Shit—Life—Happens

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“Shit happens” is a common phrase used to express the concept that unfortunate things in life are unavoidable. But rather than simply state, “life is full of unpredictable events,” it is more satisfying to utter this more vulgar phrase.

While I’m not clear on who coined the phrase, I do know it was first introduced to print by Connie Eble in 1983.

The 1994 movie Forrest Gump takes creative license in giving fictional character Forrest Gump all of the credit. In one scene, he runs into dog droppings while on a jog across country. When a man in the bumper sticker business points it out, Forrest replies, “It happens,” to which the man asks “What, shit?” and Forrest answers “Sometimes.” The very next shot shows a car slamming into another. And do you know what the bumper sticker says? “Shit Happens.”

Personally, I would never display such a vulgar phrase on my personal vehicle, but I would use it to summarize the theme of my birthday party weekend, which didn’t go according to plan.

For starters, when I walked into the gym on Thursday to go for a swim, staff informed me that the large pool was closed due to their being literal shit in the pool. Literally. Shit in the pool. Desperate for a workout, I lapped the kiddy pool about a hundred times. Needless to say, I did not get a good workout in before my party weekend.

Then on Friday, as my sister and I were packing for our 2-day mini-vacation, my dog has a seizure. After canceling our hotel reservations, we took the dog to the vet. She did not come home with us.

Not even an hour after I said goodbye to my dog, my nephew’s grandmother calls, saying he’s sick. Just in time for his birthday party.

Then the morning of, roughly an hour before Rylee’s big party, Walmart calls to inform us that they can’t make our cake because the image we requested infringes upon their “copyright policy.” Well, thanks for letting us know the day of, and heaven forbid he let one more cake slide. So we’re scrambling to get cupcakes before the party, because who the heck doesn’t offer cake at a party?

Let me remind you this little boy has had a hell of a year with his grandmother passing away and his many medical issues. All we wanted to do was throw him this awesome birthday party.

And did we accomplish it? Yes we did. Surprisingly enough.

For starters, we didn’t tell him the dog passed away. She’s “at the vets” until after school starts. We also distracted him with the decorations, which blew his mind, as well as a surprise visitor, a storm trooper from the emphasis 501st Legion. Needless to say he had a great time.

Oh, and by the way, the cupcakes were delicious.

Now that I’m thinking about it, the phrase “shit happens” doesn’t actually describe my weekend. I think the phrase “life happens” is more accurate. Don’t get me wrong, putting my dog down was total shit, but death and saying goodbye is just a part of life. Don’t I know it. Three months ago I said goodbye to my mom. And on Tuesday, my sister and I will say goodbye to our twenties and the remainder of our childhood.

Even though a lot of shit happened this week, my sister and I were still able to bring it together for Rylee. At least his birthday turned out to be a success. What else can you do when shit—life—happens?

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Friday Fun: Fill in the Blanks

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Let’s play a game. No, not a love game. A writing game. If your week has gone anything like mine, you’re probably in need of a break and a little fun.

Here’s how to play: Read the questions below and fill in the blanks. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Most importantly, have fun!


The best part of being a writer is [blank].

The worst part of being a writer is [blank].

If I wasn’t a writer I would be a [blank].

The best way to drink coffee is with [blank] cream and [blank] sugar.

My favorite beverage while I’m writing is [blank].

My favorite non-writing past time is [blank].

I like to nap for [blank] hours per day.

My main character’s name is [blank], but my favorite character’s name is [blank].

[Blank] is the book I wish I’d written.

Of all the stories I’ve written, [blank] is my favorite.

If I could incorporate any fictional character from some other work of fiction or film into mine it would be [blank] from [blank].

If I could bring any of my fictional characters to life it would be [blank].

On average, I write about [blank] words per day.

While I’m writing, I like to listen to [blank] for inspiration.

The author who most inspired my writing is [blank].

I would consider myself a [blank] writer.

The best word to describe my writing is [blank].

