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Running and Writing

28 Feb

In truth I’m pretty impressed with myself for finishing the second novel in my 12 of 12 literary quest  this year.

As you all know I’m the slowest reader, who’s a writer, on Earth, and I put this challenge forward as a way to expand my reading beyond my kid’s reading list and discover some new and exciting stories.  I enjoy the a-ha moments, or just the little tid-bits of advice that come to me throughout the chapters, something that helps me shift something inside me and keep me on the yellow-brick road, no matter how rocky the path.

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Now I hadn’t heard much about Murakami so I don’t know what that says about my literary chops, but I’m trying. I mean the cover alone made me think I was about to go on an epic journey.  I was really looking forward to reading this as it came highly recommended by a writer I’ve recently discovered through the awesome world of Podcasts. When he mentioned it the book centering on writing and running, I was like … yes. Someone else gets it! Someone can see how these two are intertwined and I embarked on this can’t-wait-to-see-what-happens enlightenment session.

However, it wasn’t a life-altering experience, which was disappointing. I was thinking it would hit me like a bolt of lightning, but it was more nuanced than that. It did have its moments though.

The narrative seemed to pick up around chapter six for me, when I felt he got a little deeper with meaning behind his running and writing, and what happens when we get older and the facts of life we have to accept. I enjoyed the parallels he made between both passions, and the goals and life lessons he learned along the way.  I especially enjoyed the last paragraph of the book, as it captured the essence of the journey. He championed himself as a runner, someone who was always determined to finish, and never give up, someone who never walked during a marathon, and I found that quality admirable. That metaphor applied not only to running, but to his his life.

I feel the only reason I was able to make this connection was because I was a writer and runner myself. If you are not a runner or a writer, this book may not be for you, you might not enjoy the details of his marathon training, long runs, or writing process. I had never heard of Haruki Murakami before this recommendation, but considering he had some bright spots in this novel I might give another book a chance. It’s always interesting to read something, even if it’s not mind-blowing, that adjusts something inside of you, no matter how small. You’re just a little bit different from the day you started the story.

Buen Camino my friends!

 

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Friday Feel Goods

5 Jan

Now I would have been the first to doubt this mini-accomplishment. You know … because of my below basic book club member skills. I had two books on my GoodReads page all year and I didn’t finish them.

Sad. I know.

For being a writer I’m pretty lame at reading. But in my defense I am a kick-ass member of the Parenthood Book Club. I make an awesome chocolate cake and rock during discussions. The kids and I finished so many interesting books filled with funny characters and great stories. But our highlights were reading the series Chicken Squad by Doreen Cronin, Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park,  Timmy Failure by Stephan Pastis, All The Wrong Questions: Shouldn’t You Be in School?, by Lemony Snickets,  Grandpa’s Great Escape by David Walliams, and Wonder by RJ Palacio.

 

You see?

Kick ass member.

But when it came to being an adult and opening up my GoodReads shelf, I was super lame. So when I finished a book in three days, I totally got the feel good vibes! I felt all warm and fuzzy. It was one  in the morning and I was still turning pages, that’s how hooked I was on the book.

 

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I had heard of this book for some reason. I think a friend had mentioned it a while back when it first came out. Then I heard it had turned into a series with Nicole Kidman. I hadn’t watched it, but I thought if I need to open up the New Year with a good story this one might be it. I wasn’t into the hype or popularity of it. I just got drawn to it somehow. Strong female characters, someone said. And I was like … yeah. I need some strong, female characters.

Little Big Lies.

Duuuuuuuuuuuuuude.

I don’t want to give away any spoilers in case it’s still on your to-do list, but if this book can be finished in three days by someone like myself you need to read it! Now granted it took me some time to figure out the beginning and latch on, but after a couple of chapters I was in. By the middle of it,  I couldn’t put it down. I was up passed my bedtime reading via flashlight, cozy under the covers, cracking up at times, exhaling in frustration during others, and gasping in surprise towards the end. It’s a story about three women and the “big little lies,” they have to tell themselves and each other in order to get through the days with ex-husbands, teenage daughters, encounters with the Gossipy-Mommy-And-Me-PTA-Mafia, unfounded accusations, and the school drama and scandal that brings everything crashing down at the end. The lies ALL COME OUT. Big and little.

