Uranus: Rolling Retrograde Pale Blue Beauty & Simple Car Repairs 1-ohhhh!-1: YOU GOT THIS!

Uranus is the seventh planet from the sun and not visible to the naked eye. It’s an interesting and f96496501b29ea59d0cd2f06ad7bba09im-not-saying-its-cats-but-its-cats-thumbunique planet worthy of our attention. Don’t you feel that about yourself sometimes? Especially as a Lonely Woman, or Lonely Man? That you are no longer visible but you are unique and interesting and worthy of attention? You’ll hear, “Get yourself out there! Be around people!” But, it is exactly the “getting yourself out there” thing that is confusing and daunting and scary, isn’t it?

But I digress. Because I like to say/write: I digress.

Uranus’s axis is tilted at 97-98 degrees, so the planet rolls on its side for most of its rotation around our sunmain-qimg-86166fcd316a7716d4486a9e420e9a96. This rotation is called retrograde—opposite of Earth and other planets (besides Venus and Pluto, which also spin in a retrograde direction). In these retrograde planets you can imagine that the sun would rise in the west and set in the east. Though, Uranus is so tilted on its side that some of its orbit points its poles right at the sun so there’s 42 years of sunlight at one pole while the other is in complete darkness for 42 years—that sounds like my moods sometimes; hahaha! The 42 years of sunlight/darkness is during Uranus’s solstice; during the planet’s equinox it is a little more “normal” in its “seasons.”

It takes 84 years for Uranus to orbit the sun—Earth takes 365 days. Imagine that for your birthday I pick you up in my Lil Log Spaceship and take you to Uranus.  Let’s also imagine your birthday is today, July 16, and, let’s say you were born in 1970. If you were back on Earth you’d be 46 years old. But if you were with me on Uranus you’d only be 0.54–notice the decimal y’all!—and what would be your second birthday wouldn’t be until July 20, 2054! I bet you’d miss all the cake and ice cream and presents and would scurry on back to earth. As for me? Well: Pitiful Lonely Woman Alert!—my last birthday was spent—guess, no really, guess!—yeah: alone. Dang. So a birthday once a year or once every 84 years—hmmmmm, gotta think about that one. Like Charlie Brown says (and I don’t exactly quote): We don’t mind being alone and lonely so much, we just don’t want a holiday(or birthday) to emphasis it. Awwwwwwww!

On Uranus, a 115 pound person would weigh 102. Not a huge difference like some of the other celestial bodies—for example, a 115 pound person would weigh over 3000 pounds on the sun but only 19 pounds on the moon! I’m gonna have my cake and eat more of it too on the Moon.

uranusUranus is an Ice Giant planet. There’s an ice mantle that surrounds rock and more ice. Its atmosphere above consists of ammonia, water, and methane ice crystals—this gives it its gorgeous pastel blue color.

Now here is a weird thing: because of Uranus’s atmosphere, it is thought that it may rain diamonds! Imagine diamond-hail falling down on and around you. As well, It could be that there is a layer of liquid diamond. I’m not a diamond kind of woman, but I’d love to have me a big ole pretty jar of liquid diamond. Now I bet that would be interesting and beautiful. Dang! My precious.

Many people believe Saturn is the only planet with rings, but Uranus has rings too (so does Jupiter and Neptune). They are small rings made of dust and small boulders.

Neptune has 27 moons. Can you imagine looking up and seeing 27 moons? They were named after William Shakespeare and Alexander Pope characters—like Puck, Juliet, Ariel, Cupid, Miranda, Oberon, Caliban, etc. etc.

For more on Uranus, see this video below:

Some pronounce this planet Ur-ran-us and others Ur-anus. I admit I picked this planet today because I was saying “Your-Anus” in my head, and since I kicked ass yesterday, that was my reason. Yeah. Well. What can I say? Laugh. I have my own thought-processes.

And the reason I kicked ass is because I was able to make a couple of repairs on my car without any help—because there IS no help. When you are a Lonely Woman/Man, you are responsible for everything, and that includes car repairs and maintenance. And that’s what I want to talk to you about today, besides Uranus, that is! The more we can do on our own, the more kickass we feel. The more empowered we feel. Before I opened up that hood, I was worried about what those repairs were going to cost me, and where would the money come from? How much more can my groaning credit card take? I’d been putting it off, and it wasn’t safe to do that. I was tired of the anxiety over it.

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You are allowed to look pitiful if it’s your birthday and you are by yourself being a Charlie Brown. Just say’n

Stress . . . worry . . . obsesses . . . anxiety . . . or, open the danged ole hood and just Try It.

The repairs I made saved me a trip to a mechanic (other than the “check engine” light that I will talk about), and everything I did was completely FREE! I included a video (below).

These repairs were done on a 1998 Subaru Outback. Your car may vary. Refer to video below if you want to “see” what I’m talking about. And be careful about safety: Engine OFF; hood secured, and any other areas of safety necessary. Your car may be different from mine, so just be Smart about things.

Problem: One of your headlights is not working. It’s not the bulb, because either you’ve had that replaced, and/or you notice the light sometimes works.

Solution: I always keep my engine off! Open the hood, secure the hood safely. Now, look around at FullSizeRenderwhat appears to be connectors and connections leading to the headlight. Behind the bulb you’ll see wires connected to a “plug” –unplug this connector and make sure all the wires are secure. Press the wire connections in, brush/blow away any dirt and dust. Plug the connector back in. If you are lucky, as I was, the headlight will come on! Just be sure you are not forcing things—if it isn’t something easy to disconnect, maybe it’s not supposed to be disconnected!

Problem: Windshield wiper cleaner not working. No motor sounds; no water.

Solution: Again, engine off, look under your secured hood (safety always please!), and find your 064B5BE3-06C5-4A51-9BE8-A33E9221BAA0 (3)windshield wiper fluid container. Make sure first it has fluid. Then look for connectors/connections-wiring leading to the fluid container. Check the wires and connections—I like to press them, push them in, move wires out of the way so they don’t hang up on something. Press on the connectors to make sure they are secured. Sometimes it’s just a loose wire or connections rather than a bad part!

If you have motor sounds but no water comes out to clean your windshield, then look for the small tube that goes from the windshield fluid container up to your hood. In my case, that black rubber tube coming from the windshield wiper fluid container was disconnected from the white plastic connector on the hood. I simply connected the two, turned on my wiper cleaner, and VOILA! Done!

Problem: “Check Engine” light suddenly comes on. Right after I drove my car after these repairs, my check engine light came on. This has never happened before and I was about to panic, but I knew it had to do with something I’d just done. I drove right to a local mechanic (in this case Waynesville Tire—and they were awesome). I told them the repairs I’d done.

Solution: They hooked up a device and all they ended up having to do was put in a code to turn off the check engine light indicator. The mechanic explained that some things will cause that sensor to go off and indicate a check engine light when there is nothing wrong with the engine. We figured that when all that water sprayed in my engine from that loose tube, it somehow caused the sensor to go off. It cost me nothing. So “check engine” doesn’t always mean something bad or catastrophic. If your check engine light comes on, don’t let someone scare you in to some huge repair. Take your car to someone you trust and ask them to try putting in the code to turn off that check engine light. If it continues to come on, then you may have something to address. However, in my case, that was the solution!


