all way before that book Eat, Pray, Love came out so it had nothing to do with that... pure coincidence.

When I came home, I was refreshed and renewed and %100 completely over Bronx. I didn't hear from him again until months later when he showed up un-announced to get the ring back. Yeah, the one he told me to keep. What a sleaze.

As luck would have it, I met the man I WOULD marry about a year later and he is everything I wanted and needed in a husband. Thankfully, I never married Bronx as I'm sure it would've resulted in a divorce and ever more unhappiness. These things have a way of working out.

Thanks so much for sharing my wildest moment with me. Do you have one to share? There's still time to enter the contest and help spread the word about Krystal's book! Click on the picture above to learn more. Or tell me about something in the comments. I love hearing from you!

Friday, November 16, 2012

I Miss You

Greetings and happy Friday! Today is the I Miss You blogfest, hosted by Alex, Andrew, and Matt, where bloggers around the sphere are posting about bloggers they miss, and bloggers they would miss if they weren't around anymore.


It's a great chance to let your fellow bloggers/followers know how much they mean to you. That's why this blogoshpere is so awesome. So many genuine, caring peeps. And I'd miss all of you for sure, if you weren't around. Without you, my readers and commentors, this would all be in vain. So if you're reading this right now, THANK YOU! For being here, being my friend, and sharing life's journey. :D

A lot of bloggers seem to come and go, and a few that I visited when I was brand new to the scene aren't around anymore. Let's face it, it's impossible to get around to every blog every time, and it's understandable that some followers who used to be regulars with visits and comments, no longer are from life's other demands, or because they connect better with others and time is limited.

But without a doubt, there are two bloggers who never fail to visit me and comment, even though I fall behind and it takes me a few days to return the visit sometimes .... and if they disappeared, well I might have to have a good blubbering cry over it.

And they, of course, are Alex J. Cavanaugh and Old Kitty. I have a feeling they'll be mentioned quite a bit today, and it's no mystery why they're both so popular. Both are a perfect example of what good blogging is all about, and if either of them were to stop blogging/following, I'd feel the loss for sure.

And here are two bloggers I met in the very beginning, when my blog was just a fledgling, and they've let me grow alongside them with open arms. I'd miss them terribly if they ever disappeared: Leigh T. Moore and SA Larsen. They both stay loyal to their visits, despite their growing successes.

And you know, while I'm at it, I'm just gonna point a finger at DL Hammons because his awesomesauce Write Club is leaving him little time to visit blogs, and well, I kinda miss him. But I think we can all understand how busy he his, so you're excused, Mr. Hammons. Have yall checked out Write Club yet? Do it.

You know, blogging is so much fun and such a great way to connect. I've been able to meet a few in person already, Michael Di Gesu, Jen Daiker, Becca Puglisi, and just last month I met Carol Riggs and Victoria Lindstrom and McKenzie McCann in Oregon. I can't wait to meet more of you!

When is that worldwide blogger's con happening anyway? Let's all go! Maybe we should make it a cruise and all wear roller skates. :D

The bloggers I mentioned above are just a few, but truth is, I'd miss all of you, and I do miss you when you when you're absent. I know I'm bad about visits too. Sometimes it's all I can do to keep up. But if you're reading this right now, you're important to me, so thank you.

Are you participating in this blogfest? Is there a blogger you used to visit that's disappeared? Do you think it's important to let your followers know what they mean to you? Please share ...   

Monday, November 12, 2012

Craptcha Captcha

I couldn't resist this "Captcha Awareness" Day, so if you'll oblige me with a quick post that could very well pertain to you if you use Blogger ....


Around the blogosphere, bloggers are posting in effort to reduce the amount of captcha requirements that many still use on their blogs. If you do, no biggie. We still love you. We just wanna remind you that you can disable the feature and your followers will love you all the more for it.

Let's face it, the captcha phrases are blurry and hard to read and half the time I get them wrong when I enter them. This slows my blog visits down in a big way and reduces the amount of blogs I'm able to visit. Those blogs without the captcha feature are user friendly, and that's what we want when we blog, right?

If you're not sure whether this feature is enabled on your blog, take a moment to check and be a friend to your fellow blogger by disabling. If later you find bogus comments, you can always enable again. I've had mine disabled for two years now and never had a problem.

Here's what you do:

From your Blogger Dashboard go to Settings on the bottom left

There will be a sub menu. Select Post and Comments

From there you can select NO on Show Word Verification

Then just make sure to Save.

That's it! Plain and simple and your followers will thank you! Feel free to spread the word with your own post on how to remove the captcha craptcha. You can click on the pic above to find others posting about today.

