Monday, October 31, 2011 | By: Angela Brown

Fright From Within - A Halloween Tale to Learn From

"Who do you think you are?" an owl hoots.
"No one cares about what you write, what you say or what's on your mind.  Why bother blogging or wasting your time with that stupid writing?" shrieks a banshee.
"No one - wait, I didn't say that strong enough - NO ONE will read what you write.  You are not JK Rowling and I can't believe you're trying to mash Stephenie Meyer and Rick Riordan.  How stupid are you?  Really?" mocks a jaded phantom.
"You can't seriously be considering self-publishing?  You can't draw stick figures right and editors are too expensive.  Can't happen.  Just can't," says a ghastly being anxious to hammer away at the existence of my dreams.  Before awakening, the being fades to the fringes of my mind, but I shudder at how much it looks like me.

This Halloween, I wanted to share with you the most frightening place I know.  It is the Fright From Within.

Welcome to Door E.  I call it the Embodiment of doubt.  It manifests itself and sometimes sends it's ghostly minions slithering beneath it's triple-steel, quadruple locked door, torturing my mind with its brash taunts, ridicules of my dreams and blatant kicks when I'm clearly feeling down.  It makes Mommy Dearest look like the Fairy Godmother. Sometimes, my mind messes up the following message:
"I want to talk to Rox and Doree today," somehow turning it into, "I want to unlock Door E today."  Don't ask me how the message get's jacked up, but it does, and this is my reaction:

Not good.

But I've gotten better at transitioning from that to this:
Yes, it is the Embodiment of Humor, a smile, a realization that self-deprecation is NOT a good thing.  When I get a giggle in, I start to Embrace the Dream, wipe some of the footprints left behind by the wiles of Self-Doubt and give My Dream a good look.  It takes a moment, but soon that idea for a new blog post doesn't seem so silly and that new chapter for the story reads better without the winds of Doubt howling in my ears.  I remember that I'm not Stephenie, Rick or Surely (Madagascar II fans probably got that along with the original source).  I'm me.  A writer, a reader and someone with a dream.  My path may not be the easiest and my way may not be clearly marked with neon arrows telling me exactly which way to go.  But all of this Self-Edification drives the Fiends of Doubt back behind Door E.

Of course, such an event calls for a heart to heart with management for letting them out in the first place.  Have to go over that whole Pandora analogy.

So this Halloween, while vampires, ghouls, witches and zombies are all the rage, try to keep a good eye on the Fright that lies within.  It's a fiend that will go bump in the daytime as well as at night.  It will try to stop you from publishing that book, or seeking representation for that story or researching for that book that doesn't seem to have many writers addressing that niche.  It's one of those things that doesn't want to stop.  What are your thoughts about the Fright from within?
Friday, October 28, 2011 | By: Angela Brown

Where do Writers Rule?

Everywhere!  Of course.  Didn't you know that?
Far beyond our little ball of revolving rock called Earth, there just may be some alien writers whose great works of alien scrawling will make it to Earth of 2060 and be considered all the rage here but very old and classic in their home world.

Suffice it to say I'm glad and feeling the love with some great things happening this week for some writers I adore, follow or just outright enjoy.

Maria Zannini has Chain of Souls, indie published and yes, I have mine so it's time to get yours.  What are you waiting for?  Mike at Record of a baffled spirit did a clever plug for her story.  Check it out here.

Leigh Fallon, author of Carrier of the Mark, mentioned her Ireland and Australia release this week.  It's already available here in the US.  I've heard great things about this YA novel so it is definitely a must-get-soon.

Elana Johnson, author of the popular YA dystopian novel, Possession, revealed her cover for her second novel Surrender.

I met blogger, LadyJai, as part of this year's Writers Platform Building Campaign.  She announced her first publishing offer for flash fiction.  This story is even more potent because her triumph was over the self doubt and fear we all encounter when we put ourselves out there for consideration by some stranger to like, love or dislike something we slaved over.  Check her post here as she puts it better than I ever could.  Congrats to you!  I'm so excited and I can't wait to hear of more on the publishing front.

