Lately I’m having an unusually hard time coming up with blog posts. At first I thought my struggle was because I’m busy, both with life and writing. And I’m sure that plays a role, but after careful consideration, I don’t believe that’s the truest of answers. I think the most accurate reason for being stuck is that I have internet whiplash.
Unfortunately, blogging and social media have begun to seem a bit off. Kind of the way state testing and the common core feels uncomfortable. I’m not against some testing or having standards. In fact, I think they can be wonderful tools, but there’s something, not-quite-right about the current state of our educational system or the things going down on the internet lately.
For the first time, the trolls and the cyber bullies feel bigger than the things about social media that give me great pleasure. And then there is the sheer intensity of the opposing and highly volatile online opinions. I’m not suggesting that I only want to hear one side of an argument. I love intelligent conversation–I really do. But it is April of 2015 and already I can’t deal with the political FB stress. The hate mongering. How will I ever make it until November of 2016??? I refuse to comment, but can I also stop reading? I think I need to.
Of course, I’m smart enough to know the internet is the same functional and dysfunctional slice of pie you see in any microcosm. You should see some of the screaming, crying, throw-down dinners that have been had in my family over the years. I’m no stranger to the cray-cray, in fact I can bring the cray-cray just as much as anyone. But somehow the rapid, viral reach of the internet seems more sinister than I’d ever considered it before. When I fight with my family and friends, we make up and eat dessert and stuff. The world wide web doesn’t do that. Instead of stories I’ll laugh about at my kids’ weddings, there’s online shaming, which is probably as easy to catch as the stomach bug in a day care facility.
This is where the internet whiplash comes in. If you want to be heard, you MUST say something worth hearing. If you say anything worth listening to, there WILL be people who dislike what you’ve said. If you’re lucky those people simply disagree with you, but if you’re unlucky, it’s highly likely that they’ll abusively attack you online. My feelings about this state of affairs are whipping back and forth with such intensity it’s almost painful. One day I feel brave, the next cowardly. One minute I feel energized, but the next it’s depressing.
I’ve been trying very hard to find the remedy to my internet whiplash. I’ve been searching for a black and white truth that would clearly define how I move forward with my cyber life. As you might expect, that isn’t really working out for me. Today’s blog post sums it all up perfectly–writing makes me see things clearer, all while mudding the same water quite a bit. So, there’s only one conclusion…what I need most is to be unsure. If I’m rigid, I will get injured. Instead, I need to be bendy. Perhaps it’s time to be flexible and blog when it feels organic and not blog when it doesn’t feel good. It’s a scary but liberating thought for someone who’s blogged regularly for years, but I should probably only blog when I have something important to say or share.
Is anyone else dealing with internet whiplash? What’s the worst part for you? What do you do to combat it? How do you feel about blogging at the moment?
Time keeps spinning out of control…
I’m losing track of blog posts, the laundry is piling up and no other “projects” in the house are getting done…much to my husband’s disappointment.
But I love it because it means I’m writing. To hell with unpacking the rest of my stuff from when I moved in just over a year ago. Piles of stuff everywhere aren’t disorganization for a creative person–they’re a fort!
Recently I read an article entitled 20 Things To Remember If You Love Highly Creative People. Quite a few of those 20 felt liked they were aimed directly at me, but #17 struck a cord at this moment…
17. They are addicted to creative flow.
Recent discoveries in neuroscience reveal that “the flow state” might be the most addictive experience on earth. The mental and emotional payoff is why highly creative people will suffer through the highs and lows of creativity. It’s the staying power. In a real sense, they are addicted to the thrill of creating.
This is why, the closer I get to the “end” of this manuscript, the harder it is to do anything else. As I inch along, the addiction to possibility becomes more intense, making me want to abandon the rest of the world so I can be holed up in my imaginary one for as long as I wish. It sounds so simple, but the reality of living with an addictive flow state is a mash-up of creativity, sanity and motherhood and it can be a bit painful to look at, kind of like an eclipse LOL! I just try to remind myself that soon enough I won’t be celebrating my creative flow because…
5. They create in cycles.
Creativity has a rhythm that flows between periods of high, sometimes manic, activity and slow times that can feel like slumps. Each period is necessary and can’t be skipped just like the natural seasons are interdependent and necessary.
