Wednesday, August 31, 2011

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday 8/31/11

Hello, it's time for another [Mostly] Wordless Wednesday!

This is an elephant at the Denver Zoo. I really don't have much else to say about this guy, so I could technically make this a [Completely] Wordless Wednesday. Instead, I will offer you some random elephant facts:

1. Despite the size of their ears, elephants have rather poor hearing.
2. Their eyesight is also poor.
3. They can swim long distances.
4. An elephant was executed for murder in Erwin, TN in 1916. If you'd like to read about Murderous Mary, you can click here, but be warned that there is a sad picture (possibly a phony, if you read the entire article) and the story is somewhat disturbing.
5. Tessie the Elephant was a golf caddy at the Broadmoor, a gift from Rajaf of Najpur. Ultimately, he found her a new home when he built the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.

Know any interesting pachyderm facts?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Teaser Tuesday 8/30/11

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

From Stormwalker, by Allyson James:

"The skinwalker screamed as lightning struck his body. He convulsed with it, the forces of my magic and the one my mother had infused him with tearing him apart." P. 20

From the back:

Janet Begay is a Stormwalker, capable of wielding the raw elemental power of nature's tempests--a power that threatens to overwhelm her. Only her lover, Mick, a dark-haired, blue-eyed biker, is able to siphon off her excess energy and calm the storm raging within her--even as their passion reaches unimaginable heights of ecstacy.

Janet and Mick have come to the desert town of Magellan to investigate the mysterious disappearance of the police chief's daughter. The barren land around it is full of vortexes, the gateways that connect the human world with the mystical realm of Beneath, and after encountering skinwalkers and receiving hints from a shape-shifting coyote and a smart-ass magic mirror, Janet fears that her own powerful, scary-as-hell mother is involved.

She's also uncertain about Mick. He can wield fire and never get burned, and Janet can't seem to touch him with her storm powers. But Janet must trust him, since she and Mick find themselves venturing where no human can survive along--and only together can they overcome the greatest danger they've ever faced.

May you find your Muse.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Top Ten Signs You Watch, Read or Write Too Much Horror

**Images were removed once I learned a little more about the laws concerning using others' photos.**

To start off this top ten list, why don't I start with a little tale of a late-night walk I took last week?

I headed out for my usual walk at around 11:30pm. The moon was drifting in and out of visibility behind dark, patchy clouds. Halfway up the hill, I heard a noise and looked up only to see what looked like a man crouching at the top of the hill. I could see his head and part of his torso, which was nude. I froze. At first I was just trying to figure out if my eyes were playing a trick on me or if there was really some freak crouched at the top of the hill. He was just staring back at me, unmoving.

What would you assume if you saw this? Choose your own adventure:

A. Assume it is just a neighbor checking his lawn at 11:30pm at night, partially clothed. Walk by and call a friendly hello.
B. Think perhaps some guy got locked out of his house without his clothes on when he poked out onto his porch to grab the paper he never picked up earlier. call up asking if he's decent.
C. Oh my gosh, it's a fracking werewolf! Throw your hands up in the air and run, screaming, back to your home, hoping against hope he won't catch you before you can make it.

Your selection may say a lot about you...

Without further ado, here are the top ten signs you watch, read or write too much horror:

10. You always look up when you walk into a darkened room.

Oh, please, I knew you'd be up there. Most predictable move in the book!

9. Descending stairs with no backing into a dark basement is akin to Chinese Water Torture. You will tell them anything they want to know, so long as they don't make you go down there for a jar of pickles.

8. You profile your neighbors, specifically watching neighbor-kids for signs of the serial killer triad. You even go so far as to ask, "So, when did Little Johnny stop wetting the bed?"

7. You're prepared for the zombie-pocalypse, but could care less about the nuclear apocalypse.

6. You feel safer if you've had a bit of garlic with your dinner.

What? You don't like my new perfume?

5. You own silver bullets.

Where's your full moon NOW?

4. You've ever screamed "Double tap!" at an inappropriate time.

He's not really dead; come on!