I also want to share about a blog that I came across because of a blogfest or because it was a link someone else recommended.  Anywho, it's SUCH a beautiful blog maintained by Olga.  She is an artiste.  A very talented one at that.  I can stop by her blog two or three times a day just to get a "revival" of the senses.  She has the most wonderful pictures that tell their own tales and countless secrets within each frame.

With the end of week wrap up, anything you'd like to mention that isn't listed here that would be great for other visitors to know about as well?  I know my post only scratched the surface of great things that happened this week so feel free to comment and share the wonderful news.
Thursday, October 27, 2011 | By: Angela Brown

Satisfying All the Pieces of ALB

ALB...that's me, Angela, Angie.  Yep.  You're at the right place...I'm sure of it.
It's time again to consider the weekend.
What?  Who?  Where?  When?  Why?  How?
What? - Catch a movie.  There's actually a good line up of break outs.
Who? - Well, I dunno really.  I suppose if you feel like living dangerously you can take your spouse and your lover.  But please don't tell them I told you to do it.  Just saying.
Where? - At a theater near you.
Why? - Just because.
How? - You're on your own.

Three movies in particular caught my eye, the first one because it has my favorite person.  Yep, you guessed it.  Johnny Depp!!!  If a typed letter could scream you'd be deaf right now :-)
Check out this trailer for The Rum Diary.

Next, who can resist Puss in Boots?  You can check him out in 2D, 3D, or IMAX.  2D will be just fine for me and the chipmunk.  Also, Antonio and Salma pair up again for this.  Desperado reunion anyone?  Sign me up!!!!
See Puss in action :-) (just as a note, this trailer mentions it opening in November but I've checked a few places and everything is pointing to this weekend.)

Last, I think the phrase "time is money" gets tossed around by many people, but this movie, well, time literally IS money.  Interesting to see how this works out with In Time.
Tick, Tock.  Bang, Bang.

There 's a bit of Renaissance magic in All's Faire in Love and some re-imagined fairy tale spinning with Sleeping Beauty.  Anonymous is also coming out.  Though I adore the intrigue of royal court scandals presented by this movie, I admit I don't really care one way or the other if Shakespeare did or did not write each and every story attributed to him.

Which makes me put this question to you guys?  Does it matter to you?  Is there a story of fiction that you would look at differently if you discovered it was penned by a ghost writer?
Wednesday, October 26, 2011 | By: Angela Brown

Make the Best Trailer and They Will Read

So last time you saw a title like this, it was for movies.  We all love movies and if you don't then, well, I mean, come on, not even Bambi, Lord of the Rings, Pride and Prejudice...Zombieland?  Maybe Shaun of the Dead?

Stop, you're making me go on a tangent trying to figure out what you might like so I'll digress.  (Sorry, moving on.)

Now, here is a chance to see how, or if, a trailer for a book can have any impact on a decision to read a book.

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Leviathan by Scott Westerfield

Possession by Elana Johnson

From watching the trailers, are you able to tell what genre it is?  Does it spark your interest?  Please share why it does or doesn't "do it" for you.  :-)  What do you think a movie trailer should encompass?  Feel free to share.  This is how we learn and pick up bits of nuggets for things that worked or things that could be improved upon.
Monday, October 24, 2011 | By: Angela Brown

Must Have Chain of Souls

Okay, you've seen where there's been a bit of a tangent when it comes to knowing exactly what I want, how to get it and the moves to make it happen.  This tangent doesn't happen often, but I had to face it and well, decided to share that tidbit with you.

NOW, we are of one accord.  Yeah, sounded really royal "we" but since I can crown myself Queen of Blog Pursuit of Publishness, that kind of works.