What are your thoughts on captcha? Is there a reason why you've chosen to keep it? Will you help spread the word? Any news to share? Happy Monday!


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

IWSG - Wednesday


You ever wonder if the reason why writers are so insecure is because we have to take so much criticism? In the world of fiction where tastes and preferences are so completely subjective, why should we really take anything to heart? As we all know, what works for one, can make another wanna puke their guts up. And the variety of stories and films already out their are a perfect example of how diverse people truly are.

So maybe we should try to remember that a little better while we're reading a rejection or bad review. That's not to be used as an excuse for learning the most we can about craft, but more as a comfort that as long as we are always striving to improve our craft, we will eventually succeed.

We never know when our next story will become the next bestseller. But we can believe, without a doubt, that if we keep trying our hardest, we will get pretty darn close.

If you're NaNo-ing this month, I"m sending some positive creative waves your way. Or if you're like me, and just kicking down the cobblestones, feeling groovy, then cheers to that! It's the month to be thankful and I'm so thankful for all of you who take the time to read, comment, and share this journey with me.

What's happening with you? Any news to share? Want to join IWSG? Click on pic above to get to HDQ for more deets. 

 

Monday, November 5, 2012

On Being Eighteen

So last week, Cally Jackson hosted a blogfest on memories of age 18. This was in part, due to her new release of The Big Smoke, a new adult story that I've mentioned on this blog before. Although, I'm late to the blogfest, I still wanted to post because I think this new (and somewhat controversial)  genre is so important.

Writers like Cally are slipping past the gatekeepers (who insist this age category is not relevant in today's market,) and paving the way for other authors, as well as bringing age appropriate content to readers who no longer fit the young adult category. Let's face it, 18 and no longer in high school is way different than 16 and still in the confines of high school life.

I graduated high school when I was 17 and got to start my "adulthood" a little early. When I turned 18 I was already in my first year at a local college and anxious to move out and be on my own. High school was great and all, and I had a steady boyfriend, but honestly, I was ready to start a new life.

I'd grown up in the same town with the same kids and don't get me wrong, I had an excellent childhood, but I felt the call of the wild. Big time. I was stifled by my parents' rules and felt my individuality had been stunted by the same old same old. And marrying my high school sweetheart just wasn't what I wanted until I'd had a chance to be my own person. (Yeah, I know, but hearts had to be broken.)So when my best friend decided to move to another city and asked me to be her roommate, I jumped at the chance.

We started college in a new town with our own apartment and although my school was paid for, it was up to me to work and pay rent. Meanwhile, my roomie was fully sponsored by her parents, and I admit that was a little hard to digest when I struggled to make ends meet, but it was also liberating because I got to call my own shots.

Being 18 and on my own for the first time ever was like I'd won the lottery. I'll always remember it as the best and in some ways hardest time of my life. When I finally got to shed the local trends of my hometown and become my own person, I flourished. I will never regret that choice. I was making adult decisions, even though I was a fledgling adult, and assuming responsibilities I'd never had before. I found my own style and developed my own tastes and discovered others who were similar. To say I made a few mistakes along the way, would be an understatement. I made a TON. But they were all mine.

That's why I strongly support the NEW ADULT genre as a separate genre. That age group is doing things younger teens aren't, and put in situations younger teens can't be put in. On the flip side, the difference between a 25 year old and age 18-23 is widely different. At 25 I was comfortable and confident in my shoes and I was on top of the world. But at that early adult stage beforehand, it's all so brand new.

Starting life after high school is like no other time. It can be scary and exhilarating and full of uncertainty. Stories that cater to that time frame are ideal, and I would've devoured them, had they been around.

There are many NA (new adult) writers out there and the genre is finally starting to grow. Small presses are recognizing the genre more and more. And there's even a NA Lit chat that happens every Thursday night at 9.

The NA Lit chat host happens to be an awesome writer/blogger friend of mine, EJ Wesley and what he's been able to do with these chats is amazing. You should check it out! There's a link to the right on my sidebar, but you can also go here for EJ's blog and the NA Lit chat homepage. The Twitter page is right here, too.

EJ has his own NA book out, as well as Cally.
And, psssst.... there's a NA eBook on the sidebar to the right here called FLOAT that just happens to be from yours truly. ;)

What are your thoughts on  the NA genre? Write it? Read it? Have you been to any of the chats? How about your own memories of being 18? Please share ...

Friday, November 2, 2012

Breaking Rules

Happy Friday! Today I'm guest blogging over at the Dojo. Please stop by and say hello. I'm discussing breaking the writing rules. Would love to hear from you! Just click on the pic below!


Monday I'll be posting on memories from age 18. Have an excellent weekend!