3. You wonder if the mystery meat is human or animal.

For today's special, we have a CNA from Detroit, aged nicely.

2. You greet the shrill ringing of the telephone with sheer terror.

Who is this? What do you want? Why are you doing this? Oh, mom, is that you?

1. It crosses your mind that the weird guy crouched at the top of the hill might be a werewolf.

I'd love to hear some of your signs that you watch/read/write too much horror! Which option did you pick?

P.S. I have not forgotten Feature Friday. However, I am having issues with Google Reader and can only randomly access the list of the blogs I follow. This also explains why I have not commented on anyone's blog unless they've commented on mine first. Please bear with me while I work on the issue, thanks!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

On The Campaign Trail

The Third Annual Platform-Building Campaign is officially underway, and I successfully nabbed a space (not shocking, seeing as how I wrote it on my calendar when I ran across it months ago, possibly during the A to Z Challenge).

If you're not sure what the Platform-Building Campaign is, it's a blog hop designed to connect writers to other writers, while building their platforms at the same time. As anyone who has participated in a blog hop can likely attest, though, it's the forging of relationships that is most valuable. You can check out the campaign at Rach Writes. This campaign was created by the wonderful Rachael Harrie.

To my fellow campaigners, I write YA Dystopian Fantasy and Adult Urban Fantasy, as well as horror short stories and even some poetry when the mood strikes. This blog is about my experiences writing and, ultimately (hopefully), the path to publication and my personal experiences with it. My blogging schedule is basically: Monday-writing, Teaser Tuesday, [Mostly] Wordless Wednesday, Thursday-writing and Feature Friday. I reply to everyone in the comment section and visit you back. Sometimes it may not be the same day, though.

If you haven't signed up for this campaign (I know I saw a few of you!), check it out. I hear only positive things about it from those who have previously participated. And for those already on the campaign trail...welcome!

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday 8/24/11

First, a quick hello to fellow Platform Campaigners! I'll be doing a quick intro tomorrow and will begin visiting blogs then, as well.

For today's Wordless Wednesday, how about a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park, here in Colorado?

This was taken in fall of 2009. I wouldn't have this and my other Estes Park/Rocky Mountain National Park photos if I hadn't uploaded a few to Facebook since, sadly, some jerk stole my camera on Halloween night and I hadn't moved the photos off the SD card yet. Sob. I learned a valuable lesson about being sure to empty the card as soon as I'm able, though, considering I also lost my son's first Halloween performance at school, plus a ton of other photos.

2009 was the first I'd ever visited Estes Park and Rocky Mtn. Ntl. Park, though I'd heard of them for ages. Stephen King fans may know that the Stanley Hotel from The Shining is in Estes Park. Estes Park is a gorgeous place to visit in the fall when the aspen leaves are changing color, though you have to catch it just right, because everything starts shutting down for winter at the beginning of October. We went a little too late the first year, but made up for it the second year. I got to see my first elk in Rocky Mountain National Park that first year, and it was fantastic! The non-animal scenery was truly breathtaking, though. Mountains, trees, lakes, deep blue sky. Definitely a place worth visiting at least once. Plus, there are these awesome cherry stores you can visit on the way into town that sell fresh cherry cider and other cherry goodies. YUM! We got this cherry filled chocolate that I still dream about.

This particular lake is the one my poor baby girl fell into on a hike. Let me tell you, the mountains in September and October are quite brisk. As you can see, there's snow up there. And what do you think the source of water is up in the mountains? Yeah, snow melt. Poor baby girl was a popsicle by the time we got her to the car! She still loved it out there, though. Shew.

May you find your Muse.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Teaser Tuesday 8/23/11

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

From Changes: A Novel of the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher:

"None of my options were good ones. Getting eaten by a supernaturally resilient centipede-demon would be an impediment to my rescue effort. Getting locked up by the FBI wouldn't be much better, but at least with the feds putting me in a cell, I'd have a chance to walk out of it--unlike the centipedes' stomach. Stomachs." p. 86

If you haven't read a Dresden book yet, and you like Fantasy, modern-day wizards, private eyes, faeries, malignant creatures, butt kicking and smart alecky main characters, there's no better time than now!