Next give-away is next post. And I draw from people who’ve “liked” or commented (here or on the post that shows up on my Facebook Page) from the last drawing until now, so more people are included and it makes it more fun. So on the posts I don’t have a give away, your name still goes “in the hat” for the next drawing.  

During the next few posts, I’m going to delve into the area of – gasp – Dating! Or Not Dating, as the case may, or should, or could be. Stay tuned.


 

1964980_10152466287074176_8369086502746553258_nIf you like Southern/Appalachian/Family Saga fiction (sometimes with a supernatural touch), then I hope you will consider one of my novels (or short story “snacks”) by clicking on this link to my 51j6n1OihJL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Amazon Page. I appreciate your support!

1461250_496657083765127_1387255473_nAnd I thank you, my readers.

The Unfinished Galaxy. Mars: The No God Zone (Also: Lonely Woman’s Easy repair of the day; and a yummy give-away)

Mars is our next door neighbor . . . .

It is the forgotten playground of a god, or God. Almost there. Almost Just Right. Almost Earth-like . . . more on that later.

marsSmaller than Earth, it does have two moons so that in itself makes it nice to visit in my Lil Loghouse Spaceship. Though, it’s often difficult to see the moons, because of the dust storms kicking up. The wind howls, and you can hear it if you click on this video—as well as see a sunset tinge the sky blue. You can hear the sounds of Mars from space on this video.

From space, Mars is beautiful in its own way—if you like red, and I do. There’s so much iron in the soil. And it’s cold. 80 degrees below zero. And I forgot my coat on Pluto. Oh well! When you are a Lonely Woman, you don’t have anyone to remind you to grab your coat, or to make sure your shirt isn’t on inside out, or fix the tag that’s sticking up in the back, or acknowledge your existence when you return to Earth from Mars. There’s not even a Jesus to wipe off your Mars-dusty feet, either. But I digress . . . .

On Mars, there’s canyons, volcanoes, craters. Clouds, fog, wind. Tornados. There’s gravity—though one-third less than Earth has. If you dropped a cup of coffee on Mars, it would fall slower than if you dropped that cup of coffee on Earth—maybe you have time to grab it, but then I suppose everything would move slower. Just like with Pluto, which I wrote about below, you’d weigh less: if you weighed 100 pounds on Earth, you’d only weigh 37 on Mars. You could also jump higher on Mars. Wheeee! Though after a while, jumping higher means nothing if there’s nothing to jump for, or no one to show how high you are jumping and laughing while you scream “Isn’t this cool?” We must have witness to coolness or it just doesn’t feel as cool.

It takes a little less than twice as long for a year to pass on Mars than it does on Earth—plenty more time to fail at your New Year’s resolutions; am I right? One day on Mars is only 20 minutes longer than on Earth. What to do with those twenty minutes? What to do. Waste it? Make it count? Scientists think that at one time the planet could have had liquid water, or at least could support oceans. They think that something may have struck Mars and flung out a lot of its atmosphere into space—

That happened to me. I was metaphorically struck by something, or if I’m being honest, by someone, and parts of me flung out into space so that I am left altered. I am Mars—all howling winds and dust storms and I am next to all this Life and Abundance and I am not Goldilocks—Not Just Right—and . . . more on that in a second.

Mars is the closest thing there is to Earth, and scientists think it could support life. As long as we don’t think of it as Life as We Know it On Earth.

I don’t believe in God. Not any longer. And not for quite some time.

Okay, that came out of the blue, right?

Doesn't that "mass" look a little like our continent?

Doesn’t that “mass” look a little like our continent?

As I travel our Galaxy in the lil spaceship, I see our beautiful Earth among all the other planets so inhospitable. I know that Earth is in the “Goldilocks Zone,” meaning Earth is situated in the “just right” place in our solar system not only to support life, but life so lush and varied that it boggles the mind how we became who we are and what we are—Random Acts of Nature. Because, I randomly think, if there were this Higher Being creating, why not Mars? Why would a god so magnificent and awesomely and powerful stop with one planet? Why make Mars “almost there” but not go there? Would a god realize his limitations? Did he/she/it want us to be the Lonely Planet? Did he/she/it feel abandoned so abandoned the entire project? Would a god or God be the loneliest being in not only this galaxy, but in all the galaxies? Maybe God or gods created just what he/she/it felt—a world full of lonely-hearted people looking for a way not to be lonely; a world full of the Always Searching for Something that isn’t there until it is and then it isn’t.

If you are the Lonely Woman traveling the galaxy looking down at the busy earth, and the desolate planets all around it, you feel the absence of God not the presence. You don’t see this Miracle—instead you see Beautiful Acts of Random. You see how a planet right next door just because it is not in The Perfect Spot, but almost is, is not able to sustain the life as Earth does.

You know what I miss most about believing in a god and Jesus and all that? Not the fire and brimstone—I mean, face it, the God(s) man created are abusive and mean and incredibly cruel and why would I pray to that? This God throws you in a lake of fire and watches you burn—how sick is that? And though Jesus would want to kiss your blistered feet, even he has to turn his back on you once you do whatever it is that is not pardonable. And there you are screaming out their name, begging for mercy where there is none. That sounds  like a really interesting novel that I’d read once and be so disturbed I’d never read again. I have done much thinking on this. I find science comforting. Very comforting. I find a god or Gods unsettling and more like a fairytale told to misbehaving children to get them to Act Right.

But what I miss about Jesus, you see, is that as a Lonely Woman, you lie in bed at night and there is DSC09985no one to listen. You speak aloud to hear your voice, and you “pray” to the Universe but you know no one or no thing hears you. The dark is darker. The night is nightyer. The loneliness lonelier. You think that if it were your last night on Earth, who would be there to witness your death? Who would cry and scream and shake their fist to the sky? It would only be after no one had heard from you that they’d begin to worry and then make their grisly discovery. You try not to think about these things. But you do. So you reach out to neighbors and friends and family and find ways to make sure you are Seen and Heard and Discoverable very quickly.

Earth may be the God Zone, but Mars is the No God Zone, and that is where I am hovering right now, right above Mars, looking down at a dust storm fierce and howling. When I land, I’ll walk its dusty soil and know that no Big Being in the Sky would leave Mars so desolate—so close to Earth yet so far. Here’s a Rover on mars.

It’s as if the God Story is unfinished. As if this Being started a project in a petri dish, the Great Scientist in the Sky, and then grew bored. Or gave up. Or perhaps thought, “This is enough for me. This is just right.” Or, as I lie in bed at night looking out the window at the stars and as the moon shines on my right foot, I know just how random I am. There is some comfort in that. I can absolve myself from so much responsibility.

But there is no one to say that to. No one to talk to and say, “Guess what? I just had an epiphany!” And there’s no Jesus there to nod his sage head and say, “Good work, my daughter.” There’s no God up there smiting me, either, which is a relief. Who wants to be smit’ed?

