Monday, July 30, 2012

Get Up, Get Up, Get Movin'!

Well now, I just wrote an entire blog post, it froze when I tried to add an image, and then everything disappeared and the save files were blank.  That was lovely.  Grrrr.  How is your Monday going?

This one won't be half as witty as the first one, for obvious reasons.  But let's jump right back in, shall we?

I'm back from Oregon and, dismayed at the weight gain from my four day vacation (plus four days of driving to and from said vacation), I decided to look around for some exercises to do at my desk so I could also plunge right back into writing.  This is something I really should have looked up a loooooong time ago.  After all, sitting on one's booty all day can cause headaches, heart troubles, back problems, weight gain and overall ill health.  Who wants that??  None of it can be good for your creativity.

WebMD has an article on doing aerobic exercise in your office.  There are three pages to this article, and the recommended exercises range from discreet at-your-desk activities to going for a walk.  If you aren't worried about other people looking at you and thinking you're nuts, bust out some jumping jacks, run in place or pretend to jump rope.  If the whole office will gawk at you because you happen to be in an office that is not in your own home, you can tighten your abs or buttocks, hold it, release, repeat.  They also mention all sorts of exercises in between.

This article at talks about isometric exercises, which are a sight more discreet than some of the other ones mentioned.  One of the exercises simply has you grasp your hands, palms together, in front of your chest and push them together.  This gets you a nice stretch and exercises your muscles.  The rest of the exercises are similar, and all the ones I tried felt pretty darned good.

This page on has a bunch of links to articles about various desk exercises.  Some are geared toward specific parts of your body, while others are more overall varied exercises or target things like how to work on stress with activity at your desk or how to use a fitness ball.

Of course, you can also go for a walk, join a gym, dance your brains out or take the stairs/park farther away from your office.  I know a good walk is my favorite, especially late at night when I don't have to worry about other people being out and about.  It gets my creativity going, as well, maybe because I work through whatever is preying on my mind then move past it and empty everything out.  I also like to jack up the music and bust lose, which my kids are young enough to be amused by.  Give them a couple years and it will be a great source of embarrassment, at which time I will do it even more and be sure to do so in front of their friends, because...why else do we have kids but to embarrass them??  Riddle me that, Batman!

I'll see you guys Wednesday with some pictures of the Oregon coast.  In the meantime, I hope you get moving a little bit more and find an exercise you can live with doing at your desk.  I'm going to try a few things, for sure.  Time to get active!

Do you have any great exercises you do at your desk?  Any favorite ways to get yourself moving or take a break from sitting and writing? 

May you find your Muse.

*Both images courtesy of OCAL at

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Blogs with Prompts Page Fixed

~Waves from Oregon!~

Hello!  I'm not sure how long my "Blogs w/ Prompts" page was down, but I believe I've got it working again.  Sorry about that!  Hope you're having a wonderful week out there in Blog Land!

Thanks to Donna for bringing my attention to the downed page.

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday - Critters of the Royal Gorge

In a follow-up to the Gorge-ous [Mostly] Wordless Wednesday, I thought I'd post a couple of the critters I enjoyed catching a glimpse of at the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park.

We got to watch these guys while waiting to go down to the bottom of the gorge in the incline car.  There were three different throat colors on the hummingbirds (my ruby ones came out blurry).

Window shopping the nectar?

 This is a white bison!  Maybe you've heard about their sacred place in the parts of the Native American community, maybe not, but they are considered a symbol of peace.  They had three there!  And none of them were albinos (no pink eyes or nose).  I've seen my very own white bison!

As a little bonus, here's the Legend of the White Buffalo:

"One summer a long time ago, the seven sacred council fires of the Lakota Sioux came together and camped. The sun was strong and the people were starving for there was no game. 

Two young men went out to hunt. Along the way, the two men met a beautiful young woman dressed in white who floated as she walked. One man had bad desires for the woman and tried to touch her, but was consumed by a cloud and turned into a pile of bones. 