We MUST have Chain of Souls.  We enjoyed The Devil to Pay sooooooo much that we've been stalking harassing nagging anxiously asking Maria Zannini when she planned to let us buy the second installment of her Second Chances series.  Of course, she politely replied that she actually had to put Chain of Souls up for purchase before we could buy it, so that placated us for a while.

NOW, we MUST have our fix.  We're so thrilled this story is available.

Quick note:  For first time visitors, I tend toward YA paranormal or YA period.  However, Maria has me hooked.  Her stories are tasteful, witty and more for the grown and sexy crowd.  Angelina Rain, Cate Masters and Shelley Munro are a few other authors who immediately come to mind in this category for me.

Enough of my gushing and on to the presenting of Chain of Souls:
Available at Amazon, B&N and Smashwords
Description from Amazon:
Banished from Heaven for refusing to harvest an unwilling soul, Liam Chase drinks to forget night after night until the Angel of Death pays him a visit.

For the price of a few humans souls, Ziva promises to get him reinstated into Heaven. Liam doesn’t doubt her influence, but milking humans of their light is an unspeakable crime, punishable by eternal oblivion.

He’d rather rot on Earth than commit such a heinous sin. But the Angel of Death didn’t get where she was by taking no for an answer. Ziva is a huntress of extraordinary skill and cruelty. If he refuses, his loved ones will be her next targets. And Ziva never misses

Ziva has already set her sights on Shannon, the soul he once refused to harvest, and his beloved servant, Evie. He’ll do anything to keep them safe, even if it means his death.

But something goes wrong just as he concedes, and the chain of souls picks a new mistress before he has a chance to deliver.

Brought before the most feared angel of Heaven and Hell, Liam discovers he has failed to protect those he loves, and now they too could share his fate.
I don't know about you, but I do believe this story is calling me, whether from heaven or hell, hmmmm... I must venture a read to find out.  Wish me luck :-)

Available at Amazon, B&N and Smashwords.

By the way, I know how I feel about this cover, but I would love to get some feedback from those visiting.  What do you think?
Friday, October 21, 2011 | By: Angela Brown

Slice of Heaven

Pssst...come here.  Maybe you just shoved the clock beneath a load of laundry because the alarm worked a bit too well.  Or, you could be trying to find a way to pull through the midday-dulls.  Maybe you're eeking your way into the end of the work day.  Either way, you deserve a little slice of heaven this Friday.

So readers and writers, for just a moment, take a deep breath and enjoy this time.  It's Friday...and time for a cupcake.  Please, have one.

Best part of all, you can mingle with everyone else between bites.  While mingling, please feel free to share:  What was your favorite thing that occurred this week?

Mine?  Getting my chipmunk's progress report and she got all A's.  I even let her have a little extra ice cream after dinner.
Thursday, October 20, 2011 | By: Angela Brown

Make the Best Trailer and They Will Come

Or at least that seems to be the gist of things.  Today, I'd like to give this a try.  I'll only provide the movie trailer and the name of the movie.  In the comments, let me know which one(s) you would try to see based solely on the movie trailer.

Paranormal Activity 3

The Three Musketeers

Johnny English Reborn

You can check out The Mighty Macs and Martha Marcy May Marlene as well but I just picked three for this post.

My reactions:

Paranormal got a "Frack NO!!" before I even made it 10 seconds in.  I'm such a scaredy cat.

Aside from making me hungry for the fluffy-filled chocolate bar, I was enticed by the blades, the fights, the warriors and the things we do for love.

Johnny, well, I had to play this one a couple of times.  The first time I laughed so hard I didn't really get to watch all of it.  So if the movie gods allowed it, I'd at least have 2 shows to entertain myself.

So, what about you?
Wednesday, October 19, 2011 | By: Angela Brown

Let's Get Ready to Mindjack!!!!!!

In the blue corner, wearing an OPEN MINDS book cover - and you know how much I love a catchy book cover - is 16 year old Kira Moore, coached by her author/creator Susan Kaye Quinn.