For Lonely Woman in this strange Unfinished Galaxy, there is You in the night. You. You. Just You. You. Just You. Unfinished. Almost but Not Quite Just Right.


Easy Repair of the Day: Is your ceiling fan making noise and driving you nuts? Did you know that sometimes all you need to do is clean it? That there may be some dust on it, or on the top of the blades where you can’t see it, and that is causing it to be out of balance. Turn the fan off, take a rag and clean the blades top and bottom. Turn the fan back on and be amazed that it fixed the clickity sound or the clackity sound or the click-clack sound. If this does not work, or only partially works, you may have to go to your local hardware store (or big hardware store) and purchase a ceiling fan weight balance thing to try that. But the easier fix without even leaving your spaceship is first to try cleaning the blades. I cleaned the dust from mine and it worked!


Links: Daniel Wallace Guest Author at R&T, Firefly Dance, RAP, etctgIf you love Appalachian/Southern Fiction, I hope you will head over to Kat Magendie Amazon Page and pick out a book. I will have book give aways (mine and other authors’) from time-to-time, but today–chocolate. TG & Sweetie are two of my best sellers. But there are more to choose from.


Give away of the week: Chocolate! Since we talked about Mars today, I am going to give away some Mars chocolates. I don’t like the “first commenters” thing.  So, at the end of the week (Saturday), I will randomly draw a number out of a box and whomever is the *that number* commenter is the one who receives the give away. If I receive only 1 commenter, then, well, I’ll have to pull from the box until I get number 1 *laugh*

Introduction to the Galaxy

imagesThe Milky Way Galaxy. Home. It’s not very big, as galaxies go. Though, progress intrudes as it often does—the Milky Way is moving towards the Andromeda Galaxy at seventy miles per second, and what was One will become a bigger messier Two that becomes a strange unknown One. Much as we humans do—we hurtle towards one another knowing the collision will be beautiful and fiery, and end in our spiritual or romantic or sexual (or all three) deaths. Perhaps before that happens, the sun will have already swollen to a red giant and, well, we won’t survive that either. We have no choice in the matter—death comes, so we must do the living, hurtling towards what we think will make our lives more exciting, bigger, better, sexier. Often, if we are careless, hurtling towards hurt—hurt(ling).

Oh but do not fret, for the aforementioned collision is millions of years away. Or, as in the case of Human Endeavors, it has already occurred and there is quite the mess to clean up and the resurrecting of Life not as it became known, but as it will become. Advice will be given freely: Think Positive! There are people who have it much worse! You can do it! It’s not so bad is it? Buck up and stop whining!

084Looking out of the spaceship window, there is a vastness of sky interspersed with Stuff. Though one would think traveling into space would be a silent and black existence, it is not. It only seems that way for the Lonely Woman when eyes turn too far inward; but yet, even then, the brain is as the galaxy is—full of gas, dust, black hole, planets, moons, and stars, never still, ever-changing. In the midst of it all, one cannot see to think clearly with the dust and gas so thick, yet there are wonders there, beauties, discoveries. There is also the Hidden inside the black hole that one does not want to be too close to. Why, you may ask?

The massive black hole is a greedy dark mouth that devours all the beauty and wonder and light. But yet, you wonder, inside the blackness, where no one can see, the wonders and beauty are still there, are they not? Still, you know the danger of Black Hole. No one really understands it, and that makes it bigger and badder. It is ravenous, dark, moving, surreal, dangerous, scary. Even before you enter the Event Horizon and are sucked in, you are drawn to it, drawn to it, drawn to it, drawn to that strange awful blackness.

In this galaxy, there are over 200 billion stars, maybe up to 400 billion, and that makes up only part of the home of the Earth home. Back on earth, there are about 7.5 billion people—the world could possibly support 9 or 10 billion. (Go to this World Population Calculator and see how the number changes yet stays the same as it calculates births and deaths.) And yet, for the Lonely Woman, there is One. And the inside of the spaceship has a silence so loud it bangs upon the eardrums a tune that says: Alone Alone Alone Alone Alone Alone Alone, to the tune of the heartbeat. Turn your head this way and that, and find the spot that turns off the sound, brief respite you’ll cover up with alcohol, silly inane tv shows, work, or long walks in the atrium side of your ship.

The thing about being alone is people are afraid of the vastness of it, or ashamed of it, or think that it means they are somehow Not Quite Right. But often, the Lonely choose it. Because they must. One must learn to be alone before one can learn to be, well, not alone. So while it is a choice, it also has its challenges.

Earth is noisy, and Lonely Woman recoils, retreats to the safety of the ship. Yet in space, it is not as silent as one would imagine. Though sound is not as it is on Earth. Sound in space is eerie—it is the sound of loneliness, beautiful but frightening—it is a sound that both entices and repels. You want to listen, yet you want to run away from it. (Visit this website called “Can You Actually” that has YouTube videos of the sounds of planets, including Earth.)

download (1)Turning from the window, thoughts turn to the basics: how to navigate a busy galaxy when it is but you at the helm of your spaceship? And that is what this journey will be. Effectively, or sometimes ineffectively, navigating the galaxy as One, which includes that of Home Earth. What will you eat for One? How will you repair the spaceship as One? Where are safe places to go, as One? What to do when no one has your back but you? What if you are sick? What if . . . what if . . . what if? How to . . . how to . . . how to? Why, how, when, where? Thus, yes, the name: The Lonely Woman’s Guide to the Galaxy.

I hope to help. Or at least commiserate when I cannot help. And, perhaps you out there will offer your own solutions and ideas for how you navigate the Galaxy—not just as one, but as one of the billions of shining stars out there in this Milky Way Galaxy.

And today, to speed us off on our journey, as promised, I have a give-away. While I won’t always do it this way, and it will not always be a book from me, or a book by someone else, for I would grow bored with that, I do not want to seem as if I’m ‘trolling for comments,’ which I am not; so, that written, today, since it’s the first day of our journey, I will offer a Kindle copy of one of my books to the first three commenters (your choice of books, and to do with as you will – give away or keep). If you comment and do not wish for a copy, it won’t hurt my feelings, just say so. Lonely Woman does not get her panties in a twist about such.

I hope you will join in. How ironic that this blog could very well be the loneliest of places, as well? Ha! I can navigate around that, too. Yes.

 

 

 

 

 

3 Kickarse Blogs with Links to Their Kickarse Articles: Writers Enjoy!

Amy Sue Nathan’s Women’s Fiction Writers: no heroes. no zombies. no high heels. well, maybe high heels.

Writers, Stop Apologizing For Not Being Published

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Kristen Lamb’s Blog: WANA-We Are Not Alone

What Are the REAL Odds of Success? Extreme Ownership & the Best-Selling Author

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Writer Unboxed: about the craft and business of fiction

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The Workout-Writer: Perceived weakness holding us back from our potential

11794466_10153495739099176_2740973581806587689_oWorkout:

I’ve taken up hitting the boxing bag. Not only is it an excellent cardio workout, but works/strengthens/tones the entire upper body—arms, chest, back, core. I “knee” it, too, thus adding some strengthening to my lower body. I often think of my father—he boxed while he was in the Air-Force, and while I’d never hop into the ring, it brings a connection all the same.  But what I want to talk about here today is perceived weakness that keeps us from realizing our potential, because we often don’t recognize potential when we give up too easily, especially when we feel weak and ineffective in an area.