It. Was. Awesome.

I got the feel goods after the big reveal and those warm and fuzzies continued even when I got to the last page. Finishing a book! Being engaged in this story in the lives of these women. It was a good way to end the week. You know, it was on my self-project list for the year. Read 12 books in 12 months. Could it be done by someone like myself?

Hmph. I wasn’t sure.

But as of today … things are looking good.

Finishing a great story just sort of feels like drinking the last drop of hot chocolate in your warm and toasty mug.

That’s how it made me feel. Not because it was a warm and fuzzy novel, far from it. There’s a murder in it. But it cracked me up and made me smile at times, because I could totally recognize some of these people. But it also frustrated me at times because I thought c’mon … you ladies are stronger than that. I was invested in the story until the end, until the last word.

I thought maaaaaaaaaaaaan! Friday Feel Goods feel great.

If you have any page-turners you’d like to suggest for my year long reading quest, feel free.

Buen Camino my friends!

 

 

 

 

 

Uncovering Great Stories …

24 Apr

Celebrating words and their magical effect on our lives under the California sun created a moment for the Jar of Awesome.

Every year, we find our way through the mazes of people and books to create our own weekend adventure. Sometimes the moments are simple, other times they’re exciting fireworks style encounters, either way we always look forward to this book lover’s tradition.

We look forward to what this festival will uncover. Sometimes it’s all about meeting a special author, other times it’s about discovering a new story, or running into my kid’s favorite super hero, sometimes it’s about exploring the science stations, or cooking demonstrations, and sometimes it’s about witnessing a great performance on stage. This weekend we were lucky enough to experience it all, although the Caped Crusader was missing … probably solving a crime though.

It was our yearly outing to the Festival of Books and the fact that we didn’t have a meltdown definitely ranked as a Top-10 Outing.

But the one special surprise that snuck its way into our hearts was discovering The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors. Now if you know anything about kids, you know that rock, paper, scissors is a major tie-breaker decision maker around here. So when we uncovered the origins of this very funny story, mom scored some points. If you have kids I strongly encourage you to read this one. The fact that we met the author and got it signed? Mom got a high-five for that one. The fact that we got four of our books signed? Yup. It was chocolate time.

So as I sat there on the grass, under a tree, listening to the band on the nearby stage, unloading our reading treasures and eating the goods from our homemade picnic, I thought … definitely a moment to be captured on film. Definitely a moment to be grateful for … definitely a moment for the Jar of Awesome.

 

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The Adventure begins …

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Checking out some authors …

 

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Hitting the stage to rock some children’s music …

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I loved checking out this wall … can you find ours?

 

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My kids thought this would be a great book for me …

 

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I decided to pick that up plus a couple of freebies 🙂

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We stopped by to spread some kindness during our book loving tour …

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Before departing we left our mark on the wall of books …

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Our awesome loot at the end of the day …

Yup … it was a 10 out of 10. High five mom.

 

 

I Just Joined A New Club, But Wasn’t Aware of It

17 Mar

I could be your worst Book Club nightmare.

Just strolling on in to eat the snacks and talk about scenes in the book that only come out in the movie. It’s taken me a year to read two books. Just two. And I’m not even finished yet. It’s not to say that the books are bad, they’re not. They’re actually pretty good. Really good.

It’s something else holding me back, interrupting the nooks and crannies of quiet time and peace, making my eyes heavy, so heavy that I knock out with having only read a page. It’s the culprit that keeps your bookmark on the same page for weeks, it’s the thing that keeps you renewing different copies of the same book from the library for over and over again. It comes to a point where you should really purchase it by now.

It’s parenthood.

