Last night I finished reading Pinnacle Lust by Michelle Dim-St. Pierre. Doing so was part of the Women on Writers blog tour, I was honored to have a chance to read her book and have her write a guest post for my blog. You can read about it here.
Pinnacle Lust is about Sharon, a nurse working in a hospital in Israel who meets a handsome doctor (Dr. Sloan). He’s married. Against all morals, the two fall heavily in lust and begin having an affair.
But that’s not the point of the story. In my opinion.
The book starts out with a vague description of Leigh. She’s just turned eighteen years old and is about to open a gift from her mother. After removing the wrapping from the box, she’s shocked to learn that the gift is her mother’s diary from many years ago. This is where the reader meets Sharon and handsome Dr. Sloan and Leigh is only mentioned twice more throughout the book.
For the next several chapters, the reader lives inside the diary of Sharon Lapidot as she tells the story of meeting and falling for the doctor. These chapters were filled with tension, scandal, drama, and one brief, but exceptionally well written scene about the war going on in Israel.
However, it was the way the words were spelled out on the pages that made it difficult for me to stay involved in the book. Sharon Lapidot couldn’t decide on much of anything as she vacillated from one emotion to the next and repeatedly asked questions that were phrased toward the reader as she attempted to figure out whether she was going to continue seeing Dr. Sloan. Many times the story was written in list form, again making it hard for me to enjoy.
At one point, I’ll admit, I went to Amazon to check out the reviews of Pinnacle Lust. I also have to admit I was surprised to find it had several five star reviews. Those reviews encouraged me and I returned to the book, determined to finish it.
When I got to chapter forty, things started to turn around. There was a twist I hadn’t expected. Dr. Sloan’s wife made a serious entrance into the storyline and I began to see the depth in her character and in Dr. Sloan’s. Sharon Lapidot even redeemed herself a bit in my eyes with a few decisions she made (though I do wish there had been more action and less drama in her life).
Then, in the last chapter, I was really shocked by what happened. And kind of disappointed that the story ended.
In my opinion, Pinnacle Lust started at chapter forty. Chapter one and the introduction of Leigh could have been the first few paragraphs of chapter forty and given the drama of a married man’s affair with a beautiful nurse some real substance.
I give Pinnacle Lust three stars. One for the interesting setting, one for the scandalous storyline, and one for making me want to read the next book.
Have you read Pinnacle Lust? I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.
If Bigfoot steals your wife, you should believe it was really him. Or so Ron Carlson tells us to believe it in his stories Bigfoot Stole My Wife and I Am Bigfoot. -Both of these stories can be found in this compilation of short stories.
I read these stories about three times each recently as part of a reading/writing assignment for school. And, if I haven’t said that getting an MFA degree is a particularly challenging thing to do, I’ll say it now. For the fifteenth time this week. Because it is, particularly challenging.
Anyway, in Carlson’s satirical stories about Bigfoot stealing one man’s wife and about Bigfoot owning the fact that he’s stolen not only this man’s wife but the wives of many other men, there is a lot to be said about tone and voice, credibility and the dogged determination of one man’s (Rick) attempt to convince the world (and even a little bit, himself) that Bigfoot did in fact come along and steal his wife. And there’s a bit to be said about the wretched stink Bigfoot leaves behind in his wake of wife stealing. Just so you know.
But I wrote about all of that stuff in the discussion boards for class. Along with about a dozen other people who have spent a good two weeks dissecting these stories with a comb finer than the type you use when your kid gets lice and you’re trying to comb out every last piece of those tiny bugs that, while extremely tiny, make you want to vomit into a five gallon bucket.
So, let’s talk about something else.
Like the shield of gloss in which people paint their marriages that hides any particle of discord. It’s this type of shiny gloss that kills a marriage. In case you were wondering.
Marriages don’t end in big, explosive deaths, they die long, drawn out, slow, and painful deaths complete with a shiny coating of gloss that hides the real view of what’s happening in between the sheets or behind closed doors or whatever other cliché term you’d like to use about not knowing what’s going on with people you really think you know.