While boxing a couple of days ago, I’d punch the hell out of the bag with my right, but the left was weak and puny. I flailed away a few times and when my left arm just wouldn’t cooperate, I gave in and punched only with my right, every so often smacking unremarkably with my left just to give the right a rest—and, because I figured I had to do it, even if it didn’t feel right.

It frustrated me, this weakness, but  the more I concentrated on the way my left fist felt when it connected to the bag— the weakness of that punch—the more I hated punching with that fist, and the weaker it felt. My workout wasn’t near as effective as it could have been, and I soon tired of it, finally moving on to something else. I came up with excuses as to why my left jab was pathetic: I’m right-hand dominate; I use my right hand much more often and it’s stronger; maybe there’s a pinched nerve on that side causing weakness, etc. and blah blah blah!

Two days later, I headed down to my workout room early, put in my earbuds to loud techno music, and slid on the gloves. Without thinking about what I was doing or how I was doing it, or why, or when, where, what, I just began punching the bejeebus out of that bag—right right right left left left right left right left right right left left left LEFT LEFT LEFT LEFT—POW BIFF BAM!

When I at last stopped, sweat pouring, I looked down in surprise at my left gloved fist, amazed at its strength and endurance. It was tingling and burning but it felt great! It felt powerful! I felt powerful and strong, and capable. I’d hit the hell out of that bag with what I thought was a useless left punch but instead was just as powerful as my right. I slid off my gloves and noted the redness and coming bruising of my knuckles and inside the soft portion between my pinky and “ring finger” and all that did was make me feel more powerful—it was visual tangible evidence of the power of my punch.

Did my arm/fist grow that much stronger over the two days since I’d last boxed? Nope. What I’d done was stepped up to the bag and without thinking about it I just began pummeling it. I didn’t think about weakness; I didn’t think about what I was doing at all. I allowed myself the freedom to find my inner strength. For whatever reason, I’d blocked myself from recognizing my potential by that perceived weakness.

Isn’t it fascinating what our minds can do? The tricks it can play on us? Sometimes, we must outsmart our own Self.

Writer:

This is often how it is with the writing. When we approach our work with our fears and wants and needs and with conditions and scads of willy nilly jumbled up over-thinking-it thoughts, we encounter perceived weakness—the words stall, the language comes stilted, the characters blink at us from the page with perplexed expressions. The writing day seems flaccid and weak—just like that perceived weak left appendage of mine. We want to give up and give in, and we at last grow frustrated and/or bored and move on to do something else.

Yet, for many of us, when we just sit down, put our fingers to the keyboard, and let fly whatever pours out of the black hole in our brain, something seemingly magical happens. We become stronger writers almost overnight—well, dang! Because imagine if we wrote without those conditions, without over-thinking, without all the “What if this isn’t right?” “What if it doesn’t sell?” “What if no one likes it?” “What if a meteor falls on top my stupid head and smushes me to kingdom come and I never finish this and someone sees it before it is finished and it sucks and that’s the legacy I leave behind—a stupid half-finished work that sucks so bad everyone laughs and taunts and points their fingers at it?” What if we instead allow our beautiful subconscious minds, those deep instinctual strengths, to rise up from a place we cannot mine by peeking in the opening—we instead sometimes must amble, explore, stumble upon. Go for it. There’s a reason the clichéd advertising phrase Just do it makes sense—because it does work.

Wrapping it up now, y'all

Wrapping it up now, y’all

So.

As I box, I will gain in confidence. I will become even stronger, yes, but I will also become better at the control of my body and what it can do. And as I grow stronger and better and more confident, I’ll start critiquing my form, how I’m hitting that bag, how my stance is—I’ll be “editing” my workout. So it is with the writing. I lift up my head and there will be a completed terrible (or not so terrible!) first draft—then the work of editing begins where I critique my form, check my stance, work on fine-tuning. I’ve done it with novels and other works that have gone on to be published—five, six, or more, times. What’s stopping me now? Perceived weakness, over-thinking, fear, conditions.

Stride into your writing room just as you will the workout room and instead of letting the world in, instead of telling yourself you are weak and can’t do it right, march in and just start punching (tippity tapping on the keys) away until you feel strong and confident and know nothing can stop you now.

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three set_edited-best_edited-11743500_553542498076585_1943216434_nIf you all haven’t gone on over and checked out kat magendie novels that are on Kindle sale, and haven’t read any or some of my books, I hope you’ll go on over and give them a try. I as always am appreciative and grateful for my readers—thank you all for your support. It’s all for you. The link above should take you to a page that should list all my books and stories, and you can see the ones on sale. As well, I’m going to soon have a promo on my 1461250_496657083765127_1387255473_nshort stories, offering a few for free—since I rarely mention them and often forget them, they kind of sit there like little lost waywards, and I’m so proud of the artwork!TG audio

Now get to work(out)!

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Touty mention of the day:

Head over to the Word Shark – Karen R. Sanderson’s Blog– Right now she has a guest there who does some amazing metal artkaren-sanderson-word-shark-blog-graphic

Karen R. Sanderson was raised by a mother who wanted to be an English teacher and who worked for Merriam-Webster as a proofreader and an aunt who could complete the Sunday New York Times crossword in a day. Their favorite expression was, “Look it up!” Karen reads punctuation and grammar manuals for fun.

Karen is an editor and proofreader, blogger, and writer. She edits fiction and non-fiction including: sci-fi, fantasy, children’s, mystery, paranormal, western, horror, historical, literary, and journalism. Karen completed her writing coursework through UCLA, the University of New Mexico, and Santa Fe Community College. She was the winner of the SouthWest Writers 2009 Writing Contest – The Best Hook. Her short stories have been featured in The Rose & Thorn Journal, Every Child is Entitled to Innocence anthology, Valley Living Magazine, BewilderingStories.com, and WritingRaw.com. She is currently working on collections of short stories and poetry.

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Reviews are none of my business. They are the reader’s business, and their right. My readers can do no wrong.

photoAuthor writes book. Book is published. Book is read. Book is reviewed. Author reads reviews. Author is happy to see some great reviews. Author is devastated to see the bad reviews. Author begins to stew on those bad reviews. Author cannot think of anything but those bad reviews.

In the extreme, the author may comment back to the reader, telling her just how wrong she is to feel the way she feels about the book. Another author quietly sits, reading and re-reading the bad review—looking for a message, a theme, something-anything- that will tell them just where they went wrong and how they can fix it so they never have to feel this way again. And there is the author who laments on social networking how much a review has hurt him, made him feel small, made him question what he is doing and why, and will everyone hurry over and write a good review, and maybe even tell the bad reviewer how they suck for their opinion?–>(Oh, please do not do this, author!)

Author begins to lose sight of just how much it is really none of the author’s business what someone writes about their personal experiences of reading a book.