So, I guess I’ll unpack stuff then. Or maybe not, I’m sure I can find better slump activities to do. *grin*
What other things on the list resonate with your creative soul? Or are you stuck living with one of us highly creative fools? If you are, which one of the 20 drives you bat shit bonkers?
How to avoid fartbaggery
A Vlog Brothers classic…
And did I apologize for working on my manuscript instead of this blog post? Yesterday was a great writing day. That doesn’t make me a fartbag, right? I want to sincerely apologize for blowing you off and asking the Vlog Brothers to save my butt, but I can’t, because a good writing day is what it’s all about and let’s face it–I know I’d do it again LOL!
What’s the “worst” thing you’d unapologetically blow off for your writing or your job, even if it sort of makes you a fartbag?
As much as I look forward to vacations, I always look forward to coming home and the familiar routine when I return. Last week I was away in St. Louis visiting family. It was a fabulous trip–the perfect mix of laid back relaxing with family and a super fun time seeing the local sights and eating ALL the food. Here are some highlights…
And the nice part about this trip was we were able to build in enough days at the end of vacation to come home and straighten life out, before heading back to school and work. Of course, things are about to get hectic with spring sports and activities. My command central boy calendar is already starting to look intimidating.
But no matter how fun vacation was or how hairy the future schedule. Writing is back at the top of my list of priorities. *does a happy dance*
My question for you…is it harder or easier to write in the spring when the weather starts getting nice? It depends on the day for me.
Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! This tri-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for a prize–one lucky winner will receive one signed book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours!
Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are EIGHT (yes, you heard me correctly!) contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the GOLD TEAM!
But there is also RED, BLUE, GREEN, ORANGE, TEAL, PURPLE, & PINK teams. You can participate in all the hunts for a chance to win different sets of signed books!
If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt homepage.
SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE
Directions: Hidden somewhere below, you’ll notice that I’ve listed my favorite number in GOLD. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the GOLD team, and then add them up. And don’t worry if you have to take off your socks and use your toes to keep track. A calculator works too.
Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.
Rules: This contest is open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by 04/5/15, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.
SCAVENGER HUNT POST
Alexandra Monir is an author and recording artist in her twenties. SUSPICION is her third novel published by Random House. Her debut was the popular time-travel romance, TIMELESS, followed by the 2013 sequel, TIMEKEEPER. Alexandra currently resides in Los Angeles, where she is at work on her next novel, while also composing and recording original songs. Her music can be found on iTunes, and you can visit her website at www.alexandramonir.com. Follow Alexandra @TimelessAlex.
“If Alfred Hitchcock had directed Downton Abbey, the result would have been this book. Alexandra Monir takes us on a gripping, nonstop thrill ride with just the right amount of supernatural and an ending that you definitely won’t suspect. I devoured it in one sitting.”–Jessica Brody, bestselling author of the UNREMEMBERED trilogy
“There’s something hidden in the maze.”
Seventeen-year-old Imogen Rockford has never forgotten the last words her father said to her, before the blazing fire that consumed him, her mother, and the gardens of her family’s English country manor.
For seven years, images of her parents’ death have haunted Imogen’s dreams. In an effort to escape the past, she leaves Rockford Manor and moves to New York City with her new guardians. But some attachments prove impossible to shake—including her love for her handsome neighbor Sebastian Stanhope.
Then a life-altering letter arrives that forces Imogen to return to the manor in England, where she quickly learns that dark secrets lurk behind Rockford’s aristocratic exterior. At their center is Imogen herself—and Sebastian, the boy she never stopped loving.
Combining spine-tingling mystery, romance, and unforgettable characters, SUSPICION is an action-packed thrill ride.