Sidebar: It turns out when I write that I get a lot of use out of cliche terms and phrases. Or so I was recently told in a classroom critique. Their blunt comments about my writing were rather accurate. I'm working on this issue.
This shiny coat of invisible gloss rolls nicely over any marriage. It’s both similar to that shellac you put down over the new tile counter top and absolutely nothing like it at all.
Similarities: you can’t see it. You think it’s warding off all the bad stuff that can happen to a marriage. It’s a silent, invisible kind of thing that lies around and you never really give it much thought at all.
Opposites: shellac seals out the grit, grime, and moisture that can ruin your beautiful new counter top (see picture above). In a marriage, that shiny gloss takes the form of silence, separate activities, not going to bed at the same time, never taking a date together, and generally living opposite lives like two distant cousins who have decided to be roommates simply to save money and because their moms thought it might be a good idea.
The point is, putting shellac on your counter top is a good idea; putting a shiny, glossy topcoat on your marriage, not so much.
In September, I’ll have been married for the better part of my adult life. Actually, all of my adult life save a year when I experienced the tense world of being a divorcee on the prowl for a new husband.
I’m kidding. I wasn’t on the prowl, but I was in the market because I like being married. I’m good at being married. I like having a lifelong companion to come home to at the end of the day, sharing my life with him, and the tidbits of my rather unusual world of a clinical gal turned IT who spends all her waking hours trying to figure out two things: how to run a CCL report, how to make a living as a writer, and how to double the amount of PTO I have so that I can go on another vacation. Okay, three things. I never have been that great at math.
So, with that history, I think I’m a bit of an expert on marriage. Or at least, someone who can give some decent advice on the subject. But you didn’t come here for advice and I’m not the kind who likes to dole it out.
Instead, let’s talk about ten things couples can do to not gloss over their vow of “’til death do us part.” The nice thing is, I think these ten things can be applied to any relationship that you’ve deemed worth having and investing in. Because that’s the point of relationships: investing in them. Sure, the reward isn’t monetary (unless you’ve managed to have a litter of kids, in which case you might be getting a tax credit…and that’s just kind of cool), but it is worth it.
1. Talk to each other. A lot. The conversation doesn’t have to be deep and important all the time, but engaging in that dialogue is important. Play twenty questions with each other. Tell that special someone five things about your day. Dream out loud together. You might be surprised what you find out.
2. Laugh with one another. Sometimes, getting in a good laugh is the best way to ease tension, cheer up someone you care about, and it’s a great way to have a good time. Warning: refrain from laughing at others because that’s just plain mean.
3. Do not go long periods of time in silence. All the time there are these silly picture/quote posts that people start spreading all over social media. Some of them are funny. A few of them are filled with too many typos for me to bother “liking” even if it is a particularly good quote. [No ragrets –am I right?] But there’s one in particular that I can’t stand. It’s ridiculous. (*post pic of the long silent friends here*) If you and someone else are that close, why wouldn’t you talk to each other on a regular basis? Why would you go months without talking at all? I do not understand that in the least. Yes, we get busy. Yes, life gets in the way. Yes, two thousand miles away from one another is a challenge. But seriously, if all you think of that special someone is “out of sight, out of mind” why would she bother talking to you anyway?
4. Be together for the joy of it, not to rescue the other person. Note: this doesn’t necessarily apply if you (or the other person in the relationship) are a St. Bernard dog, known for its ability to save those in need. Relationships are not, I repeat, are not for the purpose of saving someone. Relationships are about communication, companionship, fun, love, and having things in common. If a person is in need of rescuing, they’ll call you if 911 isn’t picking up. Otherwise, don’t put on your EMS coat every time you go to talk to them.
5. Be honest. Talking about the hard stuff is important in any relationship. Maybe it’s a disagreement or a past hurt or a situation that’s made you feel uncomfortable. These things happen in even the best of relationships. It doesn’t mean it can’t be fixed, but it does mean you need to be honest about what’s going on so that it doesn’t fester and rot under the relationship.
