Saturday, May 26, 2012

In Honor of Our Grammie--My Biggest Fan

Youngest, Ashley feeding Grammie toast dipped in coffee
Our beloved Grammie passed away yesterday afternoon. She'd suffered tremendously after a severe stroke in November, but boy she put up one helluva fight. She was my husband's grandmother, but after 21 years and her being one of my biggest fans, the loss is a great one in my life. However, I'd like this post to be in her honor, not about my grief. 

A mother of eight, grandmother to (gosh, I've lost count!) over 40, and a great-grandmother to (again, lost count) I believe eleven now, she loved us all the same. That woman had more love (and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper!) in her heart than anyone else on this earth. She even loved the homeless man on the corner who pushed a wobbly cart, full of all his possessions. I wouldn't be surprised to learn she'd picked him up every Sunday and hauled him to church with her. She was like that. She loved us all, no matter what.

Today's post is about honor. Honoring your craft. When I said earlier that Grammie was one of my biggest fans, I wasn't kidding. Throughout her home, adorning her walls, still hangs my art. My juvenile, first attempts with oil paints, decorate almost every room. Just thinking about walking through her home, collecting all of them to take home with me, will be difficult. 

She, of all the people in my life, honored my craft. She was my biggest fan. She honored my artistry more than I do. If she could've strung my stories up page by page across her home, she would've. Every single time I was in her precious company, she asked me about my writing. She really asked me. Not just to make conversation, she really wanted to know about it. She had the beautiful gift of making everyone around her feeling as if they were the most special person in the world.

Honor thy craft. She did. She crocheted. Knitting is an art, same as painting, writing, dancing, etc. One of the ways she honored her craft is she taught others. The week before her stroke, she had two of her lovely granddaughters over, attempting to teach them to knit. Those sweet young ladies knitted by her side, in the hospital her entire stay, which was well over two months. I found a sweet post about crocheting and honoring the craft, you can read it here:  Do you honor your craft? Whatever your craft is, honor it.

In loving memory of Grammie. I promise to honor my craft. I will write until my heart's content.

"Whether you make the most of an opportunity depends on if you are prepared. Learn your craft, every aspect of it. Eat it, drink it, sleep it, then when you are the most prepared, you can make the most of it. "
Christopher Judge



Sunday, May 20, 2012

Protect Your Muse

Reading Angela Brown's latest blog post, got me thinking about my inner muse. Angela and her muse seem to have an awesome relationship, as you can see HERE. Thank you, Angela for showing me a "healthy" artist & muse relationship. :)) It made me realize how awful I've been to mine. 

Don't think I'm weird, but my muse's name is Shana. Unfortunately for her, I've exposed her to all sorts of cruelty. But, what I haven't realized until today, her only defense has been me, and up until now, I've failed her, miserably. 
It's our creative duty to protect our muses. Don't let others murder them. Julia Cameron in The Artist's Way calls them "poisonous playmates". She states, "Toxic playmates can capsize our artist's growth." 

I recently had an experience with a family member, and my muse's spirit sunk like the Titanic due to this person's hateful comments. I didn't do anything to keep her afloat! Come to think of it, we're still not over it.

Over coffee this morning, I read one of my favorite blogs. The author, Molly Blaisdell is a good friend of mine, and every single post she writes resonates with me. Today's post was about the writer's attitude (click on her name to read the post). It occurred to me while reading, regardless of what others say, it's my attitude towards my own writing, that is the key. It is my obligatory duty NOT let others capsize Shana's ship. Thanks, Molly for your thoughts this morning.

It's my reaction that matters, how I allow toxic comments to affect my attitude. I can either allow hurtful words to roll off my shoulder or let them control me and how I feel about my own writing. 

As a creative, I face ridicule every day. We probably all do, in some fashion. But, we can either sit in the corner and pout, or get off our duffs, honoring our writerly muses. 

Today, I make a vow to honor, love, protect and serve her. For all her creativity, it's the least I can do.

What about you? How do you treat your muse?


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Paying the Blog Love Forward

I recently won a fabulous new book The Secret of Spruce Knoll by Heather McCorkle on Angela Brown's in a Pursuit of Publishness
I can't wait to read it!