Yup, that pesky responsibility keeps getting in the way of a good book … well parenthood and my love of Netflix. I usually keep this shame and embarrassment to myself. I mean what kind of writer am I if I’m not reading other people’s work? I mean I even have an autographed copy of Elizabeth Gilbert’s book hanging out in bag, next to the Chapstick, still marked on Chapter 4.

Lie.

Chapter 2.

The embarrassment even compels me to lie where my bookmark falls. I’m so used to keeping it to myself, I try to downplay it in public. But every so often when my buddy posts something, I am reminded of this failure even more and there’s downplaying it to her. I confess. Automatically. And after our little conversation I think I should really be banned from any book club entirely.

You see my blogging buddy, Jackie Cangro is an avid reader and posts these amazing reading lists on novels that appeal to every kind of book lover. And every time I see it, I jot down at least one or two books and let her know how amazing they sound and how ready I am to walk on over to Barnes and Noble and head over to Amazon.com to buy it.

But that never happens.

I end up being the bad Book Club member of a club I was never invited to be a part of, sad I know. The kind you don’t want to invite back because they never finish the book, or they have yet to get started.

But then I realized something … I HAVE been part of a book club and finishing books every month sometimes three, four, five books. I just wasn’t realizing it because it was the Parenthood Book Club. I’ve been hanging out with Dr. Seuss, Mo Willems, Victoria Kann, Herman Parish, Ted Arnold, Roald Dahl, Henry Winkler, Beverly Cleary, Jack Chabert, Jeffrey Brown, Tom Angleberger, Wendelin Van Draanen, and many others.

So I stand corrected.

Parenthood hasn’t  made me a terrible book club member, I just joined a new club and wasn’t aware of it. Adventures come in all kinds of genres.

Here are our top picks:

jedi-academy

For adventure and young Jedis.

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scaredysquirrelbooks

My kids enjoy the laughs Scaredy Squirrel brings.

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The Here’s Hank series is one of the funniest and engaging stories involving a young boy and his adventures with family, friends, or school.

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MoWill

This series always cracks up my kindergartner. Easy to read and fun.

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Lorax

Who doesn’t love Dr.Seuss right?

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Amelia

We love Amelia Bedelia’s smart, strong, funny, and independent mind. Her adventures always keep my kindergartner engaged.

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Shredderman Books

Standing up to bullies, solving mysteries, and doing the right thing are all part of this amazing series for young kids.

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WhoWas

My son loves this nonfiction series! It talks about the lives of important historical figures in a way that’s interesting for young readers.

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ralph

I loved Beverly Clearly growing up and was so happy that my son enjoyed the adventurous story of Ralph and his motorcycle.

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charlie

This classic had my son looking for Willy Wonka Gobbstoppers and Everlasting Chewing Gum. It was an imaginative ride that proved to be one of his favorites.

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Fly Guy! His stories make a kindergartner and 3rd grader laugh. Fly Guy explores both fiction and nonfiction genres. His adventures in fiction explore school, museums, restaurants, fly swatters, Frankenstein and other fun stories that revolve around friendship. The nonfiction series helps kids learn about science, animals, and environments.

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Feel free to check some of these out with your young book lovers. There are so many authors and books that we’ve come across that I couldn’t mention, but if you know of any feel free to share!

Have a great weekend!

Motivation Mondays: The Three-Legged Dog

27 Feb

Putting things in perspective becomes extremely difficult when you’re at rock bottom. You forget to ask the right questions because raw emotions tear into your being. You’ve finished three pints of Ben & Jerry’s and still find that there’s need for more.

I’ve been in these situations more times than I thought possible, as the Universe keeps “building” my character, but it took me until my mid-thirties to be able to find perspective at a faster pace. Before that, the anger, frustration, and hopelessness of the situation would stick with me for a while before I could flip the switch,  learn the lesson, or ask the right question. I have failed on all kinds of levels, multi-faceted levels, in every aspect of my life from writing, parenthood, love, and friendships, to self-discovery. I haven’t met someone who hasn’t failed yet, although I can think of a few who say they haven’t failed at all and just hide it well.