In the red corner, wearing a baggy pair of distressed cheap jeans from some store somewhere, a T-Shirt that says "Next mood swing in 5 minutes", white crew socks and her hair tucked behind her ears is the Reader/Reviewer, Angela Brown.  She fired her coaches Me and Self for getting a bit too occupied with googling pictures of Johnny Depp, though she explains the split is only temporary.

Kira and Angela meet in the middle of the ring.  They exchange words.
Kira:  You sure you can hang?  I may be YA but I'm a paranormal/sci-fi that can jack you up.
Angela: *smirk*  Bring it on.
They touch gloves and square off.

At the sound of the bell, Kira immediately connects with a one-two combo opening, a heroine who could be tragic, someone you can't help building an attachment to because she's not like everyone else.  Then she shows a bit of her spunk and that makes Angela grin, loving her even more.  During methodical jabs and combos that keep Angela turning the pages, a hint of a love unspoken whispers.  Angela drops her guard right when Kira bends at the waist and makes a perfect uppercut connection, an explosive scene of revelation of what Kira CAN do (and it only gets better from there, folks).  Kira wins by a KNOCKOUT!

What's not to love about this book?  Spunky main character, wonderful plot,'s a roller coaster ride that any reader could enjoy again and again.

When everyone reads minds, a secret is a dangerous thing to keep.
Sixteen-year-old Kira Moore is a zero, someone who can’t read thoughts or be read by others. Zeros are outcasts who can’t be trusted, leaving her no chance with Raf, a regular mindreader and the best friend she secretly loves. When she accidentally controls Raf’s mind and nearly kills him, Kira tries to hide her frightening new ability from her family and an increasingly suspicious Raf. But lies tangle around her, and she’s dragged deep into a hidden world of mindjackers, where having to mind control everyone she loves is just the beginning of the deadly choices before her.

Open Minds (Book One of the Mindjack Trilogy) by Susan Kaye Quinn will be available in e-book (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords) and print (Amazon, Createspace)

To Susan Kaye Quinn, I salute you!

If you'd like to join in on the virtual party celebrating Susan's November 1st launch of OPEN MINDS, click here.  Spread the word.  The time is close at hand.  Mindjack is coming.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011 | By: Angela Brown

The Honor is All Mine

I know, I know...said no Tuesday posts.  Well, this one is special.

Thank you, all of you who visit, lurk, laugh, comment and pass the word about this blog.  From the first person who started following to the most recent, you've all enriched my blogging experience in your own special way.
Francesca at The Lobster Tank has given me the 7x7 link award.  Her reason is as follows:
"Angela Brown, who gave me the idea for doing ALEXITHYMIA as a webcomic."

It touched me because I was so excited by viewing her art - and I'm an anime fan - that I crossed my fingers, hoping she'd just give my suggestion consideration.  The fact that she actually did it thrilled me so much I did a happy dance.  Trust me, no one would have wanted to see it :-)

But this, to me, was what it was all about.  Bloggers, readers and writers.  A community of support.  A place to offer ideas to see good things happen for others, and believe me, I'm enjoying Francesca's webomic.

So, for this award, we're supposed to share our blog links in categories.  Let me give this a try.

Most Beautiful: Johnny Depp.  Nuff said.  Just Squint Your Eyes and the Weekend will be Here.

Most Helpful: I don't really have posts where I teach or tip about writing, maybe one or two somewhere.  I still have a lot of learning to do myself.  So my most helpful blogs lean toward keeping me grounded in my dream of being a writer...because sometimes, this journey gets really, really hard.  Can Mr. Clean's Magic Eraser Wipe Away Those Nasty Doubts?

Most Popular: Where did Rach get those words???  No, seriously, can anyone answer that question?

Most Controversial: Going on in My Shorts - Me Thinks Something a Bit Cute.  Wicked, eh? 