May you find your Muse.

Monday, August 22, 2011

It's Been Too Long & More

Before we start, I wanted to say a quick thank you to everyone for your support when I posted about being in a slump. It was a great kindness and a help.

Speaking of the slump (oh, transitions), I'm thinking I was away from other writers (in person) for too long. I haven't gone to the Monday night meeting in a few months, nor have I made it to one of the Tuesday night Write Brains run by Pikes Peak Writers. Plus, the Pen Women take a break during the summer, so none of that either. I know that gathering with other like-minded individuals has been a great inspiration to me in the last year, so not having had that probably didn't help.

However, Friday I had a lovely lunch at the Blue Sage Cafe (yummy, for those in Colorado Springs!) with several women from the Pen Women. It was wonderful! A couple hours chatting with other writers (and artists) put me in a good mood and inspired me to jump back in, as these are all published writers.

On top of that, Thursday evening I received my critique back from the RMFW writing contest I was depressed about. The critiques were very pleasant and positive, and some things were pointed out to me that I think will be a great help. They had questions on a couple things, which made me realize I hadn't spelled some circumstances out as much as they probably needed. I now have an additional plan of attack for when I begin editing again today.

This critique cost extra beyond the entry fee for the contest, but I feel it was well worth it. If given that option in a future contest, I will most likely take it again. If you're ever waffling on a critique fee, I highly recommend you go for it, especially if you have your own questions on the manuscript. Despite the fact that it was a critique, I felt a lot more positive after having read it through. It opened my eyes to why it wasn't a finalist, and that was a big help.

I wanted to pass along something from the form letter on the front of the manuscript/critique return: "Keep in mind: writing is in the rewriting. Never give up."

The same evening I received a notification that Literary Agent, Rachelle Gardner had written a blog post entitled Writing and Rewriting. The John Irving quote at the very beginning: "More than half, maybe as much as two-thirds of my life as a writer is rewriting. I wouldn’t say I have a talent that’s special. It strikes me that I have an unusual kind of stamina."

Well, if that isn't message enough that it's time to get back to editing and rewrites, I don't know what is! Sometimes you just need a really massive arrow to point the way forward.

Or, when we're talking about writing, editing and rewriting, the arrows probably look a little more like this:

Before I wrap this up, I wanted to send out a quick reminder to anyone interested in Rachel Harrie's Third Writers' Platform-Building Campaign. Today is day one, so hop on over and sign up! Signups close at the end of the month.

May you find your Muse!

Thursday, August 18, 2011


I am in a slump. A funk. A slumpy funk? Funky slump?

I know we all hit them. Okay, maybe there are some out there who are just so supremely confident that it never happens. For the rest of us, well, slumps-r-us. What matters, I suppose, is how we pull ourselves out of it. Therefore, instead of continuing to whine about how discouraged and disheartened I'm currently feeling, I'm going to talk about how I'm going to fix it.

My son started school yesterday, which means it's time to get back into a week-day routine. I've given myself the rest of the week "off," but intend to start my new routine on Monday.

Now that company is gone, it's time for me to jump into Project 52. I'd like to scratch at least one thing off per week (which is rather the point, anyway). That also begins next week. I can scratch off number 45, though, as I went to a new area of Garden of the Gods AND took photos. Woo-hoo, me! I want to go back with the kids to explore further and get some better pics, though. Since I updated that, I get to post this:

Woot-woot! Look! I accomplished something!

It being the end of summer (sort of--I figure when my son starts school, summer is done, for all intents and purposes), I can return to my original WIP. I want to make a lot of changes to it now that I've had the summer to stew over it. Perhaps getting those changes off my mind and onto the page will help with the slump and rejuvenate my writing.

Now that I've pretty much caught up with my backlog from the week my company was here, I can start visiting more blogs again. Hearing success stories, as well as other people talking about being on a low and how they plan to change that, might help me out a bit. I know I've seen a couple the last few days, just from the visiting I've done to bloggers who posted comments on my blog last week and this week. I'm hoping that brings a positive light back to things.