But I don’t point it out to them. No need. Some people just want to keep their lessons to themselves. All good. I don’t necessarily wear a sign and promote things myself, but I don’t really hide from failures, disappointments, betrayals, disasters, or gut-wrenching losses.

And it’s not that I don’t care, or I don’t get embarrassed, I just realized that when something like that happens, I can find my way through the messy truth. The emotions are still there and they’re still painful, whenever I fall on my own, or have been pushed down the most jagged cliff on Earth by someone I know or don’t know, but I stand up a lot faster. Broken bones and all.

I tend not to forget this turnaround lesson, this approach to finding my way back, because I’ve had so much practice, but I was recently reminded about perspective last week.

You see here …

 

This dog was racing through the open field. Jumping around. I swore he was smiling. Totally. Now normally you would think so what, right? Not a big deal.

But Maxie is a three-legged dog. Three-legged. I had only seen that once before and it blew my mind at how carefree and spirited he was sprinting through the grass just enjoying time. Now most dogs don’t really have problems, but this one. Yeah I’d say he has something to complain about, but he wasn’t, at least not when I saw him. He was sprinting like Hussein Bolt.

He was carpe all over that diem. His perspective was different. So I had to introduce myself and the owners were gracious enough to let me snap his picture. Maxie had that good mojo and meeting him was one of the highlights of my week. I got some of that feel-good feeling, that sunshine-in-my-pocket kind of feeling. It was good to get a reminder, even if I didn’t need one.

Buen Camino.

 

 

She’s back!

2 Dec

I barely have time to take a shower or comb my hair so the fact that my buddy has written multiple novels since I met her amazes me.

When I first met T.B. her travel stories and 50 Year Project intrigued me. I thought … man this chick’s journey is so cool. What’s on deck? What’s she gonna do next?

That’s when the novels came and I thought holy crap! She’s doing this, she’s really doing this.

And I was just happy to have known her and come along for the ride, because it’s been an inspirational one. As a writer,  you’re always pulling for your fellow buddies to make it, and T.B. has definitely done that.

She’s got this one character … you know the one that just keeps coming back, the one that makes  you wonder at the end of a book … Well what happened? How’d she get there? How’d they meet? What’s gonna happen tomorrow?

She’s got one that’s interesting enough to inspire prequel.

Yup.

T.B. Markinson, my bud, has brought Lizzie back. With A Clueless Woman making its debut this week, I knew I wanted to be part of her promotion team. So here’s a sneak peak for those of you ready to find out more …

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Graduate student Lizzie Petrie feels more comfortable around books than people. Although an expert in the Hitler Youth, she’s a novice in love. Her former lesbian lover is blackmailing her, and not even those closest to Lizzie know the full story of their abusive relationship.

When visiting high school English teacher Sarah crosses Lizzie’s path at the campus, their attraction is instant, but not without complications. As they start to spend more time together, suspicions arise from both women in this sexy piece of LGBT fiction.

Plenty of good-natured teasing takes place between lovers as well as between PhD students in this lesbian contemporary romance. No relationship path ever runs smoothly, and oftentimes, those who can’t keep their mouth shut hasten necessary confrontation.

Lizzie finds herself buried in a mess of lies in this romantic comedy. The harder she tries to keep Sarah and the rest of her friends from finding out the truth about her first girlfriend, the more endearingly clueless she becomes.

You can pick up her novel on Amazon.com or visit her author’s page here in order to check out her other books.

What’s in store for A Clueless Woman

“I feel like a lady of the night.” Meg crammed the wad of twenties I’d just furtively handed over into the pocket of her jeans. “Of course, if things don’t turn around for me soon, that might be my future calling. Do ya think William would pay to sleep with me? He was never shy about his desires.”

I assumed she’d added that juicy detail about my colleague to bait me. No, to remind me of what she was capable of and to keep me in line. Years of falling for her self-pity and emotional blackmail had taught me to steel myself and ignore Meg to the best of my ability, but I still found myself saying, “I can’t keep handing over wads of money.”

“Why? We both know you aren’t even close to draining your trust fund, not even a quarter of it.” Meg leveled her deep-green gaze on my face.

