Monday, September 24, 2012

Being an Introvert


Introvert (n): 1. a shy person.

2. Psychology . a person characterized by concern primarily with his or her own thoughts and feelings ( opposed to extrovert). 
I've been wondering lately whether there's a common trait among writers and I'm curious to hear your thoughts below.
I'm sharing in this post more about myself than I usually do through social media, but the fact has me very curious if there are others like me. AND, I wouldn't post this if I wasn't completely comfortable with being an introvert. I think it's part of what makes me a writer.
I consider myself outgoing but shy, which I know makes me "socially awkward" at my own will. Yes, I know what others around me think when they meet me because that's the persona I force onto myself. I consciously make myself "socially awkward" around people I don't know.

Why? Because I put up a shield between myself and anyone I don't know. I am wary of new people and the barrier protects me from being judged too quickly. In my opinion, the same way you can't judge a book by it's cover, you can't judge a person from an initial meeting/introduction - at least not me.
I don't do chit chat with new people - why? because I really don't know much about them (at least in the beginning). Unless they "strike my fancy" in the first minute, I will not make the conversation too interesting. I know that's rude and I hide it by not talking and replying in short answers. Some people think I'm a good listener, and I'll go with that - but only as entertainment to myself (which makes me feel guilty on the inside and even more shy). I use the conversation to observe mannerisms, traits, speech patterns, and make notes for my writing.

I believe being an introvert makes me a better friend in the long run because I really care about the people I do speak with, make friendships with and continue the relationship in whatever form it may come. That's when I slowly let the barrier down, begin making jokes and join the conversation. Once I know you, and vice-verse I may not be able to shut-up. Yes, it happens.

It's like the relationship is filtered before it begins. If I find we have nothing in common, there won't be too many conversations, but I will listen.

Having said that, it's even more difficult for me to use social media to "socialize". How do you do that when you don't really know me? How do you let the screen down, or should you?

Take Twitter for example. The only time I'll make conversation with other people is when they have something interesting to say or when I know them on a deeper level. That's why I prefer to promote others on Twitter - yes even authors I don't know which not many are in favor. Hey, it's better than pretending to be making a conversation - I don't pretend. If I say something, I mean it.

I do say things in the heat of a moment that I regret. Doesn't everyone? But it's rare. I'm already reconsidering the post I'm writing. Is it too much information? Is this me slowly letting down the barrier I have with my own blog? Perhaps. I guess only time will tell... I'll be looking forward to re-reading this post a year from now to see how far this relationship has grown (or not).

Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Do you find using social media difficult? Do you force yourself to us it, or embrace it perhaps with some limits.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Genre Favorites Blogfest

Genre Favorites Blogfest 
One blogfest, four favorites! Hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh :)
List your favorite genre of:
And a guilty pleasure genre from any of the three categories! 
Hope I don't bore anyone, but as you'll see there's a theme to the genres I enjoy :) I didn't realize it explains my passion for what I write. So here it goes:
MOVIE: Definitely Fantasy, especially High Fantasy.
There's something special about being able to get lost in a different world, especially one that seems real and makes me want to jump into the television set.

MUSIC: Alternative Pop and Rock
I enjoy lots of 80's and 90's. The Cranberries bring me back to my high school years. I love Depeche Mode, Jon Bon Jovi and Pet Shop Boys, Scorpions, Alphaville. I have a long list of music favorites, but I can't say there's one that's on top of the list.

BOOKS: Fantasy
My ultimate favorite is when Fantasy books include romance and adventure. A world where anything is possible and the littlest people end up as great heroes. They sacrifice, teach, risk and overcome all odds no one else could. Think along the lines of The Lord of the Rings :)

GUILTY PLEASURE: Watching movies you've already seen just because they're on TV. (Even if I own the DVD.) If I'm flipping through the channels and I see Dirty Dancing, Twilight, TLOTR, Back to the Future, Fifth Element, Matrix, Stigmata, Indiana Jones - I cannot switch to a different channel.

Do any of my favorites spark a flame in your heart? Hop along to the other Blogfest participants to find their guilty pleasures. The list can be found here.

Monday, September 10, 2012

What's Your Chocolate Blog Hop!


Chocolate (n): 1. a preparation of the seeds of cacao, roasted, husked, and ground, often sweetened and flavored, as with vanilla.

Thank you to hosts M.Pax, Laura Eno, Brinda Berry, Ciara Knight for hosting the most delicious blog hop EVER!

