The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Friday, February 15, 2013

Shake It Up

      I was working on a submission for Publishing Syndicate's NYMB's series today. (I have a day off from teaching today, due to having parent-teacher conferences this week, which means I have a four-day weekend. Ssssh! Don't tell Val. She will come to my house and poke holes in my tires with an out-of-ink pen.) I haven't done much dating in my life, but not wanting to miss a chance at increasing the number of publication notches on my belt, I thought, 'I miiiight have a story.'

photo by Jen !

It made me think of the song by The Cars:

Dance all night
play all day
don't let nothing get in the way.  

(We have to allow nothing to prevent us from writing.) 
Dance all night
keep the beat
don't you worry 'bout two left feet.

(Make sure your internal "editor" or your fear of having two left thumbs inhibit you.)
Dance all night
get real loose
you don't need no bad excuse.

(Let your writing flow. BIC--butt in chair. Get it down on paper, then you can work on refining it.
Dance all night
with anyone

Don't let nobody pick your fun.(Just do it. Do it by yourself. Do it for you.)
Dance all night
whirl your hair
make the night cats stop and stare.

(Wait. Have you seen my hair after an evening of writing? Scary, right? People utter the word "breathtaking" when they see me, but I also detect a sharp intake of air. What's up with that?)
Dance all night go to work
do the move with the quirky jerk.

(Take an occasional break from writing. Turn on some music. Loud music. (You'll see Cathy C. Hall's husband and me dancing. He might be a wicked-good dancer. I, on the other hand, will doing the "Elaine Benes.") Dance around. Get some circulation to other parts of your body besides your finger--like your butt--and then get back to writing.)

      By shaking things up, I found I did indeed have a dating story. It's not so much about a date, but about nudging someone (my husband) into a first date. It's not a Chicken Soup story--they have a call out for dating stories as well--but its edginess would be right up NYMB's least I hope so.

      In my story, I did something so embarrassing, I won't be able to reveal what I did until the end of the tale.

      I hope I finish the story. I hope it's accepted. And I hope you will then be compelled to buy the book.

      Until then, shake it up.

      (By the way, I knew of this song, but was not sure of who did it and certainly did not know the lyrics by heart. I had to look it up online. Val the victorian would have known this song and could have quoted the lyrics from memory, I'm sure. Recently, I tried to stump her with some in-the-middle lyrics of a Leo Sayer song. Not his sappiest, and not his most well-known song. I thought I could stump her, but was unable to. If anyone thinks they can flummox her in the area of movies, TV shows or songs, please challenge her. She must be taken down a notch!)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Sunshine Award

A few days ago I received the "Sunshine Award" from fellow WWWP-er Tammy. She had the audacity to say I am sunshiny, but not in the Brady Bunch way. Apparently she doesn't know me. I can be just as full of unicorns and prancing kittens as the next crab***.

Read along, and you'll find the deep, thought-provoking answers I gave to the hours and hours of questions that accompany this prestigious award. At the end, I'll pass the torch to two bloggers who spread sunshine to me.

Favorite color: Green. Not the "pretty" shades, either.

Favorite animal: Dogs and cats. I love them both equally (although not in the same way), but currently I only have dogs. I wish I could fall in love with one of those odd-looking breeds that are hairless but alas, I have a Golden that sheds a couch pillow every day. 

Favorite number: 26. The first teacher I was in love with was 26 when I was in 7th grade, and I thought, 'That is the perfect age to be.' It's also double 13, which is an unlucky number according to some people, so 26 is like thumbing one's nose at 13...

Favorite drink: Bolthouse Farms Vanilla Chai Tea (the high protein version; I think the big bottle has something like 32 grams of protein in it) as a treat. It's way too rich and addictive to swill too often. Most times, chai tea with equal parts of milk, or tea (no ice) from Quik Trip.
Facebook or Twitter? Neither. Sorry.

My passions: Music. Loud. Everybody from Janis Joplin to Janis Ian to Cat Stevens to REM to Regina Spektor...Zentangling (a detailed version of doodling--look it up--"zentangle")...writing...knitting (only scarves)...reading great novels and memoirs

Giving or getting presents: I prefer giving. I get a little uncomfortable when I'm the recepient.

Favorite day: Friday. I watch junky TV in the evening, and have grandiose plans to stay up late, but it's inevitable--I fall asleep by 9:30 (sometimes even 8:30) drooling and snoring away, while I'm still sitting upright on the couch.

Favorite flowers: I'm not really a flower person. I used to love Birds of Paradise. Now, I appreciate a patch of coneflowers, a mound of mums. Or how about wallflowers? That is definitely the kind of flower I am like.

Now, onto the torch-passing...

I considered cheating, and providing the link to several different blogs, but with much regret, am sticking with the rules and am only bestowing this great honor onto two blogging friends.

First, Kim of Ratio of Failures. Like me, she is all sparkly sprinkles and talking tulips. Kim has a pointed sense of humor, and she can do serious metaphor-filled writing as well.

Secondly and finally, Barb with her purple pen, gets a nod from me. Not only does she handle extremely sticky situations with the grace and manners of a queen (you know what I'm referring to, Barb), she comes to meetings with gifts of poetry and chocolate. Now that's the kind of sunshine I enjoy.

So Kim and Barb---Tag! You're it.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Dogs and Swans and Chicken Fat, Oh My!

        Yesterday St. Louis All Dogs hosted a book signing for some St. Louis writers. Four local authors--Linda O'Connell, Renee Hughes, Gregory Lamping and myself--spoke about our writing, our dogs, and sold (and signed) a surprising number of Not Your Mother's Book on Women, On Dogs and On Being a Stupid Kid books.
       Publishing Syndicate has a book in development for everyone. Have you caught an acquaintance picking their nose, and you can tell the story in a funny way? There's an anthology they're working on called On Nose Picking. Did you ever have a bunion that looked just like Tom Cruise? There's a collection called On Skintag and Bunion Celebrity Lookalikes, and they're desperate for submissions. Seriously.

         Well, now I actually am serious. There are Publishing Syndicate books about RV adventures, military life, firefighters, nurses, being actively retired, weddings, treasure hunting (for the nose picker, I guess), special occasions, sharing secrets, politics, pets, holidays, girls' night out, food, dieting, dating, cowboys, fishing, working, and more. Now that I've listed hundreds of themes, what is your excuse not to write and submit several stories? They're looking for edgy and funny. You can do hilarious, right?

           After our book signing was over, several of us commented on Linda's youthful skin. She flaunted her fountain-of-youth face, stretching her neck like a vain swan (see the picture above--I had to snap it quickly). No saggy neck. No wrinkles on her face. We all demanded to know her secret.

          Apparently when you have gotten published in over a dozen Chicken Soup books, CS will send monthly vats of fresh chicken fat (known for its wrinkle prevention abilities) in order to keep their favorite writers handsome and happy. Linda's husband will methodically and lovingly apply the strips of fat onto Linda's face every evening as part of her beauty regimen. I must say, it works.

       Check out Publishing Syndicate's website, dig into the recesses of your mind (and not your nasal cavity) and get writing.