Saturday, November 30, 2013

S is for Steps

Breaking a habit or developing one, requires a program. Smoking cessation, biting nails or losing weight all start with a single step. With the recent meeting with Dr. Chuck Wall and ending the year, I've decided to take this Christmas Season up a notch. This will be the last year my family will participate in the extended family gifts. The time and effort to search for those ten or twenty dollar items will be now be donated to a family in need, in addition to a new Five Step Program.


Last year, my friend created and distributed  Cup O' Kindness tins. They're filled to the brim with Belgian hot chocolate mix. This year, I've decided to combine Christmas, Random Acts of Kindness and Hot Chocolate into one. My little family will be giving away the tins, with the following note attached.

You’ve received a Cup O’ Kindness!
In this time of celebration and commercial mayhem, may I suggest a Five Step Program?
1.              Drink one cup hot chocolate from the Cup O’ Kindness tin.
2.              Share minimum of one cup of hot chocolate from the Cup O’Kindness.
3.              Withdrawal the bag of hot chocolate, and fill the tin with goodies/money/kind words.
4.              Write and attach the words “Continue the Kindness” on the outside of the tin.
5.              Deliver your new Tin O’ Kindness to an unsuspecting victim.

I hope the spirit of Kindness and Christmas will keep this tradition going.

R is for Rainbow

"Mom!" My youngest daughter shouted. "Mom!" 
I knew the next call would be a two syllable version of my name. With this child, I never know if it's a bug, a broken bone, or a simple check to see if I'm still alive.

This time, it wasn't about me, or her. 
It was about a rainbow. The glass from our front door sent a prism of color on the foyer's wall. My daughter was dancing in excited circles - she'd discovered the sliver of a rainbow. For fifteen minutes she spoke of her new friend.
 The rainbow had a family. It was lost, so my daughter patiently waited until the rainbow left. It needed a friend until her family could come get her. It wasn't until the very last light left the wall did my daughter scamper off and wrestle her yellow lab.
It wasn't until I tucked her into bed that night did I realize the impact of the day. This is her last year at home. With me.
For almost nine years, I've had a child at home. When my oldest was four, I delivered my third girl. The nights were long and the days chaotic. I had longed for the day to be free.
But as my four-year-old wrapped her little arms around my neck, I realized my freedom wouldn't include rainbows. Or dancing in my entryway.

Freedom is overrated, I thought as I hugged my youngest, squeezing her tightly.

She whispered, "I just pee in da bed. A lot."

Rainbows are overrated.

Q is for Question

DNA on a path
Over a decade ago (oh that's frightful, I can't be that old can I?), I attended a private, religious university. I was hesitant to attend. My major was Animal Science. The entire idea of science is to question, to learn, and to explore. My parents bought an entire encyclopedia set to quiet my continual questions. My reading only begged for more knowledge.

I wanted to know so much more. 

A conservative faculty and college was not a conducive environment for a fledgling scientist. 
Or so I thought.

Dr. BioChem 152 waltzed into the room with several band-aids taped to his fingers. He later explained that he'd blown up too many things. In order for his phalanges to function, they needed a little extra structure. He folded his arms and chuckled while we stared wide-eyed and slack mouthed at his airy admission of deviant behavior. 
The first hour flew by as he told nothing but stories of how and why things are made. The last five minutes of class he announced that the first twenty minutes of every class would be devoted to questions. 
 Any question - one catch, we could only ask if we wanted to learn. 
No ulterior motives. Not to waste time, not to argue. Only to learn from the most lively ninety-year-old in the world.

From politics to religion. Vitamins to medicines. He would answer.
In his lifetime he had worked for NASA, FDA, and every company from cars to toothpaste. The man served on seven boards (five were for commercial companies, two for post-graduate acceptance committees) while teaching BioChem 152.
I had wanted to learn. 
I had wanted to question. 
I wanted to know what, how and why things worked the way they did. 