“I’m not responsible for you.”

“Responsible for me?” She laughed, bitterly. “Have you been attending Al-Anon meetings or something?”

I sighed. “I need to go.” I hoisted my book bag over my shoulder. Meg feigned lunging at me, and I jumped back. We were in an alley behind a coffee shop, and Meg was blocking the street exit. The door to the coffee shop didn’t have a handle, and I assumed it could only be opened from the inside. I moved back, against the wall, inching closer to safety.

“Must be nice to have the luxury of being a student.” Her abrasive smile alerted me to tread carefully. My mind flooded with memories of invoking Meg’s wrath. She crossed her arms, revealing she had no intention of budging. “How are William and Janice? It’s been a long time since I was welcome to join the weekly study sessions.” Her eyes lit up. “Hey, I know. I bet William would pay big bucks for me to tell him all about us.” She ran a finger down my face, and I willed myself not to cringe. “The things you used to do to me and what you begged me to do to you.” She reached for my belt buckle, but I backpedaled, much to her delight. “I bet that’d get him off.” She squared her shoulders. “Or you could just meet me next week.” Meg patted the wad in her pocket.

“Fine.”

A car horn blared, and Meg spun to view the commotion, allowing me to sidle past. Once out of harm’s way, on the sidewalk, I turned. “Keep going to your meetings, okay?” I said.

Meg’s eyes softened but then quickly coalesced into anger. “Get off your high horse, Lizzie. You aren’t perfect. And don’t forget”—she stabbed a finger in the air—“next week.”

If you’re interested in finding out what happens next make sure to visit Amazon.com and get your copy.

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Thanks Cheryl … Now I Remember, I Just Haven’t Accessed Them Yet

13 Nov

It was like I had to do it.

I mean I could have done it tomorrow in light of day, just catching moments of time here and there, but I thought it was best to soak it in all at once and have a moment. A wow moment, a self-discovery moment I knew would take place because it had happened before. It had happened with other great books in the quiet of the night, other books that gave me moments of reflection, moments of change at just the right time.

So I wanted another one.

I had to do it. I had to find out what happened in the end, I mean I know what happened, she got to the bridge. But what really happened, how did it feel? What did it change? Because even though I hadn’t walked, run, or hiked those hundreds of miles on The Pacific Crest Trail, I had changed with her.

37 pages.

That’s all I had left after chipping away for months on Cheryl Strayed’s novel, Wild. 37 pages. Didn’t seem like much, just a thin sliver, but for a slow reader like myself that seemed like a chunk and in the end, a chunk is what it was because so much had happened in those 37 pages.

And I needed to tell someone, tell my own personal community book club that no one knew they were a part of until the read the first sentence of this post.

I needed to share.

Not that anyone would read it right away, or that anyone would read it in its entirety but I felt like this has become my own little support group, filled with people I’ve never met, but at the same time filled with people who also know parts of me. Well … I did meet Susie. Bonus.

But this community of writers, and artists had become a place where running to share something awesome that happened to you because you know that somewhere out there something just as awesome has happened to someone in return and they can relate to you. Whether they’re in California, England, Boston, or Australia. Someone relates.

So I found myself at 11:59 p.m. sitting there having a moment. I had just been part of Strayed’s journey, she brought me along the her 1,100+ mile Pacific Crest Trail adventure describing the forests, mountains, skylines, lakes, trees, wildlife, and moonlit nights that transformed her.

For those of you who haven’t read it and want to, this might be the place to stop…for the rest of you…

This was definitely the story of someone who seemingly had everything health, family, college, and the love of a good man–a good husband. But that all went to crap after the heartbreaking death of her mother. Affairs, betrayal, divorce, heroine, all these bad choices found this girl at the bottom and so far away from her center she had no idea where her internal compass had gone, and she had no idea how to get back until she discovered a simple guidebook to Pacific Coast Trail while waiting in line … it was this guidebook that sparked the idea that eventually changed her life. It reminded of the movie I had seen awhile back, the one that had made such an impact, The Way, starring Martin Sheen.