51dZqZYheqL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_I stopped reading reviews a long time ago—right after my first book (Tender Graces) came out. Oh, I was reveling in the great 5-star reviews! I was feeling on top of the world when suddenly there amongst those 5-star reviews appeared a 2-star. Oomph! Kicked in the stomach feeling, a sickening crash—dark clouds amass, the world is coming to an end! Or wait a minute. Why would I not expect that to happen? Of course it must happen! I made a decision right there not to read that review or any other future reviews, good or bad, hightailed it out of Amazon, and never looked back.

Because it’s none of my business what a reader writes in a review of my book.

I went back to work. With each new book, I kept my promise to myself not to read reviews, and it has served me well. Kept my sanity—well, most of it. Being an author isn’t the easiest thing as it is—we worry about a lot of Stuff. A whole lot of Stuff. Massive amounts of not so crazy along with really stunningly crazy Stuff. Any Stuff that I can toss out of my worry barrel (I started to write “jar” but we all know it’s a gigantic barrel) is one fewer thing to obsess over. Right? Right! Especially if it is not in my control.

If it is not in our control, why are we still trying to control the uncontrollable?

Some will say we authors must read reviews to learn something about ourselves and our books, but I personally disagree. The review is not for the writer, bmarm bakeryut instead for the reader. If a book is good it will have good reviews, and it will have bad reviews. It will be hated by some readers and it will be loved by others. But guess what? If a book is badly written it will have good reviews and it will have bad reviews. It will be loved and it will be hated. One reader’s filet mignon is another reader’s can of dog food. We cannot all have the same tastes and likes and dislikes. Opinions are what make this world so interesting. Opinions and variations of character and thought and being sparks discussion and lively debate. It’s why there are so many books out there in so many different genres or even the same genre but with different stories and characters and thought and action and place and time and circumstance–so many people with so many different brains to stimulate to please or not to please, whatever the case may be.

We authors need to get out of the way of the readers’ opinions.

Really, an author who cannot handle the really bad review should never go look. It’s personal, but not Personal in the way some authors may experience it. It’s personal to the reader and how the book makes her feel, or how the book makes him experience what is happening in that created world.

The review has nothing to do with Me The Author.

Me The Author is not important. We may think we are, but we are not important at all. When a reader reads our words, they should not be thinking of the author. When they put down the book, then perhaps we come to their mind, we hope fondly; yet, even then, we are an amalgam of the words and characters and language and world we created, along with what the reader imagines us to be. We are not who we think we are to the reader, and that can be a beautiful thing to consider, no matter the outcome. We have reached out and touched another living being, even if they skewer us and grill us to a crusted crisp.

DSC09985My readers can do no wrong.

Readers do not recognize their power—they don’t realize how much we authors really do want to hear from them when they are touched by or enjoy our work. However, if a reader does not like one (or more) of my books, or maybe even hates hates HATES my work, why would I be angry with that reader? They have a right to love or not to love or even to detest my work. They have a right to kiss my book and lovingly set it in a place of honor on their bookshelf, or beside their bed where they can read it again and maybe again.  And, yes,  they have a right to throw my book across the room and scream that it is the biggest pile of dogshit they’ve ever read in their entire lives and they’ll never pick up another of my books again!

When I write a book, my thoughts are on my reader—will she enjoy it? Will he love my words? Will they be swept away by my characters’ stories? I want to please my reader. I want to make them happy. I want them to love me, because I love them. But I can’t write to please everyone—you do know that is impossible, right? To please everyone? Sure, some books are written that go on to make a gazillion bucks, but go to Amazon and look up a very popular book that’s making millions and there you will find readers who think that book sucks, and sucks so bad that they poured gasoline on it and set it on fire then pee’d on it to stop the flames and then stomped on it with dog-crap covered boots then swept up the nasty pile and buried it fifty feet underground where they never have to be reminded how they’ll never get the time back they wasted on that book!

I will always write with all my heart, everything I have, give readers all I got. I will send out my words and hope for the best. It is my gift to my readers. It is a hope to reach other readers. And no matter how they receive that gift, it is their right to express themselves however they want to without my interference.

It is wrong wrong wrong to make readers feel bad for their opinion.

It is not cool at all to correct them for their “wrongness.” It is uncool to try to sway the reader to change their mind and thus change their review. It super uncool to make them feel guilty enough to take down the review. It is super duper uncool and demeaning to the author profession to tell other readers to go defend that author and their work and make sure to tell that bad reviewer how they mightily suck–ATTACK!—-> (No no no do not do this, Author, please do not).

Our characters and words are no longer all ours once we send them out into the world—they are then everyone else’s. And that means sometimes the characters and words will be cherished and loved, and sometimes they will not and will not so bad that there are scorch marks left on the pages.

Welp, suck it up, Author, or get out of the way. 

DSC_0174I get out of the way. I’ve never had readers send me “bad” mail. I’ve never had any reader treat me terribly. I’ve never been attacked by readers. I’ve had very positive experiences. Perhaps there are some reviews on my books that spit in my eye, but why would I care to know about it? That reader will likely not read me again and will find someone else who more fits them. I cannot capture everyone in my literary net and force them or guilt them into loving me. And I should not morph myself into some kind of Every Reader Pleaser.

So you readers out there—I adore you. No matter what. You can do no wrong. Even if you throw my book out the window and vow never to read my words again, you are still required–you are needed–you are wanted. And for those of you who have loved and then hated and then loved me again—thanks for sticking around! For those of you, dear readers, who love all of my work: Why, thank you! I love you, too, and I’m sure I’ll disappoint you at some point—ha! But it won’t be because I give up–I promise to do my very very honest honorable hard-working sincerest best, and that’s all I can do.

So, readers—go on out there and write your reviews! Write your best; write your worst! Just keep reading us. Just keep trying us out. Just keep us alive with your attention. Without you, readers, we are Nothing. N-o-t-h-i-n-g. That’s the truth. You will never do any wrong. The power is in your hands. I hope you will use it wisely and well. Meanwhile, I’ll get back to work and stay out of your way.

Monday Classroom: Dangling Participles . . . dang I’ma gonna ‘splain it like this:

DSC_0174In my Monday Classroom Series, I rarely explain “grammar stuff” by explaining it too technically—you know why? Because I cannot be too technical since for me it’s mostly become the instinctual. Oh, I had horrid grammar for many years, and the comma drove me to distraction. But when I became an editor for Rose & Thorn years ago, I learned on the job what it meant to be a better editor. I not only noticed things in the structure and tone and cadence of the story, but also by how grammar was used as a tool either to ignore the rule or to enhance by breaking the rule. In the process, the story shone brighter. It’s all about CONTROL. Know what is right, apply it where necessary, and then break those rules when creativity asks for it: with CONTROL.

Grammar may be one of those things you “get” or one of those things that makes you want to pull out your hair and run screaming into the streets. For me, things began to click when I related them to my writing (or the writer’s story I edited) in a tangible way. What I will try to do here is to explain things in a way with the hope my explanations will make it easier for you to apply the rules, or break them effectively, in your writing, even if you don’t exactly know the whys or deep grammatical explanations.