Hi Readers! Thank you for joining us on the YA Scavenger Hunt! For my bonus content, I’m excited to share the opening scene from my upcoming fourth novel for Delacorte Press, THE GIRL IN THE PICTURE!
I hope you enjoy this opening scene! While you’re waiting for GIRL IN THE PICTURE to come out next year, check out my current release, SUSPICION. I’ll be giving away 2 signed copies for the scavenger hunt- to enter, please follow me on Twitter @TimelessAlex and mention SUSPICION and YASH!
Love and Happy Reading!
THE GIRL IN THE PICTURE by Alexandra Monir
At first it’s no more than a blurry shape on the ground, large enough to beat me up, slow enough for me to get away. Then my focus clears, and I see why the body won’t move. Its limbs are tangled and twisted amongst the fallen leaves. Mud cakes the sleeves of a well-worn varsity jacket. A once-familiar face has turned an ashy gray, its mouth frozen on the last word spoken, a word now echoing in my ears. “You.”
I take a step closer, bracing for the gut-wrenching pain of recognition. But as I stare at my maimed self lying in the woods behind the soccer field—my soccer field—there is no pain. No emotion at all, really. I guess I shouldn’t expect to feel anything. I’m dead.
Still, there is a flicker of something, an image—no, images. They push to the forefront of my mind, growing stronger the more I stare at my rigid body. Lips on lips, the sound of her voice calling after me, a jagged rock hovering above my skull, the last face before it all went black.
Footsteps. They’re coming, mere seconds away from finding my body. Soon this section of the woods will be roped off with yellow tape, newscasters and Oyster Bay students clamoring for a view of where I died, of what happened. Then the detectives will swarm, full of theories and names.
I think I know who the first two names will be.
I have somewhere to go, don’t I? Some afterlife waiting to check me in?
But I can’t go just yet.
I need a little longer.
One more glimpse of her.
I need the truth.
Thanks, Alexandra!!!!! And don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of signed books by me, Alexandra Monir, and at least 7 or maybe more than SEVEN fabulous authors! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is. Have you figured it out yet? Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the GOLD team and you’ll have the secret code to enter for the grand prize!
CONTINUE THE HUNT
To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next GOLD Team author, Katherine Longshore!!!
Spread the word by Tweeting #YASH
And before you go…BONUS CONTEST!!!!!!
Here’s a chance to win TWO signed copies of TOUCHING THE SURFACE–one copy for you and one copy for your favorite school or local library. Check out my Rafflecopter for the details on how to win.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
It’s almost time for the YA Scavenger Hunt!!!
What is the YA Scavenger Hunt? Let me fill you in…
The YA Scavenger Hunt is a biannual online event that promotes collaboration between YA authors from different publishing houses, offering fans an opportunity to see the latest and greatest in young adult literature. During the hunt, we showcase exclusive bonus material, give readers access to top secret insider information, and offer fabulous prizes and giveaways for zealous YA fans.
Yup–totally awesome. And because I want you to be ready to play on April2-5th. I’m giving you a sneak peek of the participating authors and their books. I’ll start you off with my group–TEAM GOLD!
A fabulous group! And here are all the rest of the teams…
You can find out more about the YA Scavenger Hunt #YASH here.
What books and authors are you hunting for?
My blogging has been sporadic at best.
I’m trying to get my act together. But the truth is I’m dropping balls left and right LOL! Somedays I drop the laundry ball…one of my favorites to “drop.”
Other days I drop the eat breakfast ball. Crap! Did I really manage to leave the house without eating? Cause I won’t be back for 4 hours. *checks to rearview mirror to be sure all three boys and dog made it into the car*
I also tend to drop the “getting the dishes done ball” until they start climbing out of the sink. Or something starts to smell.
Additionally, the kids were moaning yesterday, because I dropped the “get the groceries they wanted ball.” (PLEASE get the GOOD bread for sandwiches, school snacks, cranberry juice and dessert for God’s sake!)