Sometimes, when I’m writing, I’d rather be [blank].


Not too hard, right? In case you’re curious, here are my answers to the questions:

The best part of being a writer is creating.

The worst part of being a writer is marketing.

If I wasn’t a writer I would be a well-rested person.

The best way to drink coffee is with 2 cream and 0 sugar.

My favorite beverage while I’m writing is coffee.

My favorite non-writing past time is reading.

I like to nap for 1 hours per day.

My main character’s name is Mongrel, but my favorite character’s name is Margo.

Empress by Karen Miller is the book I wish I’d written.

Of all the stories I’ve written, The Wizard’s Gambit is my favorite.

If I could incorporate any fictional character from some other work of fiction or film into mine it would be Tyrion from Game of Thrones.

If I could bring any of my fictional characters to life it would be Littlehammer. (She’s a hoot).

On average, I write about 1,000 words per day.

While I’m writing, I like to listen to movie soundtracks for inspiration.

The author who most inspired my writing is Terry Pratchett.

I would consider myself a decent writer.

The best word to describe my writing is supercalafajalistickexpialadojus.

Sometimes, when I’m writing, I’d rather be napping.


That’s all for now! I hope you had fun with this activity! Feel free to share your answers in the comments below!

 

 

 

 

Random Confessions of a Modern Reader

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Happy Presidents’ Day and/or belated Valentine’s Day, whatever floats your boat. Personally, neither holiday inspired me to blog so, instead, I’m going to share with you some random confessions of mine as a reader.

Forgive me followers for I have sinned . . .

Confession #1: I’ve read Secret Sacrament by Sherryl Jordan at least 10 times

Secret Sacrament is a fantasy novel that centers around Gabriel, a boy with a haunting past who wants to become a healer. His adventures–or misadventures more appropriately–lead him to the wild Shinali people on the outskirts of the city-state. As sinister forces take control of the empire and threaten the peaceful Shinali, Gabriel’s destiny is revealed. From the synopsis, it sounds like a typical YA fantasy read, but it’s anything but. The main character is vulnerable and intelligent. He’s relatable to me on so many levels. Not only does he have a close relationship with his brother (like I do with my sister) but he also has a tender heart. The way he emotionally invests in every patient he heals reminds me of the way I am with my clients. Not only that, but he’s a coward. I too struggle with my own cowardice. Fear is a huge barrier for me. Reading Gabriel’s story and seeing him overcome his past, his fears, and his circumstances, inspired me to do the same. I think it’s a book I’ll be revisiting soon.

Confession #2: I like to read in my underwear

I’m not trying to be shocking or scandalous; I seriously think it’s really enjoyable to read a book in nothing but my Fruit of the Looms. (I’m actually more of a Haynes Her Way kind of girl). Sitting on the couch or sprawled in bed with a good book is an intimate experience. Why ruin it with clothes?

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Everything is better without pants

Confession #3: I prefer to read paperbacks over hardcover copies or ebooks

As an Indie author, the majority of my sales are ebooks unless I’m at an event, then the paperback copies move like hot cakes. And I do buy a lot of books for my Kindle device because they’re affordable, but I prefer a physical book in hand, more specifically a paperback one. I don’t like the weight of hardcover books. Paperbacks bend easy and fit just right between the palms of my hands. And the pages smell good. Nothing beats a paperback book.

Confession #4: I’ve never read Harry Potter . . . and don’t plan to

Hear me out before you burn me as a heretic. The books came out when I was entering high school, and personally I thought the story sounded juvenile. At the time, I was exploring the adult fantasy section of my local bookstore because my school library couldn’t carry books containing adult content. I was mature for my age and curious about the darker elements of life, which those books were not shy to share. Young Harry’s adventures at Hogwarts just didn’t interest me. If homicidal maniacs weren’t sleeping with their sisters and destroying entire cities I didn’t care to read it.