If you want a more technical explanation, there’s always Grammar Girl

We know what Dangling means; that’s easy. But what in tarnation is a Dangling Participle? A Dangling Participle will have an “ING” word in a phrase that usually precedes a sentence, which modifies the wrong noun/subject.

ING words are sneaky! I often do a “find/search” of my first draft for ING words just to see how I’ve slipped up. First off, many times I find that instead of an ING word, I could/should use ED (or some sister/brother of ED)—go into your manuscript/story and look at some ING words. Now, change ING to ED (and you may or may not need to fiddle-dee-dee with the sentence a bit) and then read it aloud. Huh? Huh? Yeah? See? The more I am instinctually aware, the less I worry I’ll miss something; however, when I do a search, I’m always surprised at what I miss.

Today, let’s look at those ING words as Dangling Participles—dangling ING words in phrases.

Dangling Participles “attach themselves” to the wrong subject, and make the sentence, the scene, sound a bit ridiculous or implausible.

Example:

10305604_10152463711914176_2993508658427162551_n Drinking her coffee, Mary told John to stop drumming his fingers on the table.

Now, imagine that scene above—don’t just nod your head about it, really picture that scene as if it’s a movie scene or happening right in front of you:

Mary is drinking her coffee, so how can she talk to John with a mouthful of coffee?

Sure, we all know what the sentence means; but if you picture that scene, it does not work. I could explain things in a “Grammarish” kind of way about modifiers and nouns and who or what is carrying out the action and blah blah blah, but if the whys confuse you, I want you to see the results to strengthen your scene and not necessarily the grammar whys.

And in the case of the Dangling Participle, I am not so much worried about you remembering the Term, but instead remembering that ING word there in the beginning phrase that knocks the scene all wonkity.  And you can do that by imagining the scene you are writing as if it is happening in front of you or in a movie scene—yeah, I stuck lots-o ING words right there in this paragraph, didn’t I? Ha! But they ain’t a-danglin.

So, in my example: Mary can’t talk and drink her coffee at the same time. Something doesn’t jive here. Let Mary finish her gulp of coffee and then she can tell John to stop his drumming before she goes mad mad MAD with it! (For me, it’s whistling – dang if I don’t hate whistling!)

Running to her car, Debbie revved the motor and raced away.

I’m still imagining Debbie in a full-out run to the car, and then whammalammadingdong I have to adjust my thinking. No, wait! She’s in the car and driving away! This scene is awkward.

Because grammar is so AWESOME in this way, sometimes those ING words can work as beginning phrases.

well, sheee'it

well, sheee’it

Standing in the doorway, George was knocked to the floor by a large angry ape.

Do you see the difference? George is standing in the doorway when BA-BAM! A big ole ape slams into him. George is the focus here—George standing in the doorway is the focus. The ape comes out of nowhere and knocks George down. I can see the scene even if it could be rewritten to be more efficient.

I’m being simplistic here, and my examples aren’t meant to be perfect. What I want here is for you to picture the scene and in picturing the scene understand the effect on your manuscript/scene.

Typing her examples, Kathryn hoped everyone would understand.

Works for me! Kathryn is typing her examples with the hope that you all will understand. Is the sentence strong and lovely? I dunno. But I can picture the scene just fine. Kathryn typed examples. Kathryn hoped everyone understood. She did and can do both at the same time. Now if Kathryn did this:

Typing her examples, Kathryn ate her scone.

Nope, I’m typing so it would be hard to eat my delicious cranberry orange scone (dang! Wish I had one right now!). Unless I jammed my face on my plate and ate like a dawg—and I probably have done just that, haw!

There are great beautiful perfect grammatical explanations for all this, and any google of “dangling participles” and “participles” will give you clear instruction (like Grammar Girl link above).

Find a way to internalize the explanations so that they become clear to you in a tangible way. If you can relate something to your own experience, it’s easier to understand. If you can imagine your scenes as if watching a movie or as if it is happening right in front of you, then perhaps applying correct grammar, or breaking the rule, will give you much more control. So think about your scenes in another way, and in the process, gain an understanding of sentence structure and how it can make your work weaker or stronger.

Now, go WRITE!

 

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Touty Plug of the day: I don’t feel like being touty. I will only say that if you want a new book to read, then perhaps consider one of mine. You can pick out all my grammatical mistakes–particularly in the first books–and sneeringly sneerificate at me *laugh!* I have a website kathrynmagendie.com and an Amazon Page and my books are available wherever books are sold–and if they aren’t there, then they can be ordered. As always, your support is needed and appreciated and never forgotten. It’s all for you, this crazy writing life: You–dear Readers.

Monday Classroom: The Comma (sending us into comas) . . . .

. Write write write! write with abandon; edit with a keen critical eye!

. Write write write! write with abandon; edit with a keen critical eye!

Commas, those squiggly little cuties, cause more torn out hair and gnashed teeth.  I’m not the perfect Comma Momma (teeheehee), so I do invite you to use the links below to learn allllllllll about those tiny little trouble-makers–particularly The Comma Splice, for which I do not talk about here, but if I did I would, have an example right here–see what I did? I put a comma between would and have that does not belong because it breaks up the sentence when it should not: the heinous comma splice. Really, there is simply too much information about that little teeny bitty itty squiggle than I can place here in one post without tearing out my own hair. In fact, that teeny bitty itty squiggle’s size is deceiving, for it makes Big Arse Trouble for so many out there, and not only writers.

Thing is, folks, it really is not so difficult once you Pay Attention to what you are writing and how the sentence “flows” and the rhythm of your words/sentence. I’ve written those two words before: Pay Attention. Because when you do, you learn. As I write this post, I am using commas without thinking about it. If I this were my novel, I may go in and remove some of my commas, just to make sure everything sings along musically to where there are not a lot of choppy sentences that leave the reader’s brain squeezing. Ungh. Squeezed brains hurrrrt. When you Pay Attention, you begin to see how the comma interacts with your work. How the comma sets things off. How the comma groups things together and separates them. How it considers the natural pause—where you take that bit of a hitch of a breath after an introductory phrase.

Once you have a basic idea/knowledge of comma use, feel free to play around with it.

Sometimes I leave them out because I want to keep the sentence moving along without any pauses as if one is talking all at once and does not pause even to take a breath because they are in OMG OMG OMG mode *gasp for air* . . . folks, use this sparingly or else your readers’ eyes may fall out and follow someone to the door, and in fact, their eyes may not return for many a week because you simply exhausted them and they needed a long long vacation and I think I am doing it again, oh dear! *Eyes falling out of my head and traveling to the door, suitcase in hand (hands? Do eyes have hands? Well, if we’re giving them a suitcase, guess they best. Yes, I am talking about when people write “his/her eyes followed him/her” etc etc – the disembodied body parts – a post for another day).*

Consider the sentence below as an example of a pause.

Introduction: Once you have a basic idea/knowledge of comma use (a natural pause) feel free to play around it.

Now read that sentence aloud with and without the comma and decide for yourself what happens:

Once you have a basic idea/knowledge of comma use feel free to play around it—does saying this aloud without a pause make you feel rushed or a bit breathless?