Most Successful: How about you, my lovely blog friends, check out my Popular posts and you tell me which one should be considered the Most Successful?

Most Underrated: Some people have this rejection thing down.  I am NOT one of those people.  So this one I thought would be higher up on the clicker. Rally after Rejection.

Most Prideworthy: The award in this link was nice, but it was the first time I really had that feeling I was beginning, really beginning to get my toe into the blogosphere.  And the ward goes to...

And I will pass this award to
Raelyn Barclay who has some of the most wonderful posts.  I've learned quite a bit keeping up with her.
I recently discovered Jess at Falling Leaflets and immediately felt at home.  Her posts overflow with helpful info every writer should know.  A definite must visit.
Christy Farmer is another blog I enjoy visiting.  She recently posted one about dealing with rejection that really touched my heart.

And now I will return you to your regularly scheduled programming :-)
Monday, October 17, 2011 | By: Angela Brown

Push it to the limit! Come on! Pump it! Pump it!

So if you're at the gym listening to the aerobics instructor say this in a shrill cheerleader cry that grates to the marrow of your bone, it may not seem as inspiring.  If I were in the class, I'd probably be in mid-grapevine over the stair-step thinking, "AARRGGH!  You're a 5-kid having freak of nature with a perfect body!!!"  Only spite would keep me going until the end.

But in writing, this cheer, this call is very needed.  As writers, we have to hone in on maximizing.  We do it a lot without really thinking about it.  When we do a rewrite after someone gives us a suggestion, we're working to increase our story's appeal, trying to make it the greatest we can possibly make it.  With so many things that are not within our control, it's nice to know that maximizing is something within our grasp.

Critique partners and beta readers are great.  Doing writing exercises to practice your writing chops is another thing.  I recently took advantage of an exercise at Unicorn Bell.  It was about senses and the use of them to pull your reader in.  Here is my assignment response.  And the moderators provided some helpful comments as well.  Following this blog has been an excellent idea.

Maximizing your time is especially necessary, since many of us aspiring writers also have full time jobs and families that make demands on us.  We must learn to use our opportunities when they arise.  I've visited a few blogs where parents have mentioned using waiting periods to do some writing, like waiting at a sports practice or going early and waiting to pick up the kiddo(s) from school.

What's something you currently do or think you can try to maximize your writing path?  Ideas are welcome.  Someone may check out a comment and realize it's a helpful tip for them in their pursuit of publishness.
Friday, October 14, 2011 | By: Angela Brown

Pay it Forward - The Problem of Loving Too Many Blogs

Okay, see if you can keep up with Me and Self :-)

Me: Yeah, so just 3 blogs to plug for today's Pay it Forward Blogfest.

Self: Cha, so which ones are YOU going to choose?

Me: *feeling quite put out* ME!!!  What?

Self: There's no way I can pick just 3!

Me: just stick ME with the hard job.  Alex and Yoda - I mean - Matt MacNish - are the ones that put this together and they are spectacu-awesome.  Should we pick them?

Self:  I dunno?  Why're you asking me?

Me: *rolls eyes heavenward*

Self: Sheesh.  Anywhatnow..

Me: Yeah, yeah, I know.  It's just...only 3?  I heart ALL my blogs.  Just want to roll them all up and give'em a big group hug.

Self: Ugh!  Focus!

Me: Sorry...okay.  Maria Zaninni is one of my faves.  She encouraged me to take the leap into blogging.

Self: So I can blame her for your new obsession?