6. Accept responsibility for your actions.
7. Find the middle ground. This isn’t quite like taking the high road, which is also good, but it’s very important. In a relationship of any kind, you aren’t always going to see eye to eye on something. And if you do, I encourage you to do a little self inventory exercise because something might be off kilter. So compromise. Find the middle ground. Be a partner in the partnership.
8. Learn new things together. Learn a new skill, a new hobby, explore new places together. Not only does this keep each individual involved intellectually sharp, but it’s a chance to learn together. When you stretch yourself, it’s one thing. When you stretch together, it’s a whole new ballgame. Just remember to keep the competition healthy and fun.
9. Do things together. You don’t have to never get a minute alone, because getting your space is important, but doing things together is also vital in a relationship. I know a couple who runs a business together. Hubby and I go to plays together. It’s a joint thing we learned we loved to do in the last fifteen years. Once we got the last two tickets for a play and ended up sitting sixteen seats apart, but it was still fun. And it’s a fun memory that we have added to our growing mound of memories. My sister and I send cards to each other from a few thousand miles away. It’s how we stay connected. And keep the card companies in business. Do things together. Get out there and travel, go to a show, start a business together, make time for FaceTime coffee dates when you live a distance from one another, read the same book and then critique it together. It’s fun and it’s worth it.
10. Lastly, do not make the other person the reason you wake up in the morning. I realize this may sound contradictory to all the other things I’ve said so far, but seriously, take note. Eventually, God needs our loved ones back. Or that shiny gloss you’ve rolled over your relationship results in a crack so disastrously gigantic that you can’t reach across it to find that person you once couldn’t manage a day without. In a relationship, you may be part of a package, but you aren’t nonessential if the other part of the package isn’t there. Be you. Love you. Take care of you. Wake up each day because you have a life to live, goals to accomplish, dreams to turn into realities. Not only will your life be incredible as you go about being you, but your relationship partner will benefit as well. #Beyou.
If you’re not careful, you’ll be traipsing along without any mind to the glossy shine covering the important aspects of a relationship. And Bigfoot may very well come along and steal your wife.
Revolutions happen all the time. The Industrial Revolution. There have been revolutions about technology, a revolution in Russia, France, and several other countries. They happen all the time.
There’s the Tiny House Nation revolution. That one both fascinates and repulses me. Because the houses are so freaking adorable but I have the worst case of claustrophobia. And watching even one episode of that television show left me struggling for air. I can’t help it. I need my space. More than those houses have to offer, apparently.
So when I was asking my husband what I should write about today and he said “starting a revolution” I was a little bit struck by his words.
Because revolutions happen all the time; in big and small ways.
Like last night, we watched as forty one high school students graduated from the local high school. Forty one kids who have experienced all kinds of things in their short lives and yet still got up and went to school. Every. Single. Day. Or at least enough days to count toward graduation.
And they didn’t just go to school; they had to do stuff when they got there. They did homework, took tests, read books, wrote papers, and completed science projects. They didn’t give up, even though I’m sure there were times when they wanted to.
Getting up every day, going to school, doing the work, and never giving up…that’s a revolution.
Watching young people get jobs, take care of their siblings, help their parents, learn to drive, help others, make friends, deal with losses, and constantly putting one foot in front of the other amazes me.
Some of those kids? They were never expected to graduate. Maybe they were the first ones in their family to get a high school diploma. Or they had to overcome a great tragedy to get to that point in life.
Do they know they were part of a revolution? I’m honestly not sure. I remember being in high school. It was a wonder I could remember my next Spanish assignment or to finish my math homework; I don’t think I realized that every effort I made, no matter how small or how overlooked by others, was really a part of a lifelong journey.
So, how do you start a revolution? It’s easy. You have to believe in something or envision an idea or a goal.
Okay, I lie. Starting a revolution is incredibly difficult.