The woman spoke to the second young man and said, 'Return to your people and tell them I am coming.' This holy woman brought a wrapped bundle to the people. She unwrapped the bundle giving to the people a sacred pipe and teaching them how to use it to pray. 'With this holy pipe, you will walk like a living prayer,' she said. The holy woman told the Sioux about the value of the buffalo, the women and the children. 'You are from Mother Earth,' she told the women, 'What you are doing is as great as the warriors do.'

Before she left, she told the people she would return. As she walked away, she rolled over four times, turning into a white female buffalo calf. It is said after that day the Lakota honored their pipe, and buffalo were plentiful." John Lame Deer, 1967

Now for some links:

Abomination Magazine  is looking for unsettling, scary story submissions.  Paying market.

Like writing noir?  eFiction Noir is looking for well written noir.  

Where Writers Win is trying to build a comprehensive list of Book Review sites and is looking for your help.  They do already have an existing list that can be a great resource.

I didn't have time to really look this over and understand it, but it looks like something that may be interesting if you have time.  Libboo is a web community of authors.  They are looking for people with completed manuscripts, or who are already self published.  They are interested in creating buzz around your book, as well as helping you to connect with people who are interested.  Other than that, you will have to read for more info!

Lastly, this is a great speech for you artistic types out there.  It's a commencement speech Neil Gaiman delivered.  You can thank Madeleine at Scribble and Edit for recommending it to me in the comments section last week!

I will be on vacation next week to visit family, so will see you the Monday after.  Have a great week! 

Any links to share?  Ever seen a white bison?  Heard of the story behind it before?  Think it might signify world peace?

May you find your Muse. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

A Prompt a Day Keeps the Block Away

I know some of you are pounding away at the keys, or scribbling your pencils to nubs, as the summer months roll along.  Others may be struggling, though.  Maybe you have no time to really get down to the nitty gritty, or maybe you have time, but  can't get in the right mindset.  Or maybe a billion other things that are keeping you from being as productive as you want.

One of the things I like to get myself started are prompts.  We all know about prompts, but what's so great about them is that they jump start your brain, get the juices flowing, get you in the mood to write.  You can find some blogs that do prompts on my Blogs W/ Prompts tab (I know, so clever and original, right?).  However, if you aren't in a position to log on and look at my blog, you can find prompts in various places:

1. Photo Prompts.  Photos make great prompts.  Look through a magazine, a photo album, a children's book, anything that might hold an image you could use for inspiration.  None of those things around?  How about a calendar?  Graffiti?  Bulletin board or other ad?  There is a wealth of images all around us.  Heck, we're constantly inundated by various images and sales props.  Use those to your advantage and show them who's boss. 

2. First line prompts.  An interesting kind of prompt is to take a sentence from a book, an article, your journal, or something else written.  Take just that first line, or maybe a different line from somewhere in the piece, and use it to start your own piece.  Where might you take it?

3. Shoplift.  No, I don't mean to steal something physical.  What I want you to steal is a chunk of conversation from a table near you.  An experience you witness.  A situation you read about in the newspaper or see in a news story.  You can even shoplift a friend's experience, though I would highly recommend asking for their permission if you want to do anything with the story, like get it published or display it somewhere others might see it. 

4. Observe.  Take a walk.  Use the views as your inspiration or study those around you.  Do the same at a restaurant.  Imagine what these people might do in a certain situation, or what could happen to them in this environment.  That guy over there, chatting up the blond...could he have a murder kit in the trunk of his car, despite those charming dimples?  That lady, sitting by herself, arms wrapped around her she an abuse victim or a secret superhero.

5. Pull out an old piece of yours.  Do you have a story starter graveyard?  Because I do.  I write down ideas, start stories, jot down notes, and then never do anything with them.  Given, that happens less often now, but I still have story ideas I jotted down in high school.  It's all filed.  Pulling one of those out gives me something to lead off of.  Try looking at your old stuff.