As an adult, the YA genre certainly appeals to me more, though I am still hesitant to pick up that series. Why? Mainly because of the villain. I can’t stomach dark lords, and I don’t care what people say, dark lords don’t make a series dark. Wizard schools are neat and magic is always fun, but dark lords are dreadfully tired. And before you even call me out, I know the LOTR series features a dark lord. He’s not my favorite villain either and the only reason I forgive it is because of when the novel was written. Post WWI and WWII, stories often featured villainous villains and centered around a battle of good versus evil. War inspires such things. But modern storytelling cannot rely on tired tropes and lazy writing.

While some of the major supporting characters tempt me to pick the series up, I’m still doubtful I will ever dive into the realm of Harry Potter.

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Dark lord, eh? No thanks

Confession #5: I prefer The Lord of the Rings film adaptations to the books

I know. Burn me at the stake. I deserve it. But as much as I enjoy Tolkien’s unique author’s voice and his beautiful descriptions of landscapes, I actually prefer Peter Jackson’s film adaptations of the original trilogy. Why? Because of the characters. Peter Jackson focuses on the characters in the films, blowing up their personalities and making them absoltly lovable. Look at Gollum! Peter Jackson was so distant from them and focused on where and what they were doing, that I never got a good sense about who they were and what they were feeling, which is very important for me. I’m not saying the films are better; I’m just sharing my personal preference.

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You shall not pass judgment!

Confession #6: I only read for one hour a day

I like to think of myself as an avid reader since I read every day, but with mom’s illness, taking care of my nephew, working out,and writing my own novel, I don’t have more than one hour–if that–to devote to reading a day. When I was in high school it was nothing for me to read 5 or 6 hours straight, but now that I’m an adult with a full-time job and lots of responsibilities reading is just not something I can binge on anymore. Though that one hour or so I have to read is perhaps one of the best hours of my day.

Confession #7: I prefer traditionally published authors over indie authors . . . for the moment

I know as an indie author I should be ashamed, but so far I’ve been more satisfied by the traditional authors that I follow. Not to say there aren’t several indie authors I follow with excited anticipation, but they were hard-found in all the self-published sludge. Don’t get me wrong, I support indie authors–I am one–but I am constantly dissatisfied with the quality of their writing, writing that I know would excel that of the traditional authors if only they’d taken the proper steps in editing their works. With beta readers, content editors, and copy editors online, there’s no excuse for a poorly written story with redundant scenes and inconsistent characters. It’s the lack of serious editing that holds indie authors back.

Confession #8: I’d rather write than read

Don’t get me wrong; I love to read, but when I’m reading, I often become frustrated when the story doesn’t go my way. I’m not saying I could have written it better, but it’s nice to write the story you’d love to read and know it’s going to turn out just the way you wanted it to.

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I’d rather be writing

Confession #9: I only review a book when I hate it or love it

I’m like most readers; I only write a review when I’m inspired, or asked nicely to. It takes energy to construct a thorough review, and nothing inspires the words to flow like love or rage. When I love a book, I have to share it with the world! And when I hate a book, I feel compelled to warn others. Sometimes I don’t like books based on taste. This does not warrant a bad review. Only when I feel like the author didn’t try to put forth the proper effort do I dare a negative review. If there was any love or effort detected in the writing, I won’t write a flame review. I rarely write bad reviews. I have to really really hate a book to do that. Most of the time I write rave reviews, not to boost an author’s stats, but their self-esteem and encourage them to keep at it.

Confession #10: I never download free books, EVER!

As an indie author, I can’t support the giving away of free books when an author can profit on their hard work. I know I spend countless hours each week writing and editing my work. Not to mention the countless dollars I’ve spent for professional cover design and editing services. I loathe to imagine myself paying these off for years to come, so I make a point to purchase books at full price. Helping authors is what authors do best.

And those are my confessions. Boy, do I feel a heavy burden removed from my chest. Hopefully, I didn’t hurt anyone’s feelings, but I just wanted to be perfectly honest. The blogosphere is like a confession box, but for readers, so hopefully you can forgive me for my reader sins. For fun, share with me some of your reading sins.

