Tag Archives: books

For The Love of Books

20 Apr

Every year we venture off to explore the multitude of books and literary culture at the Festival of Books, and we come home inspired by the stories of Jedis, Batman, Wonder Woman, Frozen Princesses, and regular toddlers and zoo animals out there to save the world.

It’s a great trip, but also a marathon of events for parents, which can definitely wear you out by noon. Everything that is fun for kids and has a massive crowd tends to wear me out. And if meltdowns happen the adventure proves to be even more challenging.

Every year I wish for no meltdowns and I come prepared with Go-Gurt … you know one for snack time and lunch, and plenty of Ritz crackers, sandwiches, granola bars, pretzels, cheese sticks, and juice boxes. But for some reason some inciting incident happens and it burns somebody out.

However I’m happy to report that this weekend was meltdown free!

Oh! For the love of books! Having a smooth day felt pretty great. I felt like a successful parent.

Here’s our adventure.

We scoped out the scene and the kids took the lead. They scouted for the children book tents and found them right away.

We scoped out the scene and the kids took the lead. They scouted for the children book tents and found them right away.

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As we walked passed a few tents we noticed the WriteBrain tents, where storytelling is born.

As we walked passed a few tents we noticed the WriteBrain tents, where storytelling is born.

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My son found his creative side.

My son found his creative side.

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After writing his story, he was called on to read his masterpiece. I loved the ending when the evil jellyfish drowned.

After writing his story, he was called on to read his masterpiece. I loved the ending when the evil jellyfish drowned. My daughter’s story involved a SuperGirl who saved the day from a bully who threw paper airplanes on the school bus.

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Then we headed off to the dreamer section where my kids decided to write down their favorite travel destination, my daughter chose the moon.

Then we headed off to the dreamer section where my kids decided to write down their favorite travel destination, my daughter chose the moon.

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We then headed to the main event, where Batman read Skyscraper Showdown.

We then headed to the main event, where Batman read Skyscraper Showdown.

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At the end he was able to meet the author and gave me his best Justice League pose.

At the end he was able to meet the author and practice his best Justice League pose for the picture.

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While waiting for the next reading, we were treated to some awesome Ballet Folklorico dance moves.

While waiting for the next reading, we were treated to some awesome Ballet Folklorico dance moves. I was inspired to let me inner La Chona out.

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After all the Batman action and dancing, we raced back to the children's area to see if we could still catch the person responsible for one of my son's favorite series...Captain Underpants. It was the longest line ever, but it was worth the wait as Dav Pilkey signed and created a sketch in his book.

After all the Batman action and dancing, we raced back to the children’s area to see if we could still catch the person responsible for one of my son’s favorite series…Captain Underpants. It was the longest line ever, but it was worth the wait as Dav Pilkey signed and created a sketch for my son’s book.

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At the end of the day we picked up some free swag and I've got to say out of all the highlights of the day, getting a bag with this written on it was great. I was reminded to be better.

At the end of the day we bought some exciting books and picked up some free swag, and I’ve got to say out of all the highlights of the day, getting a bag with this written on it was high on the list. I was reminded to be better. Hanging out with books all day will do that to you.

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Finding Inspiration in Underpants

19 Nov

It was an unintended hiatus.

Gone for a five-day adventure into the mind of The Guat except I really didn’t go anywhere. Just been exploring unbounded awareness and trying to focus attention on my writing and personal deadlines I set for myself earlier this year.

I was catching up on life and writing. In fact I was hoping that this side project I had was going to give me that extra boost I needed to cross that finish line at the end of the year. But we’ll see … My time is limited and staying up until 3 a.m. has taken a toll on my body, so once Thursday gets here I’m functioning on reserves and looking like I need a serious makeover, or at least a coat of miracle CoverGirl cosmetics found on aisle 12 at the local Walgreens.

But it was during one of my half asleep zombie moments that I got a great surprise. Something unexpected that gave me a great sense of pride. When my son asked me why I was so tired I explained that I had been working late and was trying to meet some deadlines, trying to finish my book.

And then he asked me why.

I said it was what I did, what I liked to do, and what I always wanted to do. Plus it would help us get out of the George Costanza phase in my life.

He smiled and gave me a hug.

About an hour later he was asking for a stapler and seeing how he’s still in first grade and only has paperclip experience, I thought it would be best to staple whatever he was working on.

This is what he brought to me …

 

This was the first of three he created this weekend.

This was the first book of three he created this weekend.

 

He had created his own version of the Captain Underpants kid series.

Dude.

Dude.