Prompts don't have to start your day, either.  If you're working on a different project, but hit a block or get frustrated, try switching to a prompt and having a little free-writing time.  You can time it or just let yourself go, but see if freeing up that portion of your brain to work through the issues in your other piece helps you along.

Do you use prompts?  Have any other blogs that should be added to the prompt tab?  Pass them along, whether its yours or someone else's!  What's your favorite kind of prompt?  What did I miss?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday - Gorge-ous & Helpful Links

Today's [Mostly] Wordless Wednesday is of our field trip to the Royal Gorge Bridge. 

 The view up the gorge as we traveled down in an incline car.

 View of the bridge from the bottom of the gorge.
 The opposite wall over the Arkansas River.  Some kayaks and a catamaran went by while we were down there, but they said the water is very low this year (drought).  See that odd pipe-type thing?  That is a pipeline made of redwood, which was used to deliver water to Canon City for 70 years.  It was decommissioned in 1974.  I'm impressed that any of it still remains!

See that tiny dot up in the air?  That's the aerial tram!  The next photo was taken from inside said tram, dangling over the gorge, 955 feet above the Arkansas River.

 View of the bridge from the aerial tram.

The bridge after we walked back over it.  Look at all those cables!  The bridge planks are wooden; you should hear the noise when you drive over it (not my favorite part).

The Royal Gorge Bridge was the highest bridge in the world until 2003.  Darn it, China!

I've got some links for you:

The Tacoma 2012 Zombpocalypse is running a writing contest.  Like zombies?  Enjoy writing about them?  This is your contest!  There is no cash prize, but you do get publication in an anthology and free copies of the book if you win, as well as a poster of the cover art.

The Creative Writing Institute is having their Fourth Annual Beginner's Short Story Contest.  Fee is $6, you can only enter if you are unpublished, and first prize is $100.

Leap Local  is looking for travel stories of a specific nature for a contest.  Check out their guidelines for the specifics.

Storyworlds Magazine is looking for short stories written by published authors, in direct contrast to the above.  The story should be set in a world established by the published author.  It is for one of their first three issues.  They are also looking for art.  I did not see if this was a paying market.

Underground Book Reviews is hosting a Battle of the Book Review Blogs.  If you post at least two book reviews on your blog each month, you're qualified. 

The Belcastro Agency is accepting queries at this time for Women's Fiction, Children's/YA and Non-fiction.  They represent one of my favorite people: Julie Kazimer! 

Literary Orphans is looking for short fiction, including flash; poetry; artwork & photography and creative non-fiction.

Hopefully this made up for the shortage of links last week! 

Any links to pass along?  Are you afraid of heights?  Ever been to the Royal Gorge? 

May you find your Muse.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Odds & Ends, Updates & Invitation to Guest Post

Hello there!  Today will be a bit of a mishmash, instead of anything themed, but there are some things I wanted to mention, and I've got some catching up to do (still).

Guest Posts - I've been getting a lot of contact about guest posts.  I'm delighted to feature guest posts or do interviews (those will take longer to get up since they take time to do, at least how I do it).  However, any guest posts on my blog need to involve writing or be related to one's book, as my intent is to help fellow writers out.  Guest posts will typically go up on Fridays.  If you'd like to guest post, or would like to do an interview about your book/writing process/etc., contact me through my profile or post in the comments at any time. 

Randy Lindsay Featured Me! - I was so flattered to see that Randy Lindsay of Author in Training featured The Warrior Muse on his Friday post.  Check out his blog and show him a little love.  He posts a writing prod (with his response to it), features other blogs, and does movie reviews.  He's a great guy, and well worth checking out.

BuNoWriMo - Sigh.  I never got past 5% progress on Myth Stalker.  However, I'm happy because it got me started on writing it.  I was already behind on it, but the fire sort of did me in.  Not so much the evacuation, mind you, but I was so distracted and nervous once it started so close to me that I failed to get any writing done at all.  I spent a lot of time refreshing Twitter to track #WaldoCanyonFire, as well as the local paper's site, which was updating regularly, and Facebook, where I was getting information.  If I was on the computer, that's what I was doing.  I am looking forward to getting started again, AND I made progress with...