The coolest guy on the blog-block, J.W. Alden nominated me for the Kreativ Blogger Award. Thanks, J.W. and if you haven't checked out his blog yet, do it!! He's way cooler than me. :))
 Here's how the award works:
1. Thank and link back to the person who presented you with the award.
2. Answer the ten questions below.
3. Share ten random facts/thoughts about yourself.
4. Nominate seven worthy blogs for the Kreativ Blogger Award.

What is your favorite song?
Currently, One and Only by Adele.

What is your favorite dessert?
Chocolate cake w/ chocolate icing and chocolate sprinkles and a scoop of chocolate ice-cream. :))

What ticks you off?
People who don't take me seriously.

When you're upset, what do you d--
Cry. I cry when I'm happy, sad, angry, and frustrated.
Which is/was your favorite pet?
 Glen Ellen, my gorgeous German Shepherd.

Which do you prefer, black or white?
Black, definitely black.

What is your biggest fear?
Dying before I get stuff done.

What is your attitude mostly?
I wish it was always upbeat & light-hearted, but on average, it's austere most of the time. My father always says to me, "Lighten up, Frances!" From the movie Stripes.

What is perfection?
When all the pieces come together. Whether it be an event, a cooked meal, family time, a get-together, or even something as simple as a good day.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Ten random things about me...

1. I think I sound like Adele when I'm singing at the top of my lungs in my car.
2. I wish I sounded like Adele when I'm singing at the top of my lungs in my car.
3. I was baptized Protestant as an infant and didn't find out until this past Christmas...long story!
4. I've had over 40 jobs since I was fifteen.
5. I believe Bigfoot is real. Really. Somewhere.
6. I have a fear of driving in the mountains and riding on a boat.
7. I believe Ian S. is just about the hottest guy in the world.
8. I make the best crock pickles in the state of Texas~ask any family member.
9. Growing up, I wanted to be a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader.
10. If I had to use one word to describe myself, it would be: Quirky. 

Because most of these awesome bloggers have already been awarded the Kreativ Blog award, they may or may participate. But, please check them out anyways. :)) As you will soon find out, these bloggers are totally Kreativ!

I know some of you are extremely busy. Participation is not a must. I just wanted to let you each know, y'all ROCK!!

Friday, May 11, 2012

O Agent, Where Art Thou?

Debbie Ridpath Ohi's Will Write for Chocolate

With some solid critique advice from several trusted SCBWI members and my own CP, I have made Redbird at Her Window sparkle. Here's what I've accomplished in the past two weeks:

~Picture book ms critiqued & polished...check.
~Satisfying query + hook + personalized each letter per agent...check.
~Researched literary agent bios and submission guidelines...check.
~Submitted queries + text to a few hand-picked agents...check.

Oh, Agent! Where art thou? I know, sit back and wait. But, while I'm waiting, I'll work on the other two manuscripts that are near completion. Woot! 

Wanted to share...

For all of you writers who specialize in children's, picture books through YA, have I got a treat for you! In my research, I came across an excellent source for literary agents who take picture books. Author, Heather Ayris Burnell has done a splendid job of gathering a Monster List of Picture Book Agents.

She has a few fabulous agent interviews on her blog, too. Most of the agents on her list are accepting queries at this time. Many also specialize in all children's books, not just picture books.

I hope you find the information useful. If so, please let Heather know how much you appreciate her hard work by visiting her blog.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Oh Those High School Dances Blog Hop

I'm hesitant to do this post. Hence the reason I had to sleep on it before posting! Maybe it's the completely dorky photos or the fact that my funniest story is embarrassing...either way, here it goes...
Thanks, Kelley Lynn and Emily King for hosting!!

Hands On

It was homecoming my sophomore year. I reluctantly went with my (at-the-time) boyfriend. I say reluctant because I was secretly in love with the man I'm married to today! Said boy and I attended the dance and he was all hands, literally. Hubby and his friends laughed at me because said boy was acting like a male dog marking "his" territory. Needless to say, I ditched Mr. Handsy (that very night!) and started dating the boy I ended up marrying 21 years ago. (Do you know how embarrassed I was dancing with a groping partner??? Gives me the willies just thinking back.)