Me: Really?  Tangent much?  Besides, you didn't blame her when you were curled up reading her book all smiles and feeling nice.  Now, get back on track.  I love Cate's SSS and 1000th.monkey does SSS as well and I love to read them every time they post.  Oh, and I love the Ninja - Ali Cross - and her dojo.  And there's Elana Johnson.  Her wit is quick and sharp. Can't forget Bookanista Christine Fonseca.  Creepy Query Girl is awesome by name alone and her blogs are always fantastic.  Zap's Lobster Tank, Write.Skate.Dream, and Writing the Other are such wonderful finds, too.  There's Nadja and Isis.  Nadja has the Ren3 piece that has my eyebrow doing that thing (hehe!)  And the recent interview at Isis's blog was so great.  E.R. King, Susan Kaye Quinn and PJ Hoover are so awesome I'd have a hard time NOT picking one of them.  Maybe a  guy blogger like David or Reece Hanzon?  What do you think?

Self: *eyes glazed over, doe in headlights, nobody's home anymore*

Me: *snaps finger*

Self: Wait, what?  Did you say something?

Me: *smirking...hard*

Self: What did I miss?

Me:  You didn't hear a word I said after I mentioned Maria's book, did you?

Self: Uhhhh...

Me: You.  Are.  Hopeless.  Look, I can't handle you right now.  Go find something to read and be happy.

Self:  That went about as well as expected :-)

So if you came here today expecting only 3, I apologize, sincerely.  We - I mean - I couldn't make up my mind.  There are so many blogs I just want to tell you to go to them all!

How did everyone else do?  Am I the only blogfest fail?  Please, this shouldn't be a reflection on this blogfest. It's just, well, the only thing I could decisively do was be indecisive.  :-(
Thursday, October 13, 2011 | By: Angela Brown

Pssst! Come here. Yeah, You.

I know, I know, I'm just messing up the rotation NOT posting about two to three movies coming out this weekend like I normally do for Thursdays.  However, I'm not too excited about the remake mania of Footloose or The Thing.  I'm not sure about bird chasers and not really feeling subtitles unless it's for an awesome anime.  So instead, I want to pose a question:

If you had three blogs to share with others, blogs that you think would be awesome to have others visit, would you tell others about them?

Well, with the Pay It Forward blogfest, you can do just that.

Check out my cool blue badge in the sidebar.  Yeah...rocking the badge :-)  Click here for info.

Honestly, I don't know what three I'm going to choose.  Since beginning my blogging journey, I've come to know some really great writers and enjoyed the heebee jeebees out of their blogs.  So look for my post for this blogfest and I look forward to checking out yours.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011 | By: Angela Brown

How Shallow and NaNoWriMo

Okay, so sue me.  Actually, don't do that.  You'll get a look at my finances and decide it may be better to give me a donation.

Here's the thing.  I don't like being shallow.  But when it comes to book covers, as much as the content makes me keep the book, the cover tends to attract me or at least cause me to take a second look.  I noticed my tastes of late had leaned more toward an eerie/Goth (Possess) feel or something simplistic and symbolic (Possession)
Here's one I heard about and have now added to my TBR:
Get the Kindle edition at Amazon
Gorgeous!  True, not for everyone.  Can't please all of the people all of the time, I suppose.  But this caught my eye.  Goodreads provides the premise:

When tragedy strikes, seventeen year-old Ashton Blake sets out on a cross-country road trip, leaving the comforts of Malibu for the mountains of Kentucky. Along the way, she encounters Gabe Willoughby—the mysterious drifter with eyes like the sea and a knowing smile. Getting to know Gabe raises questions about her past. But no secret can be buried forever, and Ashton soon finders herself in a world where water is air and myth becomes reality.

Just as Ashton comes to accept her newfound heritage, she’s summoned to fulfill a treaty laid down centuries before — a treaty that will divide her love and test her loyalty. In the end, her future isn’t her biggest concern, her humanity is. To run may mean war, but is she strong enough to stay?

On to other things that require an obsessive nature and possibly utter discontent of good hygiene if you get too carried away:  NaNoWriMo.  I avoided it.  Smiled at it and turned away.  Encouraged others who braved it.  But never partook.  I have officially signed up.  EEEK!  What have I done?