Once you have a basic idea/knowledge of comma use, feel free to play around it—does the natural pause here give you a chance to hitch in a breath?

If you think, “Well I like both ways.” Fine, go ye to write it how it works for you! In fact, when I’m reading something that doesn’t have commas where I like them to be, I insert them myself. Yeah! I do! Ha! You can’t escape my Comma-ndo!

Though, again, there are times I leave out commas because I want the sentence to move along without a pause. I don’t want the sentence to be broken up or choppy. But when I catch myself pausing after that “introduction,” I add a comma. Because. “Because whyyyyy, Kat?” Because I said so, that’s why.

The comma separates incomplete sentences—another form of a “pause” – like a parentheses.

Kathryn has, and always has had, a tiny pea-head. Kathryn has (pause to say/qualify: and always will have) a tiny pea-head.

Kathryn has—that’s an incomplete sentence that is separated by “and always has had” and then another incomplete sentence “a tiny pea-head” – I paused in the middle of those two phrases to tell you something else. I used commas to pause. Bless my wittle tiny pea-headed brain.

What you don’t want to do is to stick commas everywhere willy nilly. Those commas, small as they may be, will chop up your sentence and make them read stoooopid. Do you want choppy stoooopid sentences? Of course not! I’d rather see fewer commas than a litter of them crawling around all over the page mewling and making a mess all over creation. Listen to the rhythm of your words/the language. Listen for those pauses. Those parenthetical pauses. Those introductory phrases that then lead to a little hitch of breath before going on to the next part of the sentence. That’s where the comma goes.

Commas as lists or grouper-togetherers:

I like cornbread, cookies, beans and ice cream. But I do not like this sentence—ewwww! (Intro)If you want beans in your ice-cream, (pause/hitch breath) go right ahead.

But I do like the serial—not cereal—comma. Although wouldn’t that be cute? A bowlful of punctuation-shaped cereal for grammarians/writers? Haw! *Kat considers giving up novel-writing to create a Punctuation Cereal and becoming a millionaire* Anyway, *back to reality, Kat* the serial comma makes sense in the world of grouper-togetherers.

I like cornbread, cookies, beans, and ice cream.

See how each list of food has its own place in the sentence world?

I like cornbread. I like cookies. I like beans. I like ice cream.

is not:

I like cornbread. I like cookies. I like beans and ice cream. Ewwwwww!

I can also do a grouping, thusly,

I like cornbread and beans, cookies and ice cream, and serial commas. Teehee.

Notice above how each little family of words has their own little neat home to live in. Their own little grouping. The items that go together are placed together. Those that do not go together are separated by commas.

Clear as the mud on the bottom of your boot, ain’t it? Or maybe you are beginning to understand. Maybe I am a Geeeeenius at explaining the teeny tiny wittle squiggly and suddenly the clouds are clearing and you shout EUREKA! and you name your dog after me or something. *Kat has dreamy expression thinking of puppies running around named “Kat” because that sounds contradictory and funny haw haw haw—at least to her pea-headed brain—stop judging me!*

Look folks, here’s the thing: commas are irritating little shitters and they always will be. I mean, geeeezzzz, I have a headache just trying to explain them. And even as I type these words, I know I will miss one, or I’ll place one in the wrong spot. I’ll be in a hurry and someone out there will gloat and scream how I messed up. Ungh!  I’ll go back and read this and think, “This could be better.” But isn’t that the Thang about writing? How we always should be growing and learning. How we should think: “This could be better,” and then we make it better—until it is Done, for at some point we must be Done, right?

Below are some grammar sites that talk about the comma and may be a better help to you than my pea-headed self. I invite you to visit and then study them. Pay Attention. When your AHA! moment comes, you may then begin to manipulate the language with Knowledge, and folks, that’s when the real fun begins.

This first one has whole-lotto comma madness—lawd!

Guide to Grammar & writing

Grammar Girl

(this is a repost!)

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1461250_496657083765127_1387255473_nTouty Plug of the day: The Lightning Charmer
The spell was cast when they were children. That bond cannot be broken. In the deep hollows and high ridges of the ancient Appalachian Mountains, a legacy of stunning magic will change their lives forever. 

Laura is caught between the modern and the mystical, struggling to lead a normal life in New York despite a powerful psychic connection to her childhood home in North Carolina—and to the mysterious stranger who calls her name. She’s a synesthete—someone who mentally “sees” and “tastes” splashes of color connected to people, emotions, and things. She’s struggled against the distracting ability all her life; now the effects have grown stronger. She returns home to the mountains, desperate to resolve the obsessive pull of their mysteries.

But life in her mountain community is far from peaceful. An arsonist has the town on edge, and she discovers Ayron, scarred and tormented, an irresistible recluse who rarely leaves the forest. As her childhood memories of him surface, the façade of her ordinary world begins to fade. The knots she’s tied around her heart and her beliefs start unraveling. Ayron has never forgotten her or the meaning of their astonishing bond. If his kind is to survive in modern times, he and Laura must face the consequences of falling in love.

Pain and Me . . . .

 

What goes on behind the eyes of a woman?

What goes on behind the eyes of a woman in the dark of night when the pain becomes a lover?

In nights of physical pain, I lift from my body, hover above, and watch my weakness with disdain. I dream without sleeping, float in a sea of nerve endings glowing red. I write beautiful words in the dark; they are slender threads of silver and gold, pulsing with meaning and truth. Pain purifies thoughts, sharpens the senses. In the night hours, I pity the part of me who  demands attention to the fiery current racing down my spine and legs. I toss, turn, and wish it would stop. I argue my case, and pain argues back its own. One night, Pain opened up to me and said, “At times, I’d rather be called something else, like beauty, or hope, or joy. Do you think it’s easy being hated and feared? I do my job and that is what I do. Who told you life is lived without pain?” I answered, “Do your worst! I am strong!” And I lay there, and I felt Pain, and thought, who would I be without Pain? It’s become a part of me, attached to me as if an extra body part. It’s mine. And I can take it. I am strong.

 
Photos-Video: No Words (and a link to interview)In the quiet dark, I think how one day I will be a very old woman. I’ll walk crooked to the coffee pot, pour a cup, and holding the cup with trembled hands, I’ll shuffle to the porch, carefully sit in my rocker, pull a throw over my knees, and rock rock and think about pain and me and how we had a long good life together. I’ll wonder, did pain take away or did pain give insight, and empathy? I will drink every bit of my strong black coffee and I’ll be grateful for its taste and heat, and I’ll say, “Come on pain, today we will write, and then we will rock some more, and then we will read, and then we will rock some more. Life is good.” And it won’t seem but a minute that I am on Earth, just a minute. Just a minute. A minute. Minute.

 

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1964980_10152466287074176_8369086502746553258_nTouty plug of the day:

I have noticed that my Graces Series books are fluctuating “on sale” on Amazon Kindle, at least two (Secret Graces and Family Graces) are right now under $5, with Tender Graces being under $8, so, I hope you will check them out while they are on sale.