It’s difficult because there is a high probability that other people won’t believe in what your revolution is all about. I mean, really, did the Tiny House Nation people have a great following from day one? No. It had to grow, just like anything else.
A revolution has to grow like a plant or a tree or a person.
Some grow faster than others. And some take a lot of time to get there. While some revolutions have a clear path to follow, there are others that have to take a twisting, turning path that no one ever imagined in the beginning.
Think about that for a minute. Are you in the middle of your own revolution that didn’t go as cleanly and simply as someone else’s? Mine was like that.
College didn’t come right after high school. There was another path I had to take first that wound its way back to the college road. When I was twenty-three. Yes, a lot of my classmates had already graduated from college and were in the early days of their shiny new careers by then. I was figuring out childcare, FAFSAs, and wondering what the hell I was doing trying to start college when people my age were finishing college.
That was how my revolution grew though. I was a bit of a late bloomer. The path I took had more potholes and detours along the way, but I walked it lovingly. I was determined to get there somehow, someday.
After you find something to believe in, you start walking the path to get there.
Rest assured that while there is no yellow brick road to follow, you’ll find the rest of the cast from the Wizard of Oz along the way. (The teacher who spoke at the graduation last night did a splendid job using this great story to demonstrate this to the students and the spectators.)
You’ll find a few people (usually the ones you least expected to encounter) along the way who encourage you, support you, and maybe even tag along for the journey. The Wicked Witch of the West will be there too, but don’t worry. We all know how that turned out for her in the end.
Besides, it wouldn’t be a revolution if there wasn’t a naysayer (or twelve) to participate.
Be careful of those as you travel your path. They’ll do anything (and I do mean anything) to get you off course. The biggest ammunition in their arsenal? To tell you that your dream, your idea, even you, doesn’t matter.
It’ll hurt when you hear that, but please, turn to your travel mates who encourage you when those words are said or written or whispered. Because the truth is, if you have those negative people telling you that you can’t do it, that just means those negative people are scared.
They’re scared of you and your idea. They’re scared of all your accomplishments and your confidence.
Try not to get too angry at those folks either. If anything, pity them. Maybe even say a prayer for them. Because if all they can find to do in life is to try to tear you down, it means they haven’t found their revolution yet. And everyone needs a revolution.
Now that you’ve found your idea and believe in it (and yourself), the rest of this will be easy. To help you along, you’ll need a picture of a dog.
Specifically, a picture of a dog with a chew toy or a rope or something in his or her mouth. Like these dogs.
If you have a dog that you play tug-of-war with or who doesn’t let go of a chew toy for anything, snap a picture of your pooch and keep it handy. Make it your cell phone wallpaper or print the picture and slap it on the bathroom mirror for future reference.
Because that dog not letting go is going to be your visual aid in the “how to start a revolution” guide. That dog is how you’ll need to be with your idea/dream/goal/plan.
When you feel like giving up (because you will), you’ll want to look at that dog. When you feel like you shouldn’t bother because no one else on the planet cares about what you’re doing, you’ll want to look at that dog. When you’re so stinking tired of putting one foot in front of the other for a dream that seems impossible, you’ll want to look at that dog.
After you’ve spent time looking at it, you’ll want to be that dog. You’ll need to be that dog. You’ll need to grab onto your dream and not. Let. Go. Ever.
Because that’s how you start a revolution.
Did the Tiny House Nation guys look around at all the other big houses and fold up shop? No.
Did the high school graduate look at everyone else who wasn’t going to school and skip class? No.
When you get hold of a dream, you can’t. Let. Go. Ever.
Still need to be convinced? Let me give you a few examples of people I know that held onto their dreams like a dog does a chew toy.
My aunt just graduated law school the other day. She’s something like fifty years old. My son graduated high school the other day. He struggled with ADHD, poor sleep, and a serious disinterest in sitting in a classroom all day. Steve Jobs. J.K. Rowling. John Grisham.