What about you?  Any thoughts regarding NaNoWriMo?  Any advice - or warning - to share with a newbie?
Tuesday, October 11, 2011 | By: Angela Brown

Tuesday Snoozeday - See, I made a Rhyme

I've found myself feeling a bit of snooze when it came to my Tuesday posts.  So last week, I didn't post on Tuesday.  It worked well, so I'll keep posting the other four weekdays.

For now, here's a fun video some of you have probably seen.  From what I can tell, no animals were harmed in the making of these clips, though I can't say the same for the humans.
Monday, October 10, 2011 | By: Angela Brown

I am no Anne Rice Taltos

So, unless you're born with all reason, height, growth and abilities of adulthood like a Taltos, I suspect you had to grow into the person you are today.  This took a few things, like embracing change and evolving.  Now, you're either a perky person with a bubbly personality or you're the one hating on the perky person.  I happen to sit square in the middle, with more leaning toward perky as wine is consumed.
Consider this same thing with your writing.  You probably didn't go to kindergarten able to completely differentiate a simile from a metaphor and apply proper analysis of the societal reflections of many of the great classics like Animal Farm or The Grapes of Wrath.  If you did.  WOW!  But I didn't.  I was happy to take my nap, learn my letters and numbers and deal with why the b and d looked too much alike.

Over time, I learned to read and embraced reading like a best friend who didn't have to go home.  My tastes changed as I changed and evolved.

As an infant, I had to crawl to get where I wanted to go.  I'm pretty sure my favorite destination entailed trying to go from the sofa to the kitchen floor where I'd been told "no" a million times.  The places I need to go these days are much farther from me, requiring that I walk or drive.  I had to learn to do both.  But it started with baby steps.

So when you're feeling like, "Frack!  It's too hard, not fair, I can't do this..." or whatever barrage of self-doubt is itching to boil over, take a moment to breathe.  Is there something different you can try?  Is there something different you want to try?  Have you truly opened your mind to new ideas or checked to see if that old idea has had time to marinate into something...more?  And take a tip from Ghandi:
Of course, to do this, you have to be willing to evolve and embrace change.

One of the things I've been slowly embracing is the way the publishing industry is changing.  What change have you embraced or are embracing?
Friday, October 7, 2011 | By: Angela Brown


This Friday, no rants about what's irking me.  Steve Jobs, apparently, did a whole lot more than I ever imagined.  However, his passing has reminded me of something important.


Existing is cool.  Subsistence keeps you among the living, but to live is something a bit more.  No, I'm not expecting to have a Steve Jobs lifestyle.  I don't have a fraction of his wealth to attempt a fraction of what he probably did.  But when I get to thinking of what I just can't do, I'll have to take a moment and realize what I CAN do and live my life to the fullest with the whole gusto of what I've been given.

So, in life, Apple came out with the Mac, iPod, iPhone, iTunes, iPad, iRidiculousness (okay, so not the last one but you catch my drift) under the helm of Steve Jobs.  His impact on this world is better described by Wil Wheaton at his blog post here.  Steve Jobs's commencement address at Stanford in 2005 (youtube) and his quotes are probably trending the search engines like wildfire.

Steve Jobs made his mark.  In his passing, he makes a final remark: Live.

He lived his about you?
Thursday, October 6, 2011 | By: Angela Brown

Darths Were Girls, Too

I usually do my hype for a  few of the movies breaking out this weekend, however, I'm curious about something. Does it really matter what costume a girl wants to wear for Halloween?  My chipmunk, all of seven years old and innocent as the day is long, is debating being either Darth Vader or Cinderella.

Talk about some differences in THOSE costumes.

But then I got to thinking, Darths were girls too.  Darth Bane's apprentice was Darth Zannah (Rain).  So do I encourage her to go with Cinderella or to briefly embrace the Sith?
She's the bad mamma jamma with the double-bladed lightsaber (source)
What about boys?  Are there costumes that are NOT right for them?