And now *insert giggle* (I have to giggle because it keeps me out of full on panic mode.) I’ve got a spring break trip coming up in the future and my “pets, boys and personal preparations balls” looks something like this…
Need I say more? You get the picture. But there is some really good news. I haven’t dropped the “writing ball.” I’m never as fast as I want to be, but I’m happy with my progress, so the high from that, makes it easier to maneuver around all the other balls scattered all over the floor LOL!
I’ve also been reading a ton, thanks to audiobooks. It’s my bonus when I’m walking the pup and throwing an actual ball. And this is not just entertaining multitasking. Every book I read is a master class in how to be a better writer–and often a better person. And just to prove how awesome it is to drop the “household chores balls” instead of the “reading balls.” Here’s a quote from one of the best books I’ve read in awhile…
“That which we manifest is before us; we are the creators of our own destiny. Be it through intention or ignorance, our successes and our failures have been brought on by none other than ourselves.”
― Garth Stein, The Art of Racing in the Rain
I don’t know about you, but despite all the balls all over the floor, it feels like I’m manifesting something great.
What are you manifesting at the moment? What’s the “best” ball you’ve dropped recently?
Last week has left me needing guidance and inspiration from those who are wiser and more eloquent than I…
“To be Jedi is to face the truth, and choose. Give off light, or darkness, Padawan. Be a candle, or the night.”–YODA, Dark Rendezvous
“It is not nearly so important how well a message is received as how well it is sent. You cannot take responsibility for how well another accepts your truth; you can only ensure how well it is communicated. And by how well, I don’t mean merely how clearly; I mean how lovingly, how compassionately, how sensitively, how courageously, and how completely.” Neale Donald Walsh
“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”
“Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.”
“The most important thing is to not stop questioning.”
“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
― Oscar Wilde
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt, This is My Story
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
― Martin Luther King Jr., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
― Thomas A. Edison
“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.”
― Elie Wiesel
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
― Theodore Roosevelt
“So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be.”
― Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower
“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will live as one.”
― John Lennon
“Well-behaved women seldom make history.”
― Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History
“Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt
“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it–always.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
“Peace begins with a smile..”
― Mother Teresa
“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.”
― Dalai Lama XIV
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Two wrongs don’t make a right, but they make a good excuse.”
― Thomas Stephen Szasz
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
― Margaret Mead
“Whatever you are, be a good one.”
― Abraham Lincoln
Please feel free to add to my list. <3
Attitude is so often a product of our perception. Glass half empty? Glass half full?
But yesterday morning I discovered that writing description is also a product of our perception. Let me explain…
I did not want to get out of bed yesterday. Sat/Sun was spring forward Daylight Savings Time (which I personally think needs to be abolished because internal clocks are REAL!) I was tired and cozy and wishing to stay that way, for at least another hour, if not more. But, not wanting to be a complete Debbie Downer, I reminded myself how happy and cheerful I was in the evening when it’s still light outside.
But you know me, this train of thought was a delightful slippery slope. I bustled around getting the kids ready for school, reminding them to wear rugged shoes, because now that the snow was melting–EVERYTHING is muddy. I know this because I can’t keep the car, the floors or the dog and boys clean. Very quickly I’d fallen into complaining mud mode. Wasn’t it just days ago I had begged for this warm, muddy weather because I was sick of the cold and snow? It was. So now I needed to adjust my expectations and my perception. *sigh*
Since I’m a bit of a weirdo, the self analysis got me thinking about how awareness of perception is involved in how we write descriptions. And suddenly I realized that the seasons were a great way to concisely illustrate how to avoid cliche and use your unique perception to write great descriptions.
Cliche Seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Seasons Negatively described: Mud and Allergy (Spring), Bug and Humidity (Summer), Raking and Gray (Fall), Frigid and Shoveling (Winter)
Seasons Positively described: Warmth and Flowers (spring), Fireworks and Ice Cream (Summer), Cider and Pumpkins (Fall), Hot Chocolate and Pine (Winter)
Seasons by color: Pastel (Spring), Green (Summer), Earth Tones (Fall) and White (Winter)
Seasons by food: Irish Soda Bread and Easter Eggs (Spring), Fruit and Veggies from the Garden (Summer), Turkey and Carmel Apples (Fall), Christmas Cookies and New Years Champagne (Winter)
I could go on and on and on, finding new ways to use words to capture the seasons in a non-cliche way, but I think that gives you the idea. I would love to hear your perception description of the seasons in the comments.