My brother composed some music for the final book in the Graces Trilogy: Family Graces-remaining at a five-star review, though not as many reviews as Amazon would like, I’m sure *laugh.* I’m proud of the Virginia Kate Sagas, and VK will remain one of my all-time favorite characters, ever. I loved writing these books. Tender Graces (A gentle yet unflinching look at how we find our way home) was my first published novel. That was when anything at all was possible – and it still is. There are always possibilities. Tender Graces was nominated for an award, has been on the Amazon best-seller lists, and even was No 1 on Amazon over The Help, which at the time was a big best seller, and TG remains at a near perfect almost five-star review status, as does the other two Graces books. But all that is just Stuff – the writing of these Graces books were magic times for me.

There’s not much to this video because I just wanted my brother to know I respected the time he took to compose this music. Thank you, bro.

He took this music and renamed it “Ghost Horse Mountain” and developed a cd around it, called Ghost Horse Mountain. My brother never gives up on his dream – ever. I have to give him that. He’s his own unique brain – hey! I meant to write “brand” but that, too *laugh*

Now go after your dream – no matter where it leads you, it will be a journey you’ll never regret.

Monday Classroom: Picky part two, but I am right because I say so

10398086_10152474576124176_3232207411175342070_nSome things bother me that do not bother other people at all. But I am right. (*laughing*)

These things stick in my craw and I have to dislodge them. I only wish I could go back to my previously published works, before I knew better, to eradicate the picky sh*t I am now picky over. Sometimes things do still sneak in, because they are so ingrained into our speech. Such as:

She found herself in the bedroom. She did? That sounds like some sci-fi novel/movie or something. You mean she went into the bedroom and there was another version of her? A clone? How fascinating that she could actually, literally, find herself in her bedroom! That would freak me out. I don’t want any more Me’s running around. Huhn. One of me is enough–just ask those who put up with me.

And speaking of “literally.” If I say, “I literally typed my fingers to the bones!” Then one would expect to see my wittle hands sprouting nubs with skeletal protrusions. No, I figuratively typed my fingers to bones, perhaps, but never literally—though sometimes I do worry this nub-state shall occur.

He woke that morning with a smile on his face. Well, where else would a smile be? On his butt? The only place we have a smile is on our face, so we can strike out three words from our manuscript (or anywhere else) by writing/saying: He woke that morning with a smile. We can also wonder what he’s smiling about. If he’s your partner/spouse, then maybe you should worry, hmmm. Just what, or who, was he dreaming of? Hmmmmm. Of course he was dreaming of you–of course.

She thought to herself, why is Steven smiling this morning? Is he thinking of that redhead in the coffee shop? Why, I oughta . . . . Who else would she think to? She can only think to herself, unless you are writing about mind-readers. Thinking to oneself is understood. If you are writing in third person limited (and of course in first person), then the narrative is understood to be her inner thoughts. If you strike out the “she thought to herself” or if you don’t want to strike out the entire thing, then at least strike out “to herself” then you’d be rid of a few more words to allow yourself to write in good ole words! Booyah!

I like my ellipses to have three spaces . . . like that. Notice as well that there is a space before and after . . . see? If there aren’t spaces…then I feel things are too crowded…stop, I need space . . . thank you. At first, when my editor corrected a previous manuscript for one of my novels, I did not like the extra ‘dot’ at the end of a sentence with ellipses. I fought it, if only in my pea-headed brain. Until one day it made perfect sense. When you consider that the ellipses are meant to stand in for a word or phrase, the rest of the sentence implying whatever or trailing off or etc etc, then at the end of that sentence there is always punctuation. So . . . .

Long Live The Oxford Comma! The serial comma. You won’t take it away from me! I love boots, kittens, and cheesecake. Why would I ever write: I love boots, kittens and cheesecake. Unless I do like kitten cheesecake, or there is some other reason to “group” the kittens and cheesecake as one entity or one grouping. Try it by saying it with a pause: I love boots (comma/pause) kittens (comma/pause) and cheesecake. Now the other way: I love boots (comma/pause) kittens and cheesecake. Ungh! Second way bugs me. Ungh!

Go to town and buy a hat and scarf, a car and truck, and a wrench and screwdriver. See how I grouped things that related and then separated them by the serial comma? Or: I like dolphins, cars and trucks–I grouped the cars and trucks because they can be grouped together as vehicles, but the dolphin remains its own thang. Or: I dislike cauliflower, perfume, and green-tea–all three separate things, but I could write: I dislike cauliflower and broccoli, perfume, and green-tea.

Clear as smudged up glass on a frosty morning? Just think of it like this: I see commas as two things: pauses and grouper-togetherers.

I think I will wait and write up a post just on The Comma. It seems this is a passionate debate, but as I wrote above: I am right. *haw!*

A final thought: things never flood my mind. I understand the concept, but for some reason it plucks at my nerve-strings. Perhaps because it’s used so much? I dunno. I don’t try to understand all my pickyisms; I only go with my flow, y’all.

What bothers you in your manuscript that you must try to eradicate? 

(pardon my repost from a few years ago – dang me)

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Secret%20Graces%202012%20-%20screenTouty plug of the day: Secret Graces, the second book in the Virginia Kate Sages of The Graces trilogy. This is my most forgotten book of the five (and one novella) I have had published through Bell Bridge books. It was completed back when my stepdad and my brother were both in the hospital having had heart attacks within a week or two of each other. A difficult time to finish and then talk about a novel! I always wanted to step back in time and look at it again, but I have a rule: never look back; it is what it is. There was always the joke about the “Log Girl” cover- many people, me included, did not like “Log Girl” because she didn’t really fit.  And we had a big debate for a while there as to whether that was a cat or a possum *laughing!* The cover was slightly altered from an earlier version (the earlier is in the video below), to better match the other two covers, but Log Girl remained, and always will I reckon.

Readers met the incredible Carey women in Tender Graces – Now the story continues . . .

“Vee” is idealistic and naïve despite the witness she has served to the fractured heritage of her parents’ and grandmother’s dreams. Vee continues her journey toward wisdom, building small bridges over the chasms of hurt and longing. The inspiration of hope lingers in her. Tender Graces and now, Secret Graces, explores three women’s lives: Daughter, Mother, Grandmother, and passes through the fulcrum of Virginia Kate’s emerging life as a lover and mother and storyteller, chronicling the heart ache and hope of her family and herself.

In Tender Graces, readers laughed and cried as they watched Virginia Kate Carey grow up with her West Virginia family, as loving as it was dysfunctional. Now author Kathryn Magendie explores the adult years of Virginia Kate’s life in the sequel, SECRET GRACES, revealing more of her relationship with her fascinating but flawed parents; her quirky friends, Jade and Miss Darla; her beloved stepmother, Rebekha, her unpredictable brothers, Micah, Andy, and Bobby; and, most of all, Virginia Kate’s journey into romance and marriage. Along the way, the old familiar ghosts follow Virginia Kate offering advice, and warning. In Secret Graces, we left an undecided Virginia Kate in the beautiful but haunted Appalachian holler of her childhood—will Virginia Kate stay, or will she go back to Louisiana? Find out in the next “The Graces” Saga: Family Graces.