Sunday, September 25, 2011

Something Like Sabotage

I’ve always been a color inside the lines, play by the rules kind of girl. But sometimes, with those lines we draw and those rules we decide to follow, we can actually sabotage ourselves. I realized recently that by labeling myself a short story writer I’d created my own limits. I’d boxed myself in and narrowed my world to a particular area that felt comfortable.

When I read a post on author Linda Urban's blog last month, where she talked about a book called "The Art of Possibility," I knew I had to read it for myself. In it, authors Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander introduce a different way of looking at the world and our relationships. It’s all about expanding our boundaries and opening ourselves up to unlimited possibilities.

In taking on writing a YA novel this year, I’ve stepped outside of the lines that I’d once drawn for myself and have entered the world of possibility.

On the days where I flounder, the temptation is to doubt myself, wonder if I’ve taken a misstep, debate going back to the comfort of shorter projects. But what this book reminds me is that I’ve embarked on new territory. The way may not be familiar, but that doesn’t mean I need to turn back. This is the world of possibility, and I think I’ll see where it leads me.

What world do you live in?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Thick Skin, Random Facts, & Giveaway Winners

Thick skin – elephants are born with it. We human beings on the other hand, have to work hard to develop it. For me, in everyday life, as well as the writing life, a big part of toughening up was allowing myself to be human. Giving myself permission to make mistakes, experience failures, and even to speak them out loud or put them down on the page.

I was quite possibly one of the most pitifully thin-skinned people ever. A disgruntled motorist flipped me off in traffic, I would cry. The mailman scoffed as I greeted him, I would cry. The bank teller responded to me with sarcasm, I would wonder what was wrong with me. I’ve come to grips with the fact that I can’t control anyone else. I can only control my reactions to my circumstances. If I’m feeling offended, it’s because I’ve allowed myself to feel offended. If I’m feeling discouraged, it’s because I’ve allowed myself to feel that way. And really, it’s not me against the world. It’s us – in this hugely overwhelming thing called life – together. That realization helps me in my writing life to persevere with submissions, and in my everyday life it helps me survive.

Do you have a thin skin/thick skin story to share?

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Two of my lovely fellow campaigners have nominated me for awards I'd like to thank Alynza Smith for passing along the Irresistibly Sweet Blogger Award and Ms Saba for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award.


By accepting the awards, I agree to:

1. Thank and link to the person who nominated me.
2. Share seven random facts about myself.
3. Pass the award on to 5 blogger friends.
4. Contact and congratulate the nominated blogs.

Here are the seven random facts about me:

1. I get stuck on music for long periods of time. I listened to Keane's Hopes and Fears for so long that my sister couldn't stand to ride in my car anymore.

2. I like fast food just as much, (if not more) than fine dining.

3. I grew up thinking I was a good cook because my father always loved everything I made. I now realize he was kinder and more generous than I ever realized.

4. Before this whole carpal tunnel thing I could type 90+ words per minute. Now – I don't even want to think about it.

5. When I eat PB&J, I spread peanut butter on one slice of bread, fold it in half, spread jelly on another slice of bread, and fold that in half. The two never come together. Then I eat them by alternating – a bite from the peanut butter, then a bite from the jelly. I have never actually tried putting the two together. I don’t know why.

6. Villette by Charlotte Bronte is one of my favorite books ever.

7. I like tiny snacks because I can eat lots of them without feeling guilty. M & Ms, Skittles, Chocolate Chips, Jelly Beans. . . yummmmm.

I’d like to pass these awards on to:

Carry Us Off Books – Claudine talks about books in ways that make you think about them even more than you already did.
Carrie Boo – because she cracks me up.
Julie Farrar – writer, photographer, every day mom, and wife, who –even though I just met her through the campaign- makes me feel like I'm sitting across the table having a chat with a good friend.
Jen Klein – posts that are short on words but big on personality.
Junebug – because those cute little ladybugs appear next to every comment. Could there be anything cooler than that?

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Now, to everyone who joined in the celebration of my daughter's book blog launch, I offer a great big THANK YOU!
The winners of the book giveaway are:

Awaken goes to:  Abby!

The Book Thief goes to: Dawn Malone!

A Crooked Kind of Perfect goes to: Caroline Tung!

CONGRATULATIONS and thank you for helping my daughter and I celebrate Born Bookish!

I will be contacting the winners later today.

For another giveaway, visit MG & YA writer, Marcia Hoehne's blog where she's holding a critique giveaway!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Television Addiction and Three Great Books Up For Grabs

Last winter my television addiction was Primetime: What Would You Do? Now that fall is in the air I find myself checking the Friday night lineup looking for its return. If you've never seen it, it's a hidden camera show. Reporter John Quinones and his crew set up volatile situations of racism, bullying, parenting dilemmas, etc. using actors and actresses to see how ordinary passersby will react when they witness an injustice or a fellow human being in trouble.

I think I get so emotional when I watch because I doubt myself. I don't know what I'd do in most situations. I'm afraid I wouldn't do the respectable thing, the admirable thing, the right thing. I'm afraid I'd revert to my "I am an island"  thinking and slink away.

But I keep watching the show because the people who speak up without a second thought or a selfish thought inspire me. And I always hope that I'll surprise myself one day and be a better person than I think I am.

What television shows, movies, or books have led to soul searching for you?

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YA & MG Book Giveaway

There's still a week left to get in on the action.
Check out the details here.
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In other news, I'm just giddy with all of the blog love and support I've received this week. I'd like to thank Kelly Hashway for giving me the Liebster award. I received this award just a few weeks ago, but am happy to choose five more worthy blogs to pass it along to. The goal of this award is to spotlight upcoming bloggers who currently have less than 200 followers.

My choices are:
Terrie Hope's Write What Your Heart Desires. Terrie is a wonderful encouragement and support to so many of her writer friends. And she's currently posting a photo tour of Jane Austen's house - need I say more?
Gary Gauthier's Literary Snippets, I found Gary's blog through the campaign and it is the most enchanting mix of literature and art. You will be glad you checked it out.
Fellow campaigner, Coleen Patrick.
Children's writer, Allyn Stotz.
Horror, fantasy writer, Courtney Rene.

The rules of this award are:
1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
2. Reveal your top five picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
4. Have faith that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers.
5. And most of all - have bloggity-blog fun!

Alynza Smith was sweet enough to award me the Irresistibly Sweet blog award, and Ms Saba nominated me for the Versatile blogger award. Because I'm nursing a case of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, I'm going to put off posting my nominations for those awards until I get my Dragon (speech to text program) trained. Hopefully, next week!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Buried Treasure & A Book Giveaway

The unexpected reward I received for tidying up my desk today was uncovering a slim paperback titled “We Really Do Need Each Other,” by Reuben Welch. I think I picked this up as a library discard years ago. It’s a tiny 160 pages of truth about the ways human beings connect.

Tomorrow I’m taking my mother to an appointment where the time spent in the waiting room is never under an hour and a half. Instead of getting upset about the wait, tomorrow I’m going to feed my spirit with these words.

What do you do to nurture yourself throughout the week?

YA and MG Book Giveaway

In celebration of my daughter launching her brand new book blog, I'm holding a giveaway. Up for grabs are three books: one of Amanda's favorite YA books, Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky

One of my favorite YA books,The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

And a MG book we both absolutely adore, A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Lisa Urban

To enter:

You can increase your chances of winning by:

Leaving her a comment (+1)

Following this blog (Out on a Limb) and leaving a comment to let me know you want to be entered (+1)

Spreading the word about this contest on your blog (and letting me know you've done so) (+3)

Winners will be contacted on Monday, September 19th.