Unfortunately, I threw away pictures with Mr. Handsy. But, here are two pictures of my hubby and I.


What baby faces we had! Btw, if you're not familiar with mums for homecoming, that would be the gaudy flower pinned to my dress.

Junior year, Sadie Hawkins--girl asks boy.

Did anyone else notice that I wore the same shoes to both dances??? Ha ha, what a dork!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Passing of a Literary Legend, Whatnot & Whimsy

This note added: I have a heavy heart this morning after learning about legendary Maurice Sendak's passing. *Sighs* You can read more about it HERE and his obituary HERE. 
To purchase, click here
I'm so glad I featured one of his picture books two weeks ago on my post about picture books. I truly respected his talent, art, and bravery to stay true to himself. If you do not frequent the picture book sections of the bookstores, you may not be aware that Mr. Sendak published a new picture book Bumble-Ardy, the first in thirty years, back in Sept. 2011. He will be deeply missed by many. 

***And, on a lighter note***

For the first time in two years of blogging, I've drawn a blank for my weekly post! So, I have a treat for you this week! I gathered some fun photos on my cool smartphone, and I'd like to share a few with you!

When the inside office gets too boring, I move outside. Yup, in my PJs.

This is my indoor writing space.

A fun tub garden I worked 
on while 
recovering from surgery.

Sock Monkey Pinata for daughter's 
school project
(which nearly did my nerves in!)

About a month ago, my girls told me there was some strange gravitational pull on the earth, stronger than usual. (They heard about it on Facebook.) The brooms stood at attention 
all night long. It was a hoot! 
I was a kid all over again.


Ipomoea and all its glory


And last, but certainly not least, my fatty tabby, E.J. 
Doesn't he have the life?

Tune in next week for an (hopefully) informative or inspiring post! Have a super-great one!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Mayday! Mayday! IWSG Post

Where did April go? For me, it was a complete blur. My IWSG post for May centers around my fear of never completing projects. If you've not heard of Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group , and you want to join us for community & support, click away. (Above, there, on his link. :)))

Mayday! Mayday! I need some writerly advice, IWSG!

I knew my plate runneth over, but I didn't realize my plate contents flooded the table and preceded to muck up the floor, too. I met with a writer friend for lunch two weeks ago. She chewed me out (lovingly I may add & much appreciated) for not seeing a project through until the end. Publication or death.

Nope, I have erratic waves of motivation on projects, spectacular starts, fleshing out the contents / plot / characters, and then poof! The crazy-love dies. Dwindles. Disappears. I keep telling myself, maybe they're not the ONE. You know, the love-of-my-life, the one that causes lumps in my throat, butterflies in my stomach, and stutter in my speech.

My writer friend told me I'm doing myself no service in not finishing a project. Really??? Sarcasm riddled my mind when she said that, but I kept my mouth shut, because I knew she was right. The truth hurt.

I'll let the weasel out of the bag. Currently, I have eight (omg, eight!) projects (well-fleshed out projects, all with unique ideas. I've researched.) on my plate. I feel like the monkey chasing the weasel. Yeah, it's fun, but will I ever catch the darned booger!

What about you? Have too many projects and can't seem to catch them, wrap em' with a pretty bow and ship em' off? Anyone have advice, tips, websites, books? I'm sure a few of my followers suffer from this, too. If you have any stick-to-it advice I'd love to hear from you!! (Btw, butt-in-chair only works for me if someone is behind me, looking at me sternly, tapping their foot.)


Yesterday was May Day. I live in a hugemungo German community in Central Texas, where Maifest is one heck of a celebration. Check out OUR website Brenham, TX Maifest Celebration . Living in one of the south's bible belt areas, I was shocked to read the origins of this holiday. Since 1881, the small town of Brenham stops to dance around the May Pole. They even let school out on Friday. Moving here almost ten years ago, I found this to be interesting. Note: I do not dance around the May Pole (Dancing around the May Pole...that makes me giggle.). Instead, the girls and I enjoy the day off from school, and I usually wind up in the garden.

 May Day celebrates "Walpurgis Night (in German folklore) the night of 30 April (May Day's eve), when witches meet on the Brocken mountain and hold revels with their gods..." ~Wikipedia