Thursday, March 31, 2011

30 Days of all things good: A to Z Challenge

I'm excited about the A to Z blog challenge, so why not call it something I'm grateful for. I've been struggling to keep up with blogging recently, and the possibilities of what I can blog about for the challenge have gotten me excited about blogging again. I spent part of tonight with my notebook out and jotting down possible post topic ideas.

With all the people participating in the challenge, I'm going to keep my posts short around 100 words or so. If any of the topics end up really needing more I can write a longer post after the challenge.

Though this leaves me wondering about the all things good posts. At first I was thinking of doing them along with A to Z. Two posts a day for awhile wouldn't be impossible. But I don't know how that would work out for other A to Z bloggers stopping by to have more to read through. And I've missed a few days already for all things good.

It had been nice blogging about positive things, maybe it might be good to have a weekly post of gratefulness after A to Z is over.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Gearing up for A to Z

I feel bad for neglecting my blog for a little while, it's been a rough few days.

But at any rate I had a wonderful idea for a theme for my A to Z posts. I had been planning on general writing related posts (which I mentioned over on KarenG's blog post). I got to thinking some more after that and thought it would be fun to do psychological topics as they could relate to writing. Things like emotions, personality archetypes, and such. I might not be able to fit that theme for every letter, but I'm going to see how many will. And it helps that my list of topic brainstorming falls partly in that direction.

And talk about timing. After I had decided on my theme I was browsing through my dashboard and saw this post on using Myers-Briggs for characters by the Plot to Punctuation blog. I recommend reading that post it has some good advice. It was nice to read that, now I don't feel so weird for having taken the Myers-Briggs test as my characters. I think it's even a field in the characters table in my writing database.

Not that this is related to the rest of the post at all, I just want to share. The Bronx Zoo Cobra is on twitter. I was literally laughing out loud at some of the tweets.

Friday, March 25, 2011

30 Days of all things good: Wine

I had though of something else earlier for today's topic, but it slipped my mind before I could jot it down. So for today I'm going to call wine my grateful post. I'm enjoying a nice glass of red wine while I write this, it seams fitting somehow.

I do enjoy a good glass of wine every now and then. My favorite is a chardonnay aged in four different types of oak from a local vineyard. In general I prefer white wines to red, for me a red can get to heavy flavored to fast depending on the grapes used. White tends to be a lighter flavor whether it's sweet or not.

And of course there is always ice wine, which is really sweet and makes for a wonderful dessert wine. It is good served up in a glass or it can be drizzled over some ice cream. To be sold as ice wine in the US, the grapes have to freeze on the vines. That extra time on the vine allows for more sugars to build up in the grapes. Though some vineyards will produce a "delayed harvest" wine, which has grapes on the vine longer than normal but not quite long enough to be called an ice wine. They are pretty good and not quite as expensive as standard ice wine can be.

With writing I like to have a clear head, so I wait to have any wine until I'm done writing for the day. With wine and other drinks sometimes it's fun to think about what my characters may or may not drink. There is a social aspect to it, and in one scene a character of mine is picking out what particular wine he is going to bring to a dinner.

So do you like wine? Any favorites? What do your characters like to drink at the end of a long day or out with friends?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

30 Days of all things good: Humor

I enjoy humor. There is nothing like a good laugh to get in touch with a better mood or for simple enjoyment. It reminds me of the "Laughter is the Best Medicine" jokes in Reader's Digest. Well, the laughing part of humor at any rate.

I was thinking of Conan earlier in that no matter how cruddy my mood seams to be I almost always get some laughs out of his show. I'm so glad TBS picked him up for their network. His humor seams to resonate with me, I think it's his off beat style. Plus to if a joke isn't going over as well as planned he just rolls with the audience reactions and keeps on being funny.

I know humor is very subjective, what makes one person laugh can annoy the next person. Who do you find funny? What types of jokes? What about written humor? 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

30 Days of all things good: Music.

Today's post of all things good is music. I love many different types of music and listen to it often. I even listen to it while writing. When I'm writing I tend to tune out the words and it becomes known background to cover noises of random distraction.

Other times when I'm not doing to much I like to take time and enjoy both the lyrics and the rhythm. When I need a mood pick me up something upbeat does the trick. Or even when I'm in a good mood It's fun to listen to something upbeat. Just this evening I was listening to Ayumi Hamasaki's Fairyland song a few times.

And of course certain songs can remind me of my characters or a work in progress. "I'm a believer" from the Shrek soundtrack always makes me think about my main character from my romantic mainstream novel draft. The lyrics speak to what he's going through.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

30 Days of All Things Good: Books and Story Telling

Something I'm grateful for today is books. I've always loved to read and I'm currently working my way through through CJ Cherryh's Foreigner Series. Well, I'm taking a slight break to read some of Chekov's short stories, but I'm going to get the next Foreigner book after that. I've been enjoying the series, the world is really well put together and the characters are interesting.

I'm also grateful for stories in other media. Sure a movie has different presentation tools to work with to tell a story, though the basic elements are still there. This past weekend I watched Despicable Me and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The girls were a riot, and the story moved along nicely. It was a Netflix rental that I would like to buy sometime. I can see myself watching it again.