Every woman's dream, desire and ultimate solution to any problem.


Dripping chocolate, hard chocolate, Swiss chocolate, sweet chocolate, bitter chocolate. Chocolate cakes, bars, muffins, cookies, ice cream, milk.

They come in all shapes and sizes, but it doesn't really matter so long as it melts on my tongue spreading its savory sweetness of coco to my taste buds. Lingering in my mouth like a prolonged o...(oops) - got lost there for a moment. I think you get the point as to how much I love Chocolate.

If I go to a restaurant and there's a chocolate desert - you can bet that's the one I'm getting.

If the desert is a double chocolate (name your desert) vs triple chocolate (name your desert) - the triple will always win.

If there are two chocolate deserts and there's no way to know which one's better then we have a problem that can only be solved by getting both deserts.

Do I have a favorite chocolate desert? That's like asking a kid to choose between a toy and a toy.

No, I don't have a favorite, so long as it's chocolate, but a nice Truffle Royale cake from LaRocca is on the top of my list.

I was going to post pictures fro LaRocca, but they're not public domain :(  Sorry.

And, if it's my birthday, it can only be a Black Forest Cake. A BIG Black Forest Cake. I once ordered one cake for the guests and another one for myself (smaller size of course) because when it comes to Black Forest Cakes, there can never be too much.

Now, I can wipe the drool off my face and hop over to the other participants of the blog hop. The list is below.

Sweet Hopping Everyone!

Friday, September 7, 2012

IWSG Follow Up Guest Post

Today I have the pleasure of hosting Stephanie Brooks; a freelance writer and advocate of higher education. Given this past Wednesday we all poured our hearts out at the Insecure Writer's Support Group, Stephanie's words will lift your souls :)

Inspiration for my Fellow Writers

Their words have shaped my standards, grounded my dreams and encouraged me to dream bigger. Without further ado, here are the quotes that have shaped my life as a writer.

if it doesn't come bursting out of you / in spite of everything, /don't do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your / heart and your mind and your mouth /and your gut, /don't do it. – Charles Bukowski, from the poem “so you want to be a writer?”

Charles Bukowski was a master of finding beauty in the banal. He was tough, dirty and crude; but, in a single twist, he could arouse the delicate and tender moments of the harshest of scenes. He worked, like so many of us do, a variety of odd jobs and wrote on the side. It wasn’t until he was 49 years old that he quit his day job. Charles Bukowski was the first writer who taught me that you really can’t help being a writer, that it really isn’t about making money or making it big. It’s about tapping into a vein of expression that rushes into the world like a geyser.

A serious writer is not to be confounded with a solemn writer. A serious writer may be a hawk or a buzzard or even a popinjay, but a solemn writer is always a bloody owl. – Ernest Hemingway

During college I minored in creative writing. In workshops, my writing was received as mediocre at best. Impatient and pressured to excel in an environment of peer-based review, I produced shoddy work. All inspiration and passion had been replaced with a desperate need to be seen as a superior writer. I did what any writer with a fragile ego would do. I stopped trying to write great work and focused on editing the life out of everyone else’s work. Yes, I became a bloody owl.

I was too solemn to be serious. My need for perfection and acclaim dwarfed any commitment to actually honing my craft or finding personal expression. It took me five years to stop taking myself too seriously.

"You must want to enough. Enough to take all the rejections, enough to pay the price of disappointment and discouragement while you are learning. Like any other artist you must learn your craft—then you can add all the genius you like." – Phyllisa A. Whitney

I had trouble in college because I took myself too seriously, but I also failed to respect myself. Lacking confidence in my original voice and abilities, I began to doubt if I even wanted to be a writer. Any love I felt for my work was dashed when it went unnoticed. I threw all of my work in the trash, not because I thought it was subpar, but because my fellow students didn’t understand it.

As I matured, and after working as an editor, I began to see artistic expression as something that attracts criticism. Even the most vulnerable and raw forms of expression can be targeted and dismantled. Did I want to subject myself to that?

If you have an idea of what you want to make, what you were put here to do, then just go and do that.—Neil Gaiman’s commencement speech at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia

Last month, I came to a crisis point. I have been brainstorming for a novel, but I had reservations about committing. Could I be a writer? Did I want to be a writer? What else could I possibly be? The doubts peaked during a conversation with my fiancé. With the pressures of planning for a wedding and our future family, dedicating hours of my day to writing a novel seemed both selfish and impossible. The next day, my fiancé sent me Neil Gaiman’s commencement speech on YouTube.