Okay, so I don’t personally know those last three, but come on. They’re stories are pretty cool. They held onto their dreams and never let go.
Will your revolution end up being a television show on HGTV? Maybe. Will you be in charge of a major company? It’s possible. Will you write a bestseller? It could happen.
Whatever happens will. But only if you start a revolution. Only if you never. Let. Go. Of your dream. Only if you believe in it enough to keep moving forward.
One thing for certain: you won’t regret having walked that path. You’ll have a story to tell and confidence to spare by the time you’re done. Because no one ever looks back and says: I wish I hadn’t tried so hard…
Today’s Word is: Thankful.
When you wake up fifteen minutes before the 4:45am alarm goes off because the sound of the coffee pot (with the incredible timer) announces that the hot, refreshing, energy inducing liquid has been brewed to (near) perfection, you can’t help but get out of bed and start your day early.
That’s what I do anyway, but I have a host of sleep disorders and am thankful (it’s the word of today…did you seriously not see that coming?) beyond belief when I get a solid seven-ish hours of uninterrupted sleep. It happens, those gorgeous nights of sleepy bliss. Especially since I got that weighted blanket that I love so much. It’s the first thing I pack when I’m packing to go on a trip. It is that important.
So, I’m feeling thankful and thought I’d start my writing time by sharing the top ten things I’m thankful for this morning. I’m not going to list my weighted blanket, since I already mentioned it above, so if you’re one of those math wizards, you can consider this a list of the top eleven things I’m thankful for. I won’t argue with you. Not about math anyway.
1. I’m thankful for my husband. I have the most incredible husband. No, I’m not married to the guy that you’re married to and that you think is the most incredible husband. I’m not a fan of sharing, folks. I’m married to my incredible husband. He’s truly everything (and more) that I ever could have dreamed up for myself in a man. He makes me laugh, he encourages me, he challenges me, he’s incredibly smart, he cooks, he does laundry. See? I told you he’s amazing. I hit the jackpot when he came into my life almost sixteen years ago. #lovehim
2. I have a slew of great kids. They’re awesome. I’m proud of them for the things they’ve done in life, for challenging themselves (I swear they’re fearless), for learning from their mistakes, and for a million other things that would take me days to list. There’s a lot of them, so yes, it would take me days to list all of their great qualities. I'm also blessed with a sweet little granddaughter; she's a cutie. #proudmama #proudnana
3. I’m thankful for my house. I realize that might sound a tad bit materialistic, but let me explain. When we moved here, we knew that finding suitable housing was two things: hard to come by and expensive. I remember distinctly asking family and friends to pray we’d find “adequate housing”. I also distinctly remember someone (one of my aunts, I believe) responding with: I’m going to pray that God directs you to an amazing house. Or something along those lines. It’s been almost four years, so I’m paraphrasing a bit. Well, to make a long story short (this is supposed to be a list, not a novel, after all) He did just that. We found a house that not only fit into our budget (so much so that we ended up buying it!) but one that fits our family. It’s very “us.” We’ve put a lot of work into the house and it’s been fun all along the way. #homeownership
4. I’m thankful for my health and the health of my family. Sometimes I gripe about not having a car and biking to/from everywhere. But these last few days, I’ve been really thankful that God has blessed hubby and me with good health to be able to do just that. #bikerfitness
5. I’m thankful for education. I’m a total nerd and love all things books, learning, and school. For someone who was never expected to go to college and who took a rather different path in life before actually getting there, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to get a bachelor’s and master’s degree. And when the opportunity came up to go back to school for an MFA, my husband and kids were nothing but supportive. Even though it meant canceling one of our vacations this year. #MFA #keeplearning
6. Which leads me to number six here. I’m thankful for my job. I really like my job. It challenges me. I’m blessed with a great boss and great co-workers. I have benefits, I am treated fairly, and I have a chance to be creative there. It’s all around really great. #career