Have a good Monday, everyone, celebrating whatever holiday you prefer!

I Didn’t Feel Like Blogging Today So Here’s a Picture of an Astronaut Riding a Robotic Unicorn in Space

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It’s Monday . . . and I was planning on writing a really fun blog post . . . but I’m just not feeling it today, so here’s a picture of an astronaut riding a robotic unicorn in space. Please enjoy.

Please stay tuned for blog posts of content Wednesday and Friday this week. I promise, I’ll get off my lazy bum and hash out something worth reading. Until then, have a wonderful week!

 

Real Life Chutes and Ladders

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Chutes and Ladders is not just a game; it’s a metaphor for life. Kind of heavy for a children’s board game, don’t yah think? Granted, it’s still a lot lighter than Monopoly, which makes a huge political statement about the economic concept of monopolies. So child-friendly.

For those of you who have never played Chutes and Ladders, it’s a board game that requires players to roll a single die and advance their token the rolled number of spaces across a square board. First player to arrive at the end of the board wins. On some of the squares there are ladders that advance the player forward a certain number of squares. There are also chutes that send the player back a certain number of squares.

Do you see how this game applies to real life? Don’t you ever feel like you’re progressing forward at a steady pace when, all of a sudden, you’re propelled forward on one success or set back by some stroke of bad luck?

Well, recently my life has reminded me of a game of Chutes and Ladders.

215-7353_PI_TPS1365060The Chutes:

  1. My favorite restaurant, Pepperwhistle Bakery and Cafe, closed last month. This is sad for me not only as a patron but also as an author because the owner of this restaurant was very supportive of local creators and had offered to let me promote my book there whenever I wanted.
  2. Last month, my mother started a new treatment to fight off six new tumors that had grown on her liver. Even though the side effects are more tolerable, she doesn’t feel that it’s working.
  3. My debut novel suffered a no-sales season. Is that even a real term? I might have just coined it.
  4. Kickboxing class was permanently cancelled at the YMCA due to schedule conflicts, which sucks because this was one of the few classes I could work into my schedule.

6foot_ladder_500xThe Ladders:

  1. I connected with a new local employer who has offered to let me host a booth at his store. If it goes well, I’m sure there will be potential for future events at his store.
  2. Because of the lesser side effects my mom has been able to enjoy several family outings, which she may not have had she stayed on the other treatment.
  3. Even though my entry in the Royal Nonesuch Humor Writing Contest didn’t win, it did make it to semi-finals, which is rather encouraging.
  4. And even though my debut novel has not sold well these past few months, my new release has had an excellent first week, ranking pretty high on the Amazon Best Sellers Rank.
  5. My sister and I were invited to speak to a local “geek club” about cosplaying for beginners. It was a ton of fun and so rewarding to inspire new cosplayers. This is exactly the kind of thing I imagined doing as an adult, and I’m loving it!

So looking at the lists, it’s clear I’ve had more ladders than chutes, which makes me optimistic that I’ll come out ahead in the end. Even if I land on a chute, I’ll stay positive and keep playing, because life isn’t a game you quit, and it’s not over any time soon.

How about you? Are you landing on a lot of chutes or ladders? Hopefully, you’re advancing across the board and heading for that coveted 100th square. Maybe, I’ll see you there!

I Didn’t Feel Like Blogging Today, So Here’s A Picture of an Armed Cat Riding a Fire-breathing Unicorn

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Today is Wednesday, and–gasp–I don’t have a post ready! Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up. With play rehearsal, mom’s illness, nephew’s needs, and my novel’s impending release date, I’ve run out of time to compose a thoughtful blog post for today … but since I hate to skip a day in my schedule, here’s a picture of an armed cat riding a unicorn. It should be noted that the unicorn has red, glowing eyes. Also, the cat is wearing a red bandanna, which in the 90’s, was very cool.

Happy Hump Day, everyone!