I'm going to get some things organized and jump back into this writing thing. I think I would feel a little more in control if the organizational things I've been telling myself need to be done GET done. They will also aid with many of my other goals.

Finally, I'm going to face the fact that I'm never going to hear from the editor I submitted to in May. Not only that, but I officially sucked too much to be a finalist in the Colorado Gold. However, I do recognize a couple names from the finalists' list, and I'm happy for everyone on there. I noticed a couple people made it as finalists in a couple categories, so they must be spectacular writers. Good for them! There's always next year. In the meantime, that's the WIP I'm about to gut the hell out of. And, yes, I realize that is only two strikes against it, really, but I feel like it needs the change. Maybe I should put it off until I'm not depressed about these two things, though. Ha, you think?

I do also understand that I'm really just getting into this, which makes me a noob. I can't expect to be good straight out of the gate. Yeah, I've been writing since I was a kid, but what does that really count for? I haven't been writing as an adult in years and years. I would go so far as to say I took nearly a decade off from writing except for itty bitty things here and there. I need to practice, practice, practice by writing. I need to read what those in the know have to say. To kick this off, I plan on reading Stephen King's On Writing for the first time in a decade, possibly more (12 years-ish, probably).

Those are some of my plans to beat this slump to death. Once I've killed it and buried it in one of the myriad of places around here perfect for the disposal of bodies, I will be able to move on. That's the plan, anyway. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.

Tell me some positive things! Have you recently gotten over a slump? How long did it last? How'd you pull yourself through? Had any big confidence-shakers lately? Want to commiserate? What have you accomplished lately? Even the tiniest thing counts!

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday 8/17/11

For today's [Mostly] Wordless Wednesday, meet Apache!

Apache was a gorgeous wolf I got to pet at last year's 1st Annual Garden of the Gods Pow Wow at Rock Ledge Ranch, here in Colorado Springs. He and his sister, Cherokee, were there to bring attention to the plight of the wolf in the west. Meeting wolves face to face is an amazing experience. I highly recommend it.

May you find your Muse.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Teaser Tuesday 8/16/11 & She Writes Blogger Ball

Meg Waite Clayton of 1st Books: Stories of How Writers Get Started is doing a She Writer Blogger Ball (#6). A hello out to my fellow She Writers! To introduce myself, I write about writing here and post photos Wednesdays. I try to get out news from the writing world when I have it, such as open contests, grants/scholarships, calls for submissions and helpful sites.

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"Rachael took a long drag and exhaled with malice out her nostrils. Her brain finished rebooting."

Atomic Lobster by Tim Dorsey, p. 37

Tim Dorsey cracks me up. I have to post the blurb from the book cover:

Why is everyone rushing to flee Tampa on a cruise ship to Hell? Serge is back with a bullet, torn between homicide and souvenirs. So is Coleman, torn between getting hammered and getting more hammered. Then there's good ol' Jim Davenport, the E-Team, the Diaz Brothers, and Johnny Vegas, the Accidental Virgin, cranking up the fevered action as the pot boils over on a street called Lobster Lane.

It's reunion time int he Sunshine State, and we're not just talking the family jamboree of that blood-soaked criminal clan, the McGraws, whose nastiest, meanest member is finally released from prison and heads south bent on revenge. On top of it all, the government is covering up a growing list of mysterious victims across Florida who may or may not be connected to a nefarious plot being hatched against national security.

But wait! There's more on the horizon! Who is the oddly familiar femme fatale named Rachael? Is Serge wrong that guns, drugs, and strippers don't mix? What sets the Non-Confrontationalists off on a rampage? What finally brings Coleman and Lenny together? Will they succeed in building the biggest bong ever? And can Serge surf a rogue wave to victory?

So batten the hatches, don the life jackets, and take cover as all these questions and more are answered in the latest adventure from the acclaimed author of "Hurricane Punch."