7. I’m thankful for my unbiological sister. She is so great. You really have no idea. I’m an introvert and let’s face it true friends are hard to come by. Well in 2006, I took a job that someone else really should have been given and I was blessed beyond belief. Because I met a woman who not only became my best friend, but my sister by choice. I’m always thankful for her. #sisters #BFF
8. I’m thankful for our Alaskan family. Moving here was a big, life changing event and one of the scariest things we’ve ever done. It’s also been one of the best. We’ve met a lot of great people since moving here and several of them have become like family. #Alaskanfamily
9. Several years ago, we hit a serious financial slump. We were broke. I could blame it on the economy, but really, it was primarily due to poor financial decisions on our part and a string of events I don’t want to get in to (after all, this is a post about thankfulness). We’d hit serious financial rock bottom. But I’m thankful for that experience because we learned A LOT and because of those lessons learned, we’re in a much better place financially. God has truly taken care of us. #hardknocks #showmethemoney
10. Finally, (well, these aren’t the only things I’m thankful for, but this is it for this list…it had to end sometime) I’m thankful that my family and I get to travel. We love exploring new places and visiting familiar stomping grounds. Our jobs, our finances, and our close knit family allow us to do those things. We have a good time together. I’m blessed that my children have been able to see several states, learn about different cultures, and have even been out of the country a few times. You can read more about our adventures here. #travelers #partgypsy
Every now and then (and even more often than that) it’s good to sit back and count your blessings. It reminds you of how far you’ve come and the challenges life has thrown at you, the lessons learned from those challenges. Give it a whirl. What are you thankful for today? #givethanks
By the way....the irony in this? As I was (attempting to) doctor up this blog post with pretty pictures and links, etc. I got increasingly frustrated with the fact that I couldn't add more than just the one picture. Ugh. Trying hard to be thankful for weebly this morning. LOL
Every now and again, people sneak up on you. They might startle you a bit or intrigue you when you notice them. Or, in the case of Neal Abbott's new book Bloodhound, Oscar Morgan was a real person...a distant relative who...well, I'll let him tell you the story.
How long have you been writing, Neal?
I’ve had stories in my head since middle school, but I started writing seriously about the turn of the millennium. It started with a short story called “Trio” about three philosophers who drove each other nuts. A later wrote a short (a long short story) about World War I called “Valour.” A friend of mine said it had enough to make a novel. That gave me the courage to start a novel, even though I didn’t start for a couple of years.
What challenges you most as a writer?
Myself. I approach each project as a specific challenge. I pick something specific I want to develop and try to focus on that with each novel. It could deal with plot or character development. For example, my next novel, Entanglement, my main character is not at all heroic. He is pretty close to a villain. And while I think I can do a pretty good bad guy, having a protagonist who is not a good guy is difficult. That’s one of my projects for my upcoming.
Do you write in a specific genre or cross genres?
I write literary fiction, which I really do not consider a genre but more like a super-genre. Another example might be pop-lit. I think these are two different ways of approaching literature and composition. But literary fiction can still be mainstream or historical, speculative or magical realism, even sci-fi or fantasy.
Who (or what) inspires you to write?
This may sound bizarre, but my best story ideas come from my dreams. I also like to layer my stories to one degree or another intertextually over other works.
Tell us about your newest book.
Bloodhound is about a Depression-era lawman in Oklahoma. Oscar Morgan is the city marshal of Blanchard, a small town a bit south of Oklahoma City. He not only has to hunt down criminals, but he has to deal with a judge and a mayor just a criminal as the thieves and bootleggers he has to arrest.
What is your favorite vacation destination?
I love New Orleans. If there was any place I would move to just because I wanted to live there, it would be New Orleans. I’ve been there many times. I even lived in Morgan City, Louisiana for years, which is about an hour from the Big Easy. The music, the food, the culture is unique and wonderful.
Give us a list of some of your favorite authors and books.