They were both physical journeys that impacted the emotional levels of each character, it changed their spirit and helped them find their center. It helped both of them come to terms with the things that happened in their life.

And even though the journey had great discoveries it also had exasperating moments, like when Strayed accidentally dropped one of her hiking boots over a cliff and all she could do was hug the other one really tight, the only other hiking boot she had left, before chucking it over in utter frustration. I found myself thinking … dude that would have totally happened to me.

But at the end the losing the boot didn’t seem to matter much, it was part of what was supposed to happen in order to get her to that spot. At the end when she reached the Bridge of Gods and eventually found herself sitting on that white bench, eating the ice cream and having her moment, feeling like she knew certain things in her life would come to pass, even though she hadn’t accessed them yet, she knew they would come, that she would be all right. She knew and she was full of gratitude.

At that point, I remembered Ayers Rock in Australia. I remembered having my own mini adventure in Uluru. I remembered the roundabout walk around Uluru, the 10K, the feeling of peace as I touched to the magical sandstone, the feeling of awareness, the presence, the stories told by my aboriginal guide, the quiet I felt as I sat on the wooden bench when it was over. The gratitude in knowing the trip had changed my life and the knowledge that I’d be all right no matter what was waiting for me when I got back.

Strayed took me back to a moment that had slipped my mind, a moment after my own journey that I needed to remember. Strayed reminded me or parts that are yet to come … they’re there … I just haven’t accessed them yet.

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I Had Gotten My Spark

26 Oct

I thought there would be fireworks and it would be magical. 

I’d built it up to be such a great thing because I’d gotten so much out of the book… but being stuck in traffic, parking way across campus, and showing up 20 minuted late really seemed to fizzle things out. Nothing was going according to plan…
I had met her when my life was in shambles, Telenovela shambles … the kind where you wish you weren’t the main character because everything was so jacked up but it turned out that when you looked in the mirror you were that character, you were in shambles. 

Yeah that was me some years ago, and  I found such comfort and Aha! moments in Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love novel that it helped me transition through such a tough time. Going through that with her words swirling in my thoughts and settling in my heart, I’d expected that same transformational lightning-bolt moment to happen again. But the two hours in traffic seemed to take the umph out of the lightning.

Sadly … I’d missed the opening. I hate missing anything, I’m the kind of person that gets to the movies early just to enjoy the previews, I don’t like missing the Oscars monologue, I don’t like missing beginnings, they sort of set the tone for everything else. So missing out on the first half of anything, especially this speech was kind of a downer. 

But just then and there as I walked into the auditorium, sweaty and hair in desperate need of a hat or some Aquanet hairspray, I saw her and gratitude kicked in. I wasn’t focused so much on what I had lost, on how far I had parked, on the disasterous traffic, or what nugget of Big Magic I had missed, but I was centered on my gratitude.

 I had caught the second half. 

I mean in sports that’s when things matter, the second half. That’s when Hail Marys are thrown and the crows go wild. In books that’s where thing matter, in the second half. So as I stood there in the aisle leaning against the pillar I focused in on that voice I had heard so many times before in the Magic Lessons podcasts, and it appeared.

The spark.

I came away with two great take-home moments from stories that seemed to resonate with the writer and creative force inside me.  Great lines that made there way into my morning routine and do t-give-up inner dialogue.

And even though after the lecture ended the bad luck continued, I still found gratitude. The line was long for the book signing, and even though the chick in front of me took longer than she was supposed to and stole my moment with Gilbert making her posse quickly usher me away after she signing my book, I still felt good.

I had gotten my spark.

 I had gotten my take-home moments … two of them and I was thankful for the mini lesson.

  

The Miracle Girl is Out

8 Jul

It’s amazing what someone can accomplish in a couple of years. Some people binge watch on Netflix, some people lose 100 pounds, some people get married, some people get divorced, some people have families. Some people write books.

Everybody has the same amount of time, just got to figure out what you want to do with it.

Every one has got a year.