How does this fit in with writing, publishing or TV?  Well, unless you've been hunkered at the computer with no access to the internet - which is possible in many areas - you've probably heard about the LGBT debating that's going on.  There are those who believe that letting a girl dress too much like a boy or a boy dress too much like a girl will cause confusion and lead to an LGBT lifestyle.  My own beliefs aren't in alignment with that thought process but I'm not going to hate on someone who does.

But I am curious...what say you?
Wednesday, October 5, 2011 | By: Angela Brown

You Can't Keep a Good Dragon Down

Who says people who write about fantastic worlds built upon imagination, dragons with wings wide in awe-inspiring flight, witches and wizards displaying loyalty and all things in between have to be "heathens" or "paganistic"?  Well, whoever said that never read the classic and still-to-this-day heartwarming Chronicles of Narnia.

They certainly haven't Opened their Minds to the likes of Donita K. Paul.

I'm reading her book Dragonspell, a joy for YA readers who have an interest in questing with dragons.  I happened upon this book while doing a random search for YA books with dragons, something off from the Christopher Paolini or JK Rowling roads.  I came across Dragonspell and decided to give it a try.  I've enjoyed it immensely.  It has a certain amount of innocence to it and I admit I'm smitten with the MC.  Here's the short blurb from the back cover:

Once a slave, Kale is given the unexpected opportunity to become a servant to Paladin.  Yet this young girl has much to learn about the difference between slavery and service.

As a person who likes a good dragon story, I'm glad I picked this one from the bunch.

Do you know of a book or series that made you wonder why some groups, people, persons, purple aliens from outer space just couldn't keep an Open Mind?  (make a note of those last two words...they're capitalized for a reason that I'll share in a couple of weeks).
Monday, October 3, 2011 | By: Angela Brown

Double my order of Gumption, Please.

Jack Bauer has GUMPTION.  At the end of each episode, he's got a goal to attain.  That's to kill people., not exactly...that but that often happens.

There's no denying it, Jack's shrewd, has some serious initiative and is very resourceful.

Although a live-action bullet to the head isn't necessary in the literary world (pretty much guarantees either utter defeat or some of the best controversial publicity ever), writers must have this "gumption' business as well.

It takes an abundance of courage to try anything new.  The first step that usually ends in a gaggle of laughs following the inevitable tumble to the floor.  The first kiss that involves heavy breathing and the discovery that a guy can look nice in strawberry gloss, especially after such a heart-thudding way of putting it on his lips.  That first love.

When it comes to writing, you must have the gumption to take the stories in your mind and open the floodgates for those voices to become the characters they've been wanting to be so they can be shared with the world, a world full of people wishing for your success and the others ready to snicker should you fail.

It takes courage.

It takes gumption.

I see so many brave people doing brave things...and then I realize that I'm one of those people now.  I'm putting myself out there.  I'm taking chances.  Okay...scary thought.  But at the same time, exhilarating.

For the debut author able to sit down, type up the great American novel with 93,000 word count in one month with no need for rewrites, immediately loved by the entire group of agents and editors queried and published with a grand soiree for your book launch, I'm not sure I know who you are or what planet you come from.

For the rest of us, those of us writing our hearts out, loving and hating our words, tossing out the first chapter and discovering our story truly begins at chapter three, working on rewrite number four of the third manuscript...I salute you.  I want you to know that you are not alone.  Keep going, keep trying and please keep writing.  Store up gumption for those hard times, the times where it looks like things should be going well but it seems everything wants to fall apart, the times that feel like dry spells.  Be of good courage my writer friends.

To those who simply love to read, keep that gumption going too.  There are some out there who do not appreciate you, but I understand that the writer is of little good if there's no reader to devour the words.  So I salute you as well.

So to you I ask, are you that lucky devil who didn't break a sweat in the course of becoming a super-novelist?  If so, how in quill's name did you do that?  For others, this gumption it in you?