Project 52 - I did a little bit of work toward the list, so I can now strike out:

7. Work on poetry
8. Submit at least 1 poem for publication
16. Develop Warrior Muse logo (Jeremy did this one for me, but it's done, all the same!)
19. Compile spreadsheet of publications
33. Go hiking at Red Rocks/photos
36. Get at least 1 piece published (more details to come soon!)
38. Prepare for the 2012 A to Z (obviously done!)
44. Take four "field trips" this year (we've been taking these almost weekly)
50. Attend more writer's meetings
51. Get better about reading through Writer's Digest magazines when they arrive

Wow!  I didn't realize how many I'd finished.  15/52.  I may be updating a few things, due to projects that have changed, or a change in focus.  Anything removed will be replaced by something else.

Michael Abayomi - Fellow blogger, Michael Abayomi is conducting an Indiegogo campaign to gather funds for his next project Guardians & the Lost Paradise.  Pass it along, if you're interested.  Good luck, Michael!

That's it for today!  I will have a choice between two field trips I took this week for [Mostly] Wordless Wednesday: Helen Hunt Falls and the Royal Gorge Bridge.  I haven't decided which will go up this week, and which next week, but I'm excited to have something positive to pass along...and purdy.

How did you do in BuNoWriMo?  Interested in guest posting?  Are you doing, or have you done, Project 52?  How are you doing at meeting any goals you've made for yourself, now that we're more than halfway through the year?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday - A Little Lightness of Being

I originally had planned on doing photos of the fire, but I am willing to bet you guys are tired of hearing about it, so I thought I would post a couple light pictures.  This is [Mostly] Wordless Wednesday Light.

This ladybug landed on her hand and crawled all over her for a couple minutes.  She was a giggly delighted little bundle of girl for awhile there.

This is my cat, Cleo, and my friend's bird, Mabel, while we were packing up at one of the hotels.  These two were hysterical.  Cleo wanted to eat her, but didn't understand why she was so rude as to keep pecking her nose and paws when she stuck them in the cage.  They were both very calm and civil about the whole thing, which was maybe the funniest part.

This [not so] little guy was learning how to fly our first full day back at the house!  It was a delight to see.  His mom kept flying down to nag at him, and he would just ignore her and peck at the berries that had fallen on the top of our shed.  This photo is through a window, by the way, so please pardon the weird dim coloring of it.  Don't you love his eyebrows?  He miraculously came up with the ability to fly when he turned toward the window and saw me and the cat staring at him.  He'd been out there for about an hour by then, and I'd even walked around down in the yard and greeted the neighbor who lives behind me and spoken with her for awhile.  Funny stuff!

I have a couple random facts for you: Did you know some elephants purr when happy?  And that they can't jump?  Also, ladybugs can swim.

Now for some links:

If you want to get yourself out there and have something interesting to say, you can hijack Lee's blog Tossing it Out.  Also, the A-to-Z Challenge blog is always looking for guest posters.

Need a little encouragement?  "Encouragement!"  Here is a list of 11 Famous Writers Who Were Rejected Before Making it Big.

I had a couple contests for you that I gathered for last Wednesday's post, but they are closed now.  I'll have something good for you next week!

Any helpful links you'd like to share?  How'd you do on BuNoWriMo?  Seen any baby birds learning to fly?  Ever heard an elephant purr?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Life Goes On - Take Inspiration From It

It's surreal to be mentally engulfed by one particular thing, and then to look up and realize that everyone else has other things on their minds, and that they are continuing on, completely unaware that you've stopped and are just standing there staring at everyone else as they move past you at a frenetic pace.  While I was stressed out about this fire (the Waldo Canyon Fire, for those just happening along), even before being evacuated, I'd go to a different part of town and no one seemed to be thinking about the fire so much.  I'm sure they were, but they weren't even looking up at the mountains.  No smoke stained their nostrils.  Yet, you walk around in my area and all heads are tilted up, watching those mountains for any sign that danger might be on its way.  We've come to a place where we can block out the smell of smoke.  It's taken for granted that our chests, throats and eyes will be irritated, that we likely have our valuables and mementos stored somewhere easily accessible in case we have to flee again. 