Tim Dorsey was at my first writer's conference. He was so hysterical in person that I had to read his books. I'm pretty sure the man has ADHD (so do I, so I say that with no judgment). He's quite random, and his writing reflects his frenetic energy and hilarity. He also takes photos of the audience at each of his conferences and posts them on his website. There's something amusing about an author standing up during his keynote speech, using a digital camera to take multiple photos of the audience. Unfortunately, I could not discern myself in the photos from that night, which is sad, because I desperately wanted that photo of me sitting next to Kelley Armstrong! That'll learn me to not take a camera to the conferences!

May you find your Muse.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Grant Available, Pen Women Tea & WriteOnCon + MS Contest

Thank you for the anniversary wishes last week!

I've mentioned before that I'm a member of the Pikes Peak Branch of the National League of American Pen Women. Well, I have a bit of news to pass on:

The PPB of the NLAPW is offering a grant in the form of the Denise Pomeraning Memorial Enrichment Grant. It is open to Southern Colorado women, aged eighteen and above, who are pursuing professional growth in writing, arts, photography or musical composition. You may mail or email your application, but it must be received by no later than September 30, 2011, with recipients announced by October 31, 2011. You can find more information on theOutreach page of the PPB NLAPW website:

Also, there is a tea on August 20th at the Blue Sage Cafe on Centennial, from 2-4pm, here in Colorado Springs. This tea is held for the purpose of introducing interested parties to the women of the branch. You can find this on the Calendar page of the PPB NLAPW website.

I realize these are very specific to Southern Colorado women, so wanted to post about the WriteOnCon occurring online this week. It's a writer's conference held completely online, entirely free! Go here ( for more information or to register.

There is a manuscript contest being run by and that goes hand in hand with the WriteOnCon. Click here for more information on that.

Will I run into any of you at the WriteOnCon? Ever attended an online conference? Let us know your thoughts!

May you find your Muse.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Feature Friday Features: "Writing Unleashed"

A quick note: I have visitors this week, so will be delayed in responding to your comments and visiting your blogs. I will do so as soon as I'm able.

Today, the Warrior Muse features Laura M. Campbell of Writing Unleashed. She is a writer who posts article tidbits and useful links, including current writing contests. Her posts tend to be brief and lively, so they will not keep you too long if you're limited on time.

Laura posted about Agatha Christie, book banning and available contests with an August deadline on Tuesday, August 2. You can click HERE to read it.

May you find your Muse.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

What's the Strangest Bookmark You've Used?

A quick note: I have company this week, so will be delayed in responding to your comments and visiting your blogs. I will do so as soon as I'm able.

Normally, I will be updating my Project 52 progress on Thursdays, but since I've been preparing for guests (and now hosting them), I haven't made any real progress. Instead, I thought I'd talk about bookmarks.

I can't stand to dog-ear a book I'm reading, which means I am sometimes scrambling for a bookmark. I will occasionally use the book jacket, but only if I'm not that far in; it tends to ruin the book jacket and make it fit weird.

Instead, I will grab whatever seems like it will work. I've used toilet paper, tissues, receipts, napkins, post-its, random slips of whatever paper I could find, photos, a paper tampon wrapper, business cards, magazines, a book of matches, string, ads, clean straws, even a smaller book in a desperate moment. I've also removed the book jacket and stuffed the whole thing into the book when I was too far in and had nothing else at hand.

Lest you think I'm completely uncouth, I do own regular bookmarks, too. I even have one with a picture of my god daughter on it. However, I seem to misplace these quite easily. Right now, I'm using a magnetic bookmark I got from the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center in Divide, CO the other day. We'll see how long it takes me to lose that one.

The problem with using random things as bookmarks is that my children occasionally "save" my book by removing the offending item. At least when it's a real bookmark they know to leave it in there!

I also wanted to pass on a useful post from a fellow blogger, Beverly Diehl. On her blog, Writing in Flow, she posted a helpful tip on how to put a link in your blog that will open a new window, rather than take your reader away from your page when you use the "insert link" option. If this is something you might find useful, see her article entitled Nick Cage & Making Sure Our Readers Are Not Gone in 60 Seconds. Hopefully it works, because I've implemented it in all this week's blog posts!