Monday, March 21, 2011

30 Days of all things good: Creativity

Writing isn't the only creative thing I do, and I'm sure other writers also have other ways of expressing their creativity. In addition to writing I like to make jewerly, draw, digital art, and photography. To me there is such a joy in the creative process no matter what media I'm working in. Plus sometimes to doodling in a notebook or taking some pictures is a good way to move past a part I'm stuck in for a writing work in progress.

One of the things I like about the jewerly is most projects I can finish in an evening and have something complete to enjoy. I like to bead while watching TV, and then I have a new necklace to wear to work the next day. I do tend to look at my jewerly as wearable art. When I look at the necklace, or whatever other piece I have the memory of the time spent making it and that brings a smile to my face.

With the digital art, I've been playing with the Flame Painter, an online painting tool. The Eagle's Aerial Perspective blog posted about it Saturday and I've been having fun with it.

Here's one of the paintings I made:

What creative things do you enjoy?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

30 Days of all things good: Family

I spent a good three hours chatting on the phone with my mom today, it was one of those days when we both had a lot of stuff to catch up on. While I've grown and moved 100 miles away it's still nice to have a connection with family.

And I could almost lump phones in here, as I don't get to see my mom to often. Usually I see her at least once a month when she comes to town for the writer group, though she doesn't come up when the winter weather is bad. Now that spring is almost here we are planning when to get together next. In the mean time it's good to be able to have a reliable phone to call her on, my old cell phone had battery issues.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

30 Days of all things good: My Cats

Today I'm grateful for my cats. As I'm writing this I have one of them on my lap. I've always loved cats and the three my husband and I have now are really sweet. My lap cat Trixie we adopted from the local shelter shortly after we got married, and she decided that I'm her person. She greets me in the morning as I'm getting up, and she is happy to see me when I get home.

I'm also grateful that we are able to provide a home for the three of them. Earlier this week I saw Mutts shelter stories on tv, two animated cats were talking to each other about getting picked to get homes. Something about that commercial hit me and I had tears in my eyes thinking about shelter cats waiting for their homes.

I think it reminds me of Trixie, when we went to look for a cat I locked eyes with her and as we were walking out of the shelter I had a feeling that she was meant to come home with us. So we went back and when the staff brought her into the visiting room she was all over us. We took her home that day and she's been my pal since.

We adopted our second cat, Maya, two years later when the apartment complex changed their rules from allowing one cat to two. Trixie wad lonely during the day and she needed a pal. Within the week they were playing together and Trixie was grooming Maya. Maya came from another location of the shelter Trixie came from.

Toby came to us from family. He needed a home and decided he liked us. He and Trixie butt heads as they both want to be head cat and have all our attention. They are getting better at getting along.

The picture is Trixie on the sofa, having made herself comfortable on my lap blanket.

Friday, March 18, 2011

30 Days: friends and community

I decided to include both friends and community together for this post as they overlap. Friends is rather self explanatory. By community I'm referring to my fellow writers and artists I've connected with via blogs, Twitter, TM writers, and other places. I'm grateful for both friends and community, I've met some wonderful people both online on off.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

30 days of all things good: Spring

Via Kerry Schafer's blog I decided to join in on her 30 days of all things good. Starting today I'm going to post daily about something I'm grateful for.

I’m grateful for spring. Right now the bulbs in my garden are just starting to break the surface of the earth, days are getting longer, it’s getting warmer, and it’s simply a joy to be outside again. The air has that early spring fresh smell. It's not the floral scent that is in the air from later in spring when the flowers are blooming. I could go on more about spring, but I have already blogged about it in a previous post.

So what are you grateful for?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Muse Prompting Monday - Signs of Spring

Signs of Spring:

Spring: growth, change, new life, these things come to mind as I look at the bulbs starting to sprout in my garden. It also makes me think about the characters in my various works in progress, which could easily be applied to anyone's characters. What changes are they they going through? What new things will they experience? What new things will they learn?

In regards to the plants, I'm pretty sure these are the daffodil bulbs coming up based on the location of the garden.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A to Z

I decided to join the A to Z blogging challenge, and I'm excited about the prospect. It sounds like a fun challenge to pick a topic to blog about  based on a specific letter. I am getting a little jump on things now so I don't face blogging block come April.

I decided to brainstorm topic ideas. While I'm going to try to focus on writing or reading related topics I'm sure some days will be random fun. I created a new document in Google with the alphabet typed out, a new line for each letter. Then as I get ideas I type them after their letter. I already have a bunch for C, and some for B, and H. (Things like creativity, books, character, hope, joy and such). As I said, I'm brainstorming. And yes, feel free to use any ideas if they strike the muse, they are just words/post ideas.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

February reads

With February being a short month I only have two books for this post. 

Defender (Foreigner #5) Cherryh, C.J.
I enjoyed reading this book, though it seamed a little slow in spots. The way this one is placed in the series it setting things up to have the characters arriving at the distant space station in the next book. There were a few jokes towards the end of the book with mistranslations, and the dowager character makes a good power play move. The dowager is one of my favorite characters in the series.

Explorer (Foreigner #6) Cherryh, C.J.
This one was rather enjoyable to read with the various levels of intrigue going on. With the space ship dealing with both the space station and new (to them) aliens and the two groups of humans not wanting to cooperate with each other conflict is present through the whole novel. There was also a nice bit of action in this book.