May is almost here and there is more reason to be excited than just the thought of warm, snow free weather. You should be super pumped because the next installment of Linda Grimes’ Ciel Halligan series will be available on May 12th!!!!
And trust me, you want to read this book. Actually, you want to read this series. (IN A FIX and QUICK FIX) How often do you get to read stuff that’s smart, creative, sexy and hilarious all at once? You can if you read Linda’s books. Here’s a little bit a about THE BIG FIX…
Linda Grimes’s sexy and hilarious urban fantasy series that began with In a Fix and Quick Fix continues in The Big Fix.
Aura adaptor extraordinaire Ciel Halligan, who uses her chameleon-like abilities to fix her clients’ problems—as them—is filling in on set for action superstar Jackson Gunn, whose snake phobia is standing in the way of his completing his latest mega-millions Hollywood blockbuster. There’s only one thing Jack fears more than snakes, and that’s the possibility of his fans finding out he screams at the sight of one. Going from hero to laughing stock isn’t part of his career plan.
Seems like a simple enough job to Ciel, who doesn’t particularly like snakes, but figures she can tolerate an afternoon with them, for the right price—which Jack is offering, and then some. What she doesn’t count on is finding out that while she was busy wrangling snakes for him, his wife was busy getting killed. When Ciel goes to break the sad news to the star, she finds out Jack was AWOL from her client hideaway at the time of the murder.
Ciel begins to suspect Jack’s phobia was phony, and that he only hired her to provide him with an alibi—but if she goes to the police, she’ll have to explain how she knows he wasn’t really on set. Up against a wall, Ciel calls on her best-friend-turned-love-interest Billy, and her not-so-ex-crush Mark, to help her set up the sting of a lifetime.
Told you it sounded great. Aren’t you jealous because I got to read it already????
Kimberly’s Review of THE BIG FIX:
I love ALL of Linda Grime’s Ciel Halligan books, but THE BIG FIX made me go…”WHAT? I can’t believe she did THAT!!!!” And I mean that in the most flattering way. I’m still shaking my head LOL!
Grimes’ writing is creative, smart, intriguing, sexy and funny all rolled up. I haven’t enjoyed an adult series this much since I fell in love with the Outlander books. Grimes had better be writing fast and furious because I NEED my next FIX!
You can preorder THE BIG FIX here…
*Barnes & Noble
Linda grew up in Texas, where she rode horses, embarrassed herself onstage a lot, and taught teenagers they’d have to learn the rules of English before they could get away with breaking them for creativity’s sake. She currently resides in Virginia with her husband, whom she snagged after he saw her in a musical number at the now defunct Melodrama Theater in San Antonio. (There’s nothing like a rousing chorus of “If You Wanna Catch a Fish You Gotta Wiggle Your Bait” to hook a man for a lifetime.)
Like IN A FIX’s globetrotting main character, aura adaptor Ciel Halligan, Linda has spent her fair share of time overseas, though fortunately under less stressful circumstances. Kidnapping and daring rescues are all well and good in fiction, but she prefers sanity in her real life.
Oh, and I forgot to mention that Linda is one of my Wolf Pack Sistahs–we share the same fabulous agent–Michelle Wolfson of Wolfson Literary. <3 That’s how I scored an ARC of THE BIG FIX. And even though it’s mine and I pet it lovingly, I am willing to share my copy with one lucky winner because I love you. All I ask is that the winner review THE BIG FIX and help to spread the word about how awesome it is. (Yes, I’m pretty confident you’re going to love it.) Here’s how you enter…
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Want to learn more about Linda Grimes, Ciel Halligan and THE BIG FIX? Check out Linda’s Website/blog. My blog question for the day is in the Rafflecopter giveaway. :o)