Monthly Archives: January 2016

Women’s Fiction Contest Alert

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Women’s Fiction Contest Alert

Writers of women’s fiction, you have until February 9, 2016 to enter the 21st “Dear Lucky Agent” contest. Click here for full details. Be sure to read all the directions carefully, because there are very specific hoops to jump through, including sharing info about the contest on social media.girl-running-in-dark

Why bother? Because the judge is Elizabeth Winick Rubinstein, president and senior agent at MacIntosh and Otis. Who knows? If your first 250 words are brilliant and you win the critique of your first 10 pages and she loves it, maybe she’ll ask to see the rest of your novel, and if it has the potential to be the next bestseller, maybe she’ll want to represent you. Why pass up an opportunity to put your work in her hands?

I’m submitting my 2015 NaNoWriMo novel, The Night Runner.

From the Creator’s Heart # 31

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You turn things upside down,
as if the potter were thought to be like the clay!
Shall what is formed say to him who formed it,
“He did not make me”?
Can the pot say of the potter,
“He knows nothing”? (Isaiah 29:16)

Adam-hand

Stirling Opportunity

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Stirling Opportunity

Several days ago, I met Lindsey Stirling and Brooke S. Passey (Stirling’s sister), coauthors of The Only Pirate at the Party, at a signing at my local independent book store.

If you don’t know who Lindsey Stirling is, prepare to be amazed. I first discovered her about four years ago when a friend posted this YouTube video on Facebook:

This video has been viewed 140,000,000 times.

But two years earlier, after an ambitious third act on America’s Got Talent that didn’t go as well as she’d hoped, she suffered humiliating remarks from the judges on national television. (That’s also been immortalized on YouTube.) She could have crawled under a rock and never played violin publicly again. Instead, she decided the show was a learning experience that revealed where she needed to improve, and she immersed herself in focused practice.

She found an appreciative audience when she posted her videos on YouTube. Three years ago, as her star began to rise, she yearned to encourage struggling musicians, entertainers, and artists to stick it out. So, with her sister’s help, she wrote the story of her journey to success, starting with her childhood.

She grew up in an economically challenged household; yet her parents supported her unconditionally and made financial sacrifices to help her follow her dreams. They never told her she wouldn’t be able to do something—such as sewing her own kangaroo costume for Halloween when she was in third grade. They bought her four yards of brown fake fur, and sew she did. Not that the result was user-friendly. Stirling writes, “The finished product had a few minor flaws—mainly that I couldn’t breathe, and I spent the entire night tripping over my very realistic kangaroo feet—but the good news is I was the only kangaroo on the block that year (or any year, as far as I know).”

Lindsey and Brooke on booksigning tour

Stirling’s Twitter post of herself and her sister at the airport during their book signing tour.

My neighborhood bookstore, Changing Hands, sold several hundred copies of The Only Pirate at the Party, and I waited for nearly two hours to get my book signed (I was in Group Q). I put the time to good use by reading the first 90 pages, laughing out loud and undoubtedly annoying the other patrons. When I got close to the authors’ table, I observed their enchanting personalities and the sister/best friend dynamic that makes me so jealous. (I have a wonderful brother, but no sisters—and I really wish I had that unique relationship.) Stirling and Passey clearly know and love each other well. They exchanged that “see—I told you so” look when I commented that the book is funny. They laughed and joked as they interacted with their adoring fans.

The book is a delightful read, full of anecdotes as well as deep insights. Stirling tried to include all the topics one might expect in a celebrity tell-all. Including Chapter on My Young and Carefree Drug/Alcohol Escapades. Which I quote here in its entirety: “I have never done drugs or consumed alcohol, so this chapter is really short.” How refreshing.

So what’s the deal with that pirate reference in the title? Stirling confesses three ways that she identifies with pirates.