When this whole section of the city was on mandatory evacuation, I drove down the Interstate, which had become the line of demarcation.  On my right side, it was a ghost town, save for fire trucks and police cars.  Garden of the Gods Road was empty, a condition I've NEVER seen it in, even in the middle of the night.  Helicopters and airplanes flew in circles, diving then climbing steeply after dropping their water or slurry onto the fire.  Smoke rose, flames consumed, and it looked and sounded like an active war zone. 

To my left, though, a shopping center was packed with cars.  The regular ol' hustle and bustle went on, as if nothing astronomical had happened.  Because, you see, it hadn't to them.  Their lives were normal, albeit a little more acrid and stinky, probably a bit sadder and more stressed than usual.  After all, these mountains belong to everyone in this town, and no matter where you stand, they are burning.  It impacts everyone, but not necessarily in the same ways.

If this were a science fiction film, it would be aliens up in them thar' hills, stealing our resources, viciously zapping any living thing that dared pop up on the slopes of the mountains, possibly experimenting on the people and animals they picked up, in order to find their weaknesses.

If this were a natural disaster movie, it might be a volcanic eruption occurring in long dormant volcanoes.  Or a fire.  Cuz' that's a natural disaster, too.  They ever made that one?  Maybe they will now, considering most of the west appears to be in flames.

If this were a romance, some young couple would have been drawn together at one of the many shelters, having lost their homes.  They would help each other through this tragedy, finding love along the way, though maybe the crabby, but uber-protective, big sister would disapprove.

If this were a horror film, perhaps this would be the aftermath of burning a killer sasquatch out of the mountains after a murderous carnivore spree through the foothills of Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs.  He stalked his victims home from Garden of the Gods Park, ripping them to shreds and taking their heads as trophies.

If this were a sci-fi/horror mix, the fire itself might be the monster, but what controls it?  After all, it has been repeatedly said that this fire is not behaving like any other fire, ever.  Could it be a living creature?  A declaration of war using some mutant agent?

If this were a mystery, some cocky detective would be interviewing witnesses about something unexplained, the fire background setting.  Or we'd be following the fire inspector around to find out who had committed arson.

You can get story lines anywhere, in any situation.  Fear and tragedy don't shut that off.  Some might keep that creativity going in the midst of it, while others, like me, might see those stories a bit more once in a relatively safe place.  I know one person was posting about writing about the possible sources of the fire while waiting to be evacuated.  I wrote a piece of poetry while sitting at a Chick-fil-A, the smoky hills visible through the windows, as my children played in the playplace, having been stuck indoors due to the excessive amount of smoke.  That was the day I came home just in time for the firestorm and subsequent evacuation.  I didn't write a word while in exile, but I'm betting others wrote plenty.

Life is fodder, for those of us who write, or draw, or sing.  The creative souls within us absorb all of these things that happen to us, churn them around, make them our own, and then regurgitate them in whatever fashion fits us best.  In the meantime, those around us see things completely differently, even if they share our creative souls.  Each person experiences each thing individually and uniquely.  Sometimes it means they aren't suffering the same thing, but sometimes it means they are just suffering differently.  Either way, life goes on.  We make it what we want to make it, or maybe what we have to make it. 

How about a writing assignment?  You don't have to share it, though you are welcome, either on here or on your blog, or you can just share the experience that comes to mind.  Think of an event that has had a significant impact on you.  It doesn't have to be negative, just significant.  Write a poem, a piece of flash, or a short story about it.  Twist it if you want to, or try to write it as close to the truth as you want.  It's your personal event, to do with as you please.

May you find your Muse.