I couldn’t even …

I know that when he grows up he wants to be part firefighter, part Batman, part astronaut, and part Ironman. I know that, I’m happy with it. But the fact that he did that makes the writer in me happy. I had a good moment and it inspired me to keep typing away and keep chugging along.

One word at a time. One sentence at a time. One page at a time. I’ll get there.

 

Success Comes in Threes

10 Sep

Normally it’s “Photo Challenge Wednesday,” but this week I’m happy to be part of the awesome blog tour supporting the launch of my buddy’s third book.

Yeah … that’s right.

I said third.

Pretty badass isn’t?

Yup.

 

Confessions Cover(1)

Her third book

 

 

T.B. Markinson is coming out with her third novel and I’m happy to contribute anything I can to her success as an author. Recently she wrote a post about success and how she defined it, and I found it to be pretty inspiring. It helped redefine my perspective a little, as I tend to be hard on myself when defining success. As writers our path is a little different when it comes to declaring “I made it!” It’s not like a teacher, doctor, accountant, or lawyer. It happens in layers, and in moments. Sometimes they are spectacular fireworks, other times in quiet whispers.

But it happens for each of us in our own way.

And it’s happening for her with the release of her third novel.

To celebrate its release, the book is on sale for $0.99 until September 16th.

$0.99.

That’s less than the price of an actual coffee.

And it’s definitely worth your while.

Here’s a little sneak peek.

 

Excerpt:

Kat rose and sat next to me, so Harold’s date could sit next to him. D-Day was just a few minutes away. I sucked in a long breath. God I hoped Amber would show.

Five minutes ticked by. Kat did her best to keep the conversation going, but after ten minutes, I glanced over my shoulder at the worried look on Samantha’s face. Was it possible Amber wouldn’t show?

Beads of perspiration appeared on Harold’s brow. Poor guy. I tried to think of something to say to ease his suffering, but drew blanks. Even Kat looked concerned and wasn’t her chatty self. Harold fiddled with the wrapped book, accidently tearing the corner off.

“Um, are you Harold?” a timid voice came from directly behind me.

Harold glanced up, but didn’t speak.

Kat bounced out of her chair, “Are you Amber?”

“Yeah. I’m so sorry I’m late. Got held up at work.” She continued to stand behind me.

Harold was gaping at her, his eyes bugged. I didn’t want to turn and make the girl feel even more awkward. If I were her, I would be running for the exit.

“Oh, no apologies needed. You’re here, and that’s all that matters.” Kat led Amber to the seat next to the bug-eyed Gaiman fan.

I nudged Harold’s foot under the table, pleading for him to stop gawking. He either ignored me completely or didn’t understand my meaning.

“Let me get the ball rolling. Amber, this is Harold.” Kat motioned to Harold, who finally smiled bashfully and took his eyes off Amber. At least he wasn’t ogling her like she was a science project gone awry. “And this is my girlfriend, Cori.”

I shook Amber’s hand across the table. “Very nice to meet you.”

Harold still said nothing.

“Where do you work, Amber?” asked Kat.

“I’m a paralegal at a law firm.” Amber fidgeted with the purse on her lap and looked miserable.

One minute in, and already I wanted pull the ripcord.

“Harold and Cori work at Beantown Café together. That’s how we all know each other.” Kat was grasping at straws.

“Oh, that’s nice.” Amber didn’t sound impressed.

“I also teach at Adams University. British lit,” I added, and then kicked myself. She wasn’t my date to impress and I made Harold look even more like a loser. Dammit, Cori, you and your ego.

“Really?” Finally, her face had some expression: excitement. “I love to read.”

Her statement kindled an ounce of life in Harold’s body language. He nodded and peeked at her from the corner of his eyes. Then he stared at the water again. Baby steps, Harold, baby steps.

“Who’s your favorite author?” I held my breath after my query. Please say Neil Gaiman. Please, please.

I felt Kat squeeze my leg in anticipation, digging all five nails deep into my thigh.

“J.K. Rowling.”

 

Summary:

Cori Tisdale was on top of the world. A basketball star at Harvard and a promising author with a lucrative book deal.

A few years later, Cori’s life is falling apart. Her beautiful girlfriend, Kat Finn, has a shopping addiction. To make ends meet, Cori takes a part-time job at a coffee shop.

Just when Cori thinks her life can’t get any worse, an old crush appears out of the blue. Cori’s friendship with Samantha Clarke pushes Cori further into a dangerous abyss when Sam reveals two secrets to Cori and asks her not to tell a soul, including Kat.