The Only PirateFirst: When Stirling was a little girl, she had a perceptual disability, called cross dominance, which made it difficult for her to learn how to read. She says, “it’s a lot like dyslexia, only completely different.” Part of the treatment was to wear an eye patch over her dominant eye for an hour every day, which she hated—until she discovered an old pirate hat in her closet, “and it clicked…I was a pirate stuck in a weird suburban back yard. From that time forward I spent at least an hour every day turning the swing set into a giant pirate ship, where I played Cap’n Davy and made my sister and our friend Mary walk the plank. Arrr!

Second, Stirling says, “I have always admired the pirate attitude. Pirates don’t take orders or ask permission. They do what they want…if someone tells you you’re not good enough, says your dreams are too lofty, or claims there is no room in showbiz for a dancing violinist—well then, by all means, pull out your eye patch, my friend.”

And finally, a friend invited Stirling to a Peter Pan-themed surprise party and told her she could dress up if she wanted. So Stirling showed up in full Captain Hook regalia. Not only was she the only pirate at the party, other than the girl wearing a Tinkerbell T-shirt, she was the only costumed guest.

I heartily recommend this book. Stirling is so un-Hollywood, so genuine and transparent, and so humble. She shares humorous and embarrassing events in the hope that if her readers experience failure on the road to living their dreams, they would take heart, persevere, and overcome.

One more video:

All right. But just one more.

 

Pulsating Pink

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Pulsating Pink

In response to The Daily Post weekly Photo Challenge: Vibrant.

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In this picture from a vacation in Waikiki a few years ago, the pink just pops, doesn’t it?

In the Meme Time: Take a Chance

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In the Meme Time: Take a Chance

Found on Facebook:

Take a chance.

 

Video of the Week #31

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Video of the Week #31

I’ve been practicing this for years and I can barely play it at half this speed. Amazing.

Wordless Wednesday: Rock On

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Oahu June 25 2012 087

Crossing A Mountain Off My List

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Crossing A Mountain Off My List

 

Butte—an isolated hill with steep sides and a flat top (similar to but narrower than a mesa).

When we were house hunting in Arizona in the summer of 1988, one of the sights we saw was a mountain with a big A on it, just a stone’s throw from Arizona State University. The A is supposed to be yellow (ASU’s colors are maroon and gold), but we’ve seen it every color of the rainbow (including plaid), even though unauthorized personnel are forbidden from painting it.

Hayden Butte

Found on Yelp.com posted by Ron G.

We moved to “the Valley of the Sun” (the greater Phoenix metropolitan area) in August of that year, and one of the things I looked forward to doing was hiking A Mountain, also known by Tempe Butte or its official name, Hayden Butte.

Of course, as soon as we moved into our new house, I became pregnant with our fifth child. And other aspects of life intruded. And I never got around to it. But I kept it in mind as something I wanted to do someday.

When I started this blog last year, I thought it would be fun to post photographs taken from the top of A Mountain. I could cross one item off my bucket list and get a good workout in addition to gathering content for the blog. And yet, every time I planned to do it, I got derailed. It was too hot. Hubby needed my car. It was raining. My hip hurt.

Add to that my husband’s suspicions that I wasn’t up to the job. I am a 63-year-old lady with osteoarthritis, after all. And I am not a hiker.

But when Wednesday, December 30, 2015 dawned, there wasn’t a single good reason not to try it.

Parking in downtown Tempe is a challenge, so to be on the safe side, I used a Park & Ride lot and took the light rail to the foot of Hayden Butte. (I actually saw some unused metered parking spaces in the Sun Devil Stadium lot next door, but that’s okay.)

Knowing my physical limitations, I gave myself permission not to force myself to climb to the very top. Yet I got pretty close. Several times I thought I was almost there, just to crest a rise and discover I had another hundred feet to go. Part of the path was made of steps created with railroad ties; another part was paved in asphalt; another part was concrete stairs; another part was rock, at jagged angles (the one spot where I almost fell). When I came to a second rock section close to the top, I pronounced myself high enough.

Here are some of the photographs I took:

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Monday Morning Wisdom #34

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Monday Morning Wisdom #34

Found on Facebook:Alan Rickman

Hint of Spring?

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Hint of Spring?

In response to The Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: Optimistic. Taken in Tempe, AZ on January 21, 2016.

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