What’s your passion? What are you going to do with your year?

I’ve got all kinds of things planned, but today I’m here to talk about my buddy, TB Markinson’s passion and her awesome year. Other than traveling the world bit by bit, finding the best pubs Europe has to offer, TB is also a writer. She’s hooked on it, and she’s pretty good at it. This week she released her sixth, yeah I said it … sixth novel! She’s definitely found her passion and she definitely knows how to make the best of her time. I’m definitely inspired by her as a writer and hope to get my first one out there.

So in honor of this accomplishment I’m out here trying to spread the word and give you a sneak peek of her novel, as well as some insight into her creative mind.

This is T.B. Markinson

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When did you know you wanted to be a writer? When did it click for you?

Way back in the dinosaur age, when I was in the sixth grade, our teacher asked each of us to write a story about Christmas. Usually I hated homework, but this assignment inspired me. To get in the mood, I sat by our Christmas tree in the dark except for the bubble lights and I penned my story. My teacher loved it and wrote a note at the top that read: You should be a writer when you grow up.

That was it. Ever since then I’ve wanted to write stories. Not just about Christmas, though.

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Your books are filled with strong female leads, what characteristics do you like about them, which ones are you drawn to, compelled to write about? What makes you want to write their story?

I find it easier to have female leads since it’s easier for me to relate to them, for the obvious reason that I am a female. At some point, I think it would be interesting to have a strong male lead, but I worry about creating a realistic portrayal of the opposite sex.

All of my female leads are flawed. That’s why I find them fascinating. I’m not a fan of “perfect” characters. They aren’t realistic, really. I like to get to know my characters to uncover what makes them the way they are.

You’re big on GoodReads, what kind of books/stories do you enjoy reading? What are you reading now?

I know some people stick to one genre, but I’ll read just about anything, including loads of nonfiction, fiction, journal articles, and newspapers. I studied history in college and I still buy and read books many wouldn’t even notice when walking through a store. I do read lots of fiction, though. My faves are classics, but I’ll read anything from steampunk to romance. I only require one thing from novels: a good story. It can take place on the moon, in a prison, in the past, in the future, or in Timbuktu for all I care. Just as long as it entertains me.

I tend to have several books going at once. Currently, I’m reading The Bully Pulpit, which is about Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft, The Renaissance of Hetty Lockler, a young adult paranormal book, and White Teeth by Zadie Smith.

Which one of your characters would you hang out with for a drink? Why?

I would like to hang out with JJ Cavendish, but probably wouldn’t take her out for a drink since she’s a recovering addict. In her younger days, JJ was a travel writer and I’d love to hear about her travel stories. And she has way of embellishing her stories.

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Now with all these books under your belt how has your writing process changed, or has it stayed the same? What has been the difference between your first book (journey from writing to getting published) and your most recent release? What was easier? What was more challenging?

My writing process keeps changing, and that’s due to life. When I was working on my first novel, I was still working full time, so I worked when I could find the time and energy. After my partner’s company moved us from the US to London, I starting writing full time. It’s nice to have more time to write, but it also makes it more stressful. Now I don’t have excuses for not getting the next project done.

What’s easier and what’s more challenging? That’s hard to answer, because it depends on the day. Some days I feel like I’ve learned a thing or two from my editors, other authors, and from reviews. Other days I want to run screaming for the hills. I can experience a range of emotions within seconds. When creating something from scratch and knowing strangers will have a chance to weigh in, well it’s an intimidating experience.

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give the TB who was writing her first novel, A Woman Lost?

I think I’d give the same advice I give people now: Don’t give up. I think that’s the key to most things in life. Just to keep going even when things are tough. It’s totally a cliché, but it works.

Now talking about The Miracle Girl, how’d you get the idea for this book? When did it come to you? What part of this novel writing process was difficult/challenging and how did you get over it? 