Will this be the end of Cori’s and Kat’s relationship?

 

About the Author:

B. Markinson is a 40-year old American writer, living in England, who pledged she would publish before she was 35. Better late than never. When she isn’t writing, she’s traveling around the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in England, or taking the dog for a walk. Not necessarily in that order. T. B. has published A Woman Lost, Marionette, and Confessions From A Coffee Shop.

 

Purchase Links:

Amazon (US):

Amazon (UK):

 

Mailing List:

Sign up to TB’s New Release Mailing List here. Your email will never be shared and you will only be contacted when a new book is out.

Links:

Twitter       Facebook       Blog       Goodreads     Amazon Author Page

 

 

Today I Was Thankful For Elizabeth Gilbert

1 Aug

Survive. Everyone is trying to do it, including me.

But I realized some people are trying to get passed this stage and move on to the next. Apparently there are three stages in life and I had no idea. There’s Survival, Success, and Significance. The Almighty Oprah has spoken and you know if she said it has to be true. Well I don’t know if she said it, but she totally agreed with whoever did and her endorsement goes a long way. Just ask any writer that made it to her Oprah’s Book Club Selection.

Dude.

Anyhow, I’m sad to say that I’ve been stuck so long in the survival stage I wasn’t aware that there were two others. I’ve been hanging on, chugging along, keep on keeping on for some time now. During the day I can escape my survival stage with bucket list adventures, family outings with my kids, triathlons, friends, or indulging in the best chocolate ever.

But I’ve realized that it’s in the quiet of the night when it catches up with me, you know when I realize that I’m still surviving, and not succeeding or feeling significant in any way. Thank God for meditation, a good cup of tea, and the awesome Wish Factor that is humor, These have become my nightly saviors. Namaste Deepak Chopra for bringing some peace. Holla to you Yogi Bedtime tea makers with your little pick-me-ups written on the teabag. And as for you Jason Bateman and Jimmy Fallon … you rock. I think I would have jumped off a cliff if it weren’t for the fact that you crack me up. These have been my survival tools and I thought they were great.

But is that what I want? Do I want to just survive, or do I want to succeed? Or do I want to make my existence significant to those closest to me, you know live with purpose?

Considering that I was in survival mode, these seemed like pretty heavy questions. These were chocolate-worthy Ben & Jerry moments.

elizabeth-gilbert

Elizabeth Gilbert

And just when I was feeling pretty crappy about being in survival mode Eat, Pray, Love superstar Elizabeth Gilbert saved my day. I really enjoyed her book when I read it a couple of years ago and admire her journey. Not because she’s a successful writer but because she was in a really crappy situation, I mean it sucked. If your life has ever sucked, been in complete disarray, then this is the book for you. Her journey even helps you on your journey. But I’ve got to say if you haven’t really had hardships or felt emotional devastation then this book may not be for you. She may just seem like a crazy, neurotic chic that traveled for a year. You might not “get it,” and that’s o.k. But for my purposes today Gilbert saved me.

I happened to come across one of her lectures online during these heavy life questions, and I found my answer. She went on to talk about how even with all this success, she herself doesn’t have it together and she thinks it’s funny that people accuse her of doing so and come to her for help. She struggles too, maybe not financially because c’mon Best Seller, please. But more on an emotional level and just with every day business and life. It happens. Even though people look like they have it together there are moments, days, weeks where they need a Godiva chocolate and Jason Bateman too.

Dude. Light bulb.

You’re doing the best with what you’ve got and who you are.  And survival stage may seem like forever, but it’s only temporary. You’ll get to where you want to go if you keep at it. Cut yourself some slack because tomorrow’s another day and you get another try. Live your best life and aspire. Yes, aspire. But be kind to yourself when you fall short, be forgiving when failure and disappointments happen in your life’s scavenger hunt, because  you’re a “Pioneer of Continuing On.” Be grateful and thankful for the little things, for the little accomplishments that help you get through it.

Dude.

So today I cut myself some slack just for being in the survival stage.

Today I’m thankful for the awesome Nopales recipe that I rocked out in my kitchen … Totally Food Network worthy.

Today I was thankful for my kids spontaneous burst of laughter over the word booty right before bedtime.

Today I was thankful for my cup of Yogi Bedtime tea.

Today I was thankful for my 500th post. WOO-HOO to me! I am a writer even when I don’t get paid, anyone who writes 500 pages of something can definitely be called that. I’m thinking I’m worthy of business cards now.

Today I was thankful for Elizabeth Gilbert who helped me with my course correction.