Do you dog-ear your books? Use the cover? Have you used anything unusual as a bookmark?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday 8/10/11

A note before I begin: I have company this week, so will be delayed in responding to your comments and visiting your blogs. I will do so as soon as I'm able.

Today is my fifteen year wedding anniversary! Happy Anniversary to my hubby!

Since today represents a wonderful marriage to my favorite person, I thought I'd post a picture of one of my favorite places. Garden of the Gods!

On the right you can see the "Kissing Camels" structure, and behind the red formations is my favorite fourteener, Pikes Peak (named after a man who never made it to the peak, but I'll address that another time)!

Garden of the Gods is a gorgeous park, full of natural beauty. Upheaval from the mountain building in the area shoved the buried layers of different types of rock (sandstone, shale, gneiss, limestone and more) upward. The elements eroded the exposed layers of rock, ultimately forming this playground of rock eye candy. When I need to relax, I take a drive or a hike through here. It never fails to lift my mood.

You can check out Garden of the Gods HERE.

What is your favorite place to unwind and relax? Do you have a place that can instantly improve your mood?

May you find your Muse.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Teaser Tuesday 8/9/11

A quick note: I have visitors this week, so will be delayed in responding to comments and visiting your blogs. I will do so when I have the chance, though.

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"She braced herself and reached out to grab the material, intending to pull it out of the water to examine it more closely. But instead of grasping nothing but spandex, she felt something under the material, something firm, something muscled, something decidedly human."

Cream Puff Murder by Joanne Fluke, p. 174

This is a cozy murder mystery about a small town Minnesota baker who seems to happen upon bodies an awful lot. She also includes recipes in her books. I thought I'd pass along a favorite of mine from one of her other books, as writers like coffee, right?

Sally's Cinnamon Supreme Coffee

4 whole cinnamon sticks
3 Tablespoons brown sugar, well packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup freshly ground coffee
10 cups water

*Place cinnamon sticks and brown sugar into a glass or metal carafe.
*Put freshly ground coffee and ground cinnamon in filter.
*Pour in water and turn on coffeemaker.
*Once coffee has finished percolating, remove carafe and stir to dissolve brown sugar. Put back on heated pad; let sit at least five minutes for flavors to meld.
*Top with whipped cream; sprinkle brown sugar
Note: The longer it sits, the tastier it gets.

This recipe was taken from Devil's Food Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke, p. 146

Personal Note: This is especially yummy alongside molasses, ginger or spice cookies. Yum!

Do you enjoy an occasional cozy mystery? Have an interesting coffee recipe to share?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Cinema and How It's Changed: A Rant

A quick note to begin: I have visitors this week, so will be delayed in responding to comments and visiting your blogs. I will do so, though, as soon as possible.

I grew up in a movie-centric world due to the fact that both my parents loved movies, but also because both of my parents worked for theaters when I was a child. My dad was a projectionist while working another job and going to college, and my mom worked at several different theaters and did the billing for a dental practice. Obviously, they were busy, which meant I got to go hang out at the theater (and dental practice, which was my grandfather's) all day until I was school age. Back then it was so easy to get lost in a film, to block out everyone around me and just enjoy the story playing out in front of me. I loved going up in the projection room and sorting marquee letters. And when mom was working at the Elsinore in Oregon (now a live theater again), I got to sit up in the balcony all by my lonesome after it was closed to customers. (*Side note: for any Oregonians out there, she also worked at Southgate and Lancaster inside Lancaster Mall.)

When it came time to get my first official job, I made a beeline for the closest local theater (Tiffany Square, for anyone who came to the Springs before 2000 or so, when it shut down). I had the job lined up before I turned 16, and I worked my first shift on my birthday. Eventually, I learned every position, including projection, and became a manager, ultimately managing at two different theaters (Tiffany Square and the good ol' Mac Tri-Cinema in McMinnville, OR).