 When I started writing The Miracle Girl, I only knew one thing: the main character had a secret. I didn’t know JJ’s secret, but I was intrigued by her right from the start. As I got to know her, I realized she was an alcoholic and an addict. This was challenging for me since I’m not. Heck, I’ve never even smoked pot. I had to do a ton of research, which included reading, movies, documentaries, and pestering people about their experiences. Thanks to all of those who put up with my questions. Even the lame ones.

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Now that you’ve published The Miracle Girl, what’s next for you? Blog Tour? Taking a break? Working on ideas for your next book? 

 Each time I publish something I think about taking a break, but my mind keeps churning out ideas and characters I want to explore. So right now, I’m working with one editor on a novel and another editor and I are fine-tuning a short story. In my free time, I’m drafting a sequel to my third novel. Gosh it sounds exhausting. Maybe I should take a break, but I love what I do. That’s the key: enjoying writing at least half of the time. The other half I’m slamming my head against the keyboard crying, “Why?”

TB’s new book The Miracle Girl is on sale on Amazon. I hope you go out and buy a copy.

Here’s a sneak peek…

Newspaper publisher and world traveler JJ Cavendish continually feels pressured to live up to her Miracle Girl nickname. Not many people know she’s living a carefully crafted lie. She may not hide ties to the LGBT community, but she does hide past struggles with addiction.

When the Colorado native is handpicked to take the helm at a dying Denver newspaper, she ends up reconnecting with her long lost love in this contemporary lesbian romance. Only there’s a catch. If JJ fires the most belligerent editor at the paper, she risks losing the love of her life.

Mid-afternoon office romps abound in this romantic comedy while also focusing on what it takes for a newspaper to remain relevant in this age of social media.

Must JJ lose everything in order to gain a life more fully her own?

Doesn’t that make you want to buy it?

If you’re interested in this novel, or any of her other works you can find them on her Amazon page as well.

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Loving Seuss on His Birthday

2 Mar

I had no idea how amazingly talented this dude was until I was older, perhaps when I decided to be a writer.

I mean really … who creates worlds like that out of the blue, and then pours them out on the page.

And then makes them rhyme.

And then illustrates these worlds with crayons that color outside the box.

And it’s amazing.

Dude.

Dr. Seuss would have been 111 years old today.

I remember growing up and going to the library on the hill, the one overlooking the baseball diamond, I headed to the small children’s section in the back and browsed through the books, figuring out which ones I would check out. I used to sit in that little corner for a while until my Dad came by with books of his own and it was time to check out.

I know a lot of people have their favorites. With The Cat and The Hat, Horton Hears a Who, or Oh, The Places You’ll Go! being at the top. They are pretty awesome books with a good lesson in every one, but I’d have to say that my favorite is The Lorax. I never been in GreenPeace or anything but I think it was a great lesson on caring for the environment and being concerned with how your presence can effect your surroundings.

The Lorax

The Lorax

 

But most of all I think I like The Lorax because he has a little George Costanza in him when things start to fall apart. I mean he tries the nice approach, but The Once-ler doesn’t seem to care about consequences and keeps growing his business at the expense of the environment.

And that’s when it happens … The Lorax hits his Serenity Now moment in hopes that it would change things, but it doesn’t work so he leaves The Once-ler to learn his lesson the hard way.

He reminded me of myself, because sometimes you need a little Costanza in you to get your point across. You need to get passionate and crazy to try to teach people to do the right thing.

I like the fact that this was a kid’s book and someone got a little heated. I liked that there was more than one dimension to the character, because I had more dimension. I had layers. And I liked that I saw that in the book and that it wasn’t a bad thing.

I read it to my kids. It was actually the first Dr. Seuss book I read to my son and enjoyed the fact that he gets caught up in the colorful Dr. Seuss world and appreciates the message. Although The Lorax wasn’t his favorite character, he seemed to enjoy the Brown Bar-ba-loots eating the Truffula fruits and the Humming Fished, who hummed. But his favorite character was the boy in the story, the one with the last Truffula Seed of them all. He seems to care a lot and that’s why he liked him.

And I like that Dr. Seuss exposed this side of my son.

What did Dr. Seuss do for you?

What’s your favorite character?