I really like the Lost Generation writers, such as Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Faulkner. I really like the Neo-Classical writers of Europe, like Goethe, Schiller, and Beaumarchais. Of course, the British greats like Milton, Chaucer, and Shakespeare are among my favorites. But I think I love Russian writers most of all, men like Chekhov, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Turgenev, Pasternak, Gogol, and Pushkin. I can read them every day. To pick one book from each of those groups, I’d say I like most of all Fitzgerald’sThe Great Gatsby, Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Schiller’s Don Carlos, and Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin.
What advice would you give to a young writer just starting out?
I can think of two things. First of all, learn the craft of writing. You cannot take too many creative writing classes. I’ve had between half a dozen and ten. Second of all, read the classics. You may prefer a certain genre, but read the classics because they are considered the classics for a reason. You will never write better than you read, and if you read the best writing you give yourself the most room to grow.
Is writing your full time gig? Or do you do something else to pay the bills? If so, what's your day job?
I write full-time. It keeps me off the streets.
Have you always wanted to be a writer or was that a dream that developed over time?
I’ve wanted to be a writer since forever, but that dream got derailed. When I was a sophomore in high school we had to write a short story for an assignment. I was excited to do this project. I got a D, and I was sad. I stayed after class and asked my teacher why she graded it so low. She didn’t want to go over it, and eventually said I need to move on because this assignment is over and there are other coming up. She said I don’t have to worry about writing short stories ever again, and I told her that I wanted to be a writer when I grow up. She said, “You have no business wanting to be a writer of any kind.” This made me even more sad and I gave up on writing. After school I went into a career that I had for twenty-five years. During the last several years of this I started writing, and eventually got out of that old line of work and decided to write full-time.
Was there a particular book that gave you a love for the written word?
I remember reading Hemingway’s A Farewell To Arms and Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov in middle school. Those two definitely turned me into a book worm.
Are you the only writer in your family or do you come from a long line of writers?
I’m the only one, even though my mom has written a few short stories.
What are the links to your Facebook, Twitter, etc. so that readers can follow your writing journey and learn more about your upcoming books?
Here are a few links to my social media pages:
Facebook Author Page
Amazon Author Page
Creative Writing Blog “A Word Fitly Spoken”
Do you have a favorite quote? Please share.
“Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” Anton Chekhov
“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” Ernest Hemingway
And there you have it folks....how a distant relative's life became the seed of a story to be told....
Back when the 365K club started, I was excited. I was looking forward to the challenge of writing daily for 365 days. It seemed like an easy feat. The first few days of January, I logged more than a thousand words a day. I was certain the year was going to fly by and that I’d end up writing thousands of words and not missing a day.
And then it happened. I missed a day. Then another. On some days, I wrote less than a thousand words a day. Others, less than a hundred.
Then, came the day when I considered bagging the whole thing. I had other things to do with my time than try to count up words (when I was writing by hand) and log them into a massive spreadsheet. I even had the nerve to email the team lead of the group I was assigned to.
I think I’m going to bow out. This isn’t working for me.
Of course, I had a brief reprieve when the competitor in me heard about what I was doing and before the end of the day; I reneged on my plan to quit. I hate losing. I hate quitting and giving up even more.
So, I’m still in the game at almost six months into the program. And I’ve come up with ten things I love about the 365K club.
1. It’s a chance to push myself to write more every single day. A thousand words a day? Please, let’s try three thousand.
2. Random writing prompts that turn into short stories. Who’s to say if they’ll ever be read by anyone other than me or the folks who read my blog (or this one) but at least I’m writing.
3. I’ve learned there’s a lot to learn in this writing business. So, to increase my daily word count, I took a writing class…and ended up applying to (and getting accepted to) an MFA program. Who knew?
4. The lost art of letter writing might just come back into style. If not, I’ll at least be a one woman show trying to get it back. By the way, when you get a letter from me, please disregard the little circled numbers in the left margin and the fact that I almost never use a conjunction. Just trying to get my word count in while regaling you with whatever else is going on in my little world.