Listening to that speech was a turning point for me. In a way, I already knew that a career in the arts was exploratory, but I began to see it as an adventure full of unknowns and challenges. There is an element of bravery that is demanded, as well as flexibility and humor. Making good art, which comes from a singular and original place, is the only way I can truly be myself.

I will definitely be hanging around, possibly in the Insecure Writer’s Group, as I begin writing my novel. Feel free to share your own favorite quotes or moments of epiphany.

This guest post was written by Stephanie Brooks, an avid freelance writer and advocate of higher education. She is passionate about sharing the importance of accredited online universities with those who are interested in distance learning.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012



Ecdysiat (n): stripper
A bit of an explanation for this word: I found it on the front page of the website. Click and see. It was a quiz asking whether ecdysiat meant an island or a stripper. Since I didn't know, I found it intriguing and thought I'd share such important news with the rest of the world. (*yes, I'm kidding about the important part*)

Today is another first Wednesday of the month and as always, a big Thank you to Captain Ninja Alex J. Cavanaugh for hosting the Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) on each first Wednesday of every month. Today, writers post their doubts, concerns and insecurities without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Others offer assistance and guidance in the comments.

For a full list of participants click here and hop on over to offer your own words of encouragement and/or assistance.

For the past eight months, I've sort of put all my eggs in one basket and now, it looks like the basket may have fallen, ten stories and splattered onto concrete.

Let me explain. I've been gearing up toward letting the the first novella in the Two Halves Series go for free in the ebook format on all platforms by price matching from Smashwords to Amazon. My objective was to give the first one away, in hopes that those who read it go on to be true fans and purchase the other books in the series (all four will be out before the end of the year).

Apparently Amazon is not being as generous in price matching as it used to be and takes a very looooong time to do so and they're choosing who they price match, which is kind of unfair (because everyone should be treated equally, right?).  Now, I've only set the price to zero for Marked on Aug 25th, which hasn't been too long, but what if they never match it?

I really want the series to be given a chance like other authors have through this strategy (and many were very successful).

I've followed the suggestions of other authors by asking friends to report the lower price to Amazon, but still, no price matching. :(

Looks like I may be eating scrambled eggs for a while.

What are your insecurities this month?  

Monday, September 3, 2012

Summer's unoficially over :(

I've been counting down the days until school starts for the past week. Tomorrow, the day will finally come. I'm excited for the kids because they miss their friends and both do well at school that it's not really a dreadful day for them. I will also finally be able to get some work done.

As clock ticks down the hours and minutes, I realize I will miss them and not miss them at the same time, which is kind of a weird feeling. First day of school to me always feels like the summer is over and we need to start getting ready for winter (which reminds me that I need to book skiing lessons tomorrow).

So, as a tribute to Summer 2012, I thought I'd share with you my most memorable moments:
  • Camping in July: First setting up the tent in rain, then baking in 45 degrees Celsius. Hiding out in visitors center to cool off. My kids making another 16km bike trail and their chocolate ice cream. Perfect camping trip.
  • Swimming lessons - kiddies finally made it to level 6: so proud of them
  • Having our campfire in the back yard
  • Enjoying coffee with my hubby on the patio
  • picking about 50 tomatoes in my backyard, peeling them and cooking for sauce to be used in the future
  • Our trip to New York - probably the highlight of the summer
  • My daughter's soccer games and the dive she took to save the ball. What an awesome team they had!
  • My son's soccer development practices - what a great coach! The man was simply born to be a coach!
  • The kids devotion to their Karate. I can't believe they remember all those moves.
  • Kids sleeping in until 10 or 11 in the morning. How many times in our lives do we get to do that?
The passing of this summer reminds me of how quickly time goes by. Another year, another grade, a new season (soon), yet I remember when I was my kids age so vividly. It seems like yesterday. So, even at a time when I'm looking forward to a quiet home and a schedule, it saddens me that they're growing up. They'll never be this age again and how much I enjoy having my loud munchkins (if the older one saw this post he'd say I'm embarrassing him).

So, if school starts for your kids tomorrow like for mine, take the time to remember your summer, because no matter how small or how big your adventures were, I'm sure you won't have the same one next year. Perhaps it will be better, perhaps worse, but definitely not the same.

What will you remember most from your summer?