I lived on popcorn, soda, nachos and Snickers bars purchased with coins I found while cleaning the auditoriums. Every break was spent sitting in the back of the auditorium with a courtesy cup full of popcorn (buttered, of course) and a courtesy cup of soda. I'd watch the same movies over and over again, buying my favorites on VHS tape once they came out. I got all the free movies I wanted, and I certainly took advantage of that (on the rare occasion when I was not working).

I also met my husband at that first theater I worked at. He was an usher when I was a concessionist. Happily, he'll watch movies over and over with me, so I don't drive him nuts (my mom can also watch a movie over and over if she enjoys it, while my dad is a one-time viewing kinda' person).

Tiffany Square was only a six-plex, meaning there were only six screens. While this was a good sized theater in my early youth, by the time I was managing at nineteen years old, multi-plexes were the big new thing. If your town didn't have a multi-plex it might as well not be on the map. A bidding war went down for a piece of land to build a multi-plex and our company (AMC) lost, closing its doors for the last time shortly after I moved on to a different job. Actually, that's not an apt statement. AMC ditched bidding, stating that Colorado Springs wasn't a big enough town to bother putting a multi-plex. Funny, considering we now have three major multi-plexes, one more being built, and a mall multi-plex that existed before the big new ones with stadium seating became so popular.

When Tiffany Square was fighting to survive, we were still doing show checks, which meant our ushers went in several times during the course of the film to monitor for people talking, kids running around, crying babies, people kicking seats, crazy killer clowns and the like. Okay, so we never had a clown problem. I could tell you some other good stories, though.

Back then, viewing a movie in a theater was still an overall pleasant experience. Cell phones weren't an issue yet, so the worst you might experience was a beeper going off, though I never had that happen in a film. Most people seemed to understand the unwritten cinema rules and not talk throughout the movie. Occasionally, there was some random rude person, but they'd be taken care of by an usher doing a show check or another patron would tell them to shut it.

So what changed? At what point did it become alright to take a cell phone call in a theater, let your kids climb on other customers and text throughout the feature presentation? When was it that people stopped caring about other people's movie viewing pleasure and started thinking the entire world revolved around them? Ticket prices are so high these days that I'd think a person would try not to blink, let alone carry on a conversation with Jack back at the plant about how Betty Jean sneezed purple pixie dust out at the work party.

On Thursday I went to a movie with the kids. A woman pushed a stroller in and sat down with her two other children. A separate woman came in with her two boys and sat behind her. In the course of the film, there was not a five minute span where those two groups did not cause some sort of disruption. The baby cried, the mother took a cell phone call at full volume and chatted with her friend, one of the boys kept climbing up on the stroller and yelling, two of the boys fought constantly, another kid jiggled his lip while humming for a good part of it. I couldn't describe one scene of the movie to you, though my children were completely oblivious and enjoyed it. While sitting in their seats. Quietly. Ahem.

This is not a one-time experience. I have only recently begun seeing some movies in theaters again because my experiences have been overwhelmingly negative. Some guy worked on his iPad through an entire movie when my husband went the other night. How is this behavior okay?

I often wonder what flipped the switch. Does my generation (or the one after) lack manners and the ability/desire to respect others? Is it some weird chip on people's shoulders due to the costs? You know, "I spent so much to get in here, I have the right to do whatever I please." Perhaps it has to do with people being able to watch movies at home via VHS/DVD/online streaming. Maybe it taught us that you can do whatever you want while you watch a movie. I'm currently watching Armageddon and chatting with my husband while writing this blog post. However, I shut my mouth when I'm at the movie theater, and I turn off my cell phone. Could it be that we are so used to being constantly tied to other people via our phones, cell phones, internet, etc. that we can't sever that connection for two hours? It often seems to me that the only people enjoying the film are those too inconsiderate to behave. After all, they're apparently having the exact experience they wish for.

I don't see a way back from this. It appears it's time for me to give up once and for all. Heck, we have a home theater set up in the basement (what else could you expect from two people who met working at a movie theater). It's just that some movies are better viewed in super size with earth shaking digital surround sound. I've always enjoyed seeing a special effects film in a theater setting. I guess I need a bigger house.