He opened his office for several hours a day for one reason, to answer our burning questions. 
One day, I sat in his office with pen in hand. He pressed his finger to his lips as he tilted his head to the side. Another man shouted down the hall, "Found it!"
My professor giggled like a school boy, explaining he'd hid the new teacher's final. For the next fifteen minutes he spilled his secrets from pranks to travels. He'd visited all but a handful of countries.
When I asked why, he donned a cheshire grin. "Why not?"

Last night, my daughter snuggled beside me on the couch. She handed me the encyclopedia I'd purchased a few years before. "I want to know why..."


Apologies!

I am knee-deep, elbow-deep into revisions for my historical romance manuscript. I have not abandoned the A-Z challenge, promise! I do, however, have a December 12th deadline.

Please accept my tardiness. Without further ado...here's the latest posts.

And for those fellow Writer's of Kern bloggers, I will be catching up and commenting!


picture of tired woman with laptop computer - stock photo

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

P is for Pitch

An author sits down and writes a pretty book. He, or she, slaps a few lovely words together and ships the manuscript off to an agent or editor. From there it magically becomes a bestseller - right?

Big fat no.

An author writes the novel. And then edits. Again and again. Then the writer dons a sales hat and pitches the book to an agent. How, might you ask, does this go about? The author's pitch is the back cover of the novel. If you can snag an agent, you can snag a reader - if you snag a reader, you can sell the book.

Of course, there are rules. A pitch has to be like a skirt, long enough to cover the essentials but short enough to hook the buyer. The central conflict needs to be revealed as well as the genre. A few agents have expressed the need for authors to compare their book to one or two on the market. It helps agents and editors in categorizing the novel.

In the spirit of masochism, I'm throwing my pitch out there for criticism. I'm offering to reciprocate as well - send a pigeon or shoot me an email.

Drum roll, please...


Unsanctioned love is punishable by death in 1535 England. Rhett Rhyn and Lady Isla Belle are attacked by royal guards seconds after a gypsy seals their souls in a pagan marriage.

Penniless and grief stricken, Rhett buries his new wife along with a secret – his inability to die.

Rhett atones for the true cost of the witch’s ceremony, Isla’s eternal reincarnation. He watches as she is born again and again without the memory of their love.

Four centuries later in her current host, Isla Belle Thorne hungers for recognition in her field of genetic research. Reeling from her father’s abandonment, the only man in her life is the stalwart boy in her vivid dreams – the only place she allows foolish emotions.
 

The unshakeable man from her visions materializes at a fundraising event. Rhett confesses that Isla is the re-embodiment of his late Isla Belle.

Trained by her education to doubt, Isla rejects the mounting evidence. Because of her refusal to acknowledge their history, Rhett decides to cure his unending life.

Isla is forced to trust the gender that betrayed her, or lose the love of all her lives.

DEATH EVERLASTING is a 110,000 word romance with alternating historical and contemporary perspectives – a mixture of Juliet and Life After Life.


Friday, November 1, 2013

O is for Old

Having shelled out money for candy and silly outfits, I was now being led like a sugar beggar to my neighbors. We were forty minutes into Trick-or-Treating. My husband was cheerfully marching the older girls while I held the hand of my second daughter. She whispered, "Can't we just go to the store and buy candy? Can we just go home?" My heart swelled three times its size, perhaps I could corrupt at least one of my daughters to the Anti-Halloween camp.

And then it happened.

It looked like every other decorated house.
But then the owner swung open his door. With a quick wave, like a magician offering a card trick, he displayed a blanket covered in nicknacks. 
My daughter abandoned me, letting my hand hang neglected at my side, and flew to the blanket. All three girls (apparently loyalty is fickle) snatched various "treasures" worthy of a Saturday morning garage sale.

My middle, second daughter sang all the way home as she clutched two pennies and an aged Webster's dictionary. This morning she jumped from her bed, cradling her booty as her sisters joined in. 
 My one time companion yelled, "I love Halloween!"

Operation Destroy Halloween was now dead. Kaput. I failed.

My middle child held up her pennies, announcing, "This is awesome. This penny is super old... it's from the 1980's!"

Apparently, I'm super old and hate Halloween even more.