5. There are pretty notebooks (and writing apps) everywhere that are excited to be written in. How do I know? I’ve gone through one and a half notebooks so far and bought two more pretty ones the other day. They were on sale…a bonus!
6. The 365K club gives me a chance to encourage others. Not only in writing (go #leadingladies!) but in other things too. And isn’t that part of what life is all about? Encouraging others? Empowering them to follow their dreams?
7. Writing daily is a lot of fun.
8. Badges are given away to writers who meet certain writer type goals in the 365K club. I’d like to think that if I keep plugging along, I’ll actually win one. So cool that would be.
9. There are opportunities everywhere for writing. All you have to do is look for them. There are newsletters waiting to be written, letters that people want to read, blog posts that come out of nowhere in the sleepy morning hours when everyone else is still dreaming. You simply have to start looking for them.
10. It reminds me to love myself a little bit by engaging in a hobby I love. Will it always be a hobby? I hope not. But the only way to make it into a business or the next bestseller is to keep at it.
Are you a member of the 365K club? Do you engage daily in a hobby that fuels your creative spirit? Care to tell me all about it? I’m looking for something else to write about.
Every now and then, I enjoy having a guest on my blog and this week, it's Michelle Dim-St. Pierre, author of Pinnacle Lust. As I finish reading her book, I'll be sharing my thoughts on it, but today, let's hear what she has to say about why everyone should visit another country...
Why Everyone Should Visit Another Country: by Michelle Dim-St. Pierre
Almost all of us have this raw desire to travel and see the world. We want to learn more about the people and the cultures around us. We want to see the history right before our eyes. For most people, travel is an important part of their lives. To a writer, it’s not just important; it’s vital.
Traveling even just a few hundred miles from home can give you a new outlook on the world. But when your journey takes you far beyond the borders of where you currently live, there’s something eye-opening that will inspire you in an entirely new way. Here are the things I love most about traveling.
Every country is filled with stories. Every country has unique myths and legends. Each country has stories that are passed down from generation to generation. They reveal the history and help each new generation understand how past generations lived. What better way to gain inspiration and to spark creativity than to see what a new country has to offer? To find the stories, you can do it through the best-loved resources available – museums, historical buildings, and events can all help you dive deeper into the culture and experience life from the people deep within.
New lands provide you with new landscapes. From the deserts to the seas, from the mountains to the valleys, every aspect of Mother Earth provides a visitor with a sense of awe. Whether you are in an urban city with millions of inhabitants, or are alone in a desert with no one in sight, the sheer vastness and beauty can leave you breathless. And inspire you well beyond anything you would achieve in the normalcy of home.
Learning a new culture gives you empathy. In many ways we don’t appreciate or empathize with things we don’t understand. By getting close and personal with people from other cultures and other lands, we learn that in as many ways as we are different, we’re also more alike then we realize. By viewing the world through another’s eyes, it provides a palette of characterization in which you can learn from. Mannerisms, accents, beliefs, even physical characteristics can all make you realize just how close we really are. (And give writers like me lots of ideas for new book characters.)
Traveling provides you with more depth. The simple acts of visiting a coffee shop, touring a historic monument, or even sampling the best restaurants in a town will give you more perspective than you could ever get by sitting at home. You can hear the sounds, smell the distinct aromas, and see in distinct detail what certain areas are like, and how the people from within live on a daily basis.
Planning is part of the process. Part of the fun of traveling is planning. It’s like creating a short story before you begin with the fully thought out manuscript. You do a little research, make a few decisions, all in anticipation of adding in the details in the near future. It leaves you filled with anticipation of what is to come.
As a fan of travel and stories myself, I know I'll be planning for future travels with a new perspective as I seek out fodder for stories and growing in empathy toward others. Have you visited another country? If so, did you find the experience to relate to Michelle's thoughts on exploring new countries?
Be sure and check out Michelle's book: Pinnacle Lust or enter below for a chance to win a FREE copy and drop a line...I'd love to hear what you think of it. I finished reading it a week or so ago and will be posting a review soon.