What about you? Do you still enjoy films at the theater or do you prefer watching them at home? What do you think is the reason for people thinking it's alright to be inconsiderate of others in public? Or do you think I'm full of beans?

May you find your Muse.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Feature Friday Features: "All Write - Fiction Advice"

This week's featured writer is AJ Humpage, of All Write - Fiction Advice. She has been a writer for over twenty years, and posts excellent pieces on the dynamics of writing fiction. Her latest post, Confidence in Fiction Writing talks about the pitfalls a writer may succumb to in their writing. She discusses the reasons a writer may lose confidence in their writing, as well as how to deal with that and jump back into the fray.

All of her advice is useful and applicable. She doesn't screw around and her posts are well written,the information simple and straight forward. If you write fiction, hers is a useful blog to keep up with.

May you find your muse.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Project 52 & a Call for Information

Before I go into Project 52, I wanted to put out a call for information. I'd like to have a tab for fellow bloggers with books being released. I'm also considering a tab to house sites that provide some sort of daily writing prompt, challenge or similar offer. If you have any recommendations or a book/author you'd like listed, please post that information in comments or email it to me via the email in my profile (hint: it is my full blog name with no spaces at gmail).

Jennee and Karen put together something called Project 52, where you set 52 goals (one for each week, I believe) and cross them out as you go. You can sign up through the end of 2011. Seeing as how part of my reason for this blog is to keep myself accountable in working toward my goal of publication, I thought I would participate, but all of my goals would have something to do with my writing career (or my photography hobby). Below is my list of 52 goals, and I will try to update where I am (in brief) each week.

Project 52:
1. Write daily. Anything.
2. Finish editing Lonely Hollow
3. Finish writing Scorpio project
4. Pick title for Scorpio project
5. Transfer short stories to computer
6. Submit at least 1 horror short story for publication
7. Submit at least 1 fantasy short story for publication
8. Work on poetry
9. Submit at least 1 poem for publication
10. Edit children's stories
11. Submit at least 1 children's story for publication
12. Research flash fiction sites for contest
13. Prepare flash fiction contest
14. Establish character of Samara
15. Integrate new scenes into Lonely Hollow
16. Complete skinwalker short story
17. Complete Phantasmagoric Pumpkin Eaters
18. Try sketching characters with no appearance match
19. Develop Warrior Muse logo
20. Complete A to Z followup challenge
21. Find old floppies with saved writing
22. Compile old story ideas and tidbits into one place
23. Compile spreadsheet of publications
24. Make query/submission spreadsheet
25. Check out RMFW and consider membership
26. Complete work on Pen Women scholarship and distribute information
27. Make blog tabs for resources, prompts, publications
28. Write to a prompt weekly
29. Journal
30. Photo class
31. Reorganize office
32. Edit L wedding photos
33. Write 1000 words daily for a week (excluding weekends)
34. Write 1000 words daily for a month (excluding weekends)
35. Work on journaling with kids
36. Organize and edit scenic photos
37. Research non-fiction book
38. Start Scrivener file and introduction for non-fiction book
39. Frame chosen scenic pics
40. Write more New Never News articles
41. Query completed manuscript (once completed)
42. Take at least 1 photo every day for a month (work on photography)
43. Visit Project 52 participants
44. Go hiking at Red Rocks/photos
45. Explore a new area at Garden of the Gods/photos
46. Post a weekly photo through the end of the year
47. Submit 1 photo to a contest/publication
48. Start scanning old photos to disk
49. Work out better blogging/visiting schedule
50. Discover at least 1 new blog per week
51. Get at least 1 piece published
52. Don't forget to enjoy writing - if something becomes no fun, take a break and try something new

Would something like Project 52 help you to accomplish your goals? Can you think of 52?

May you find your muse.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday 8/3/11

Hello, and welcome to Wordless Wednesday! Before I post today's photo, I wanted to let you know that I'm the guest poster over at Arlee Bird's Tossing it Out today. Hop on over to read about how I got involved in the original A to Z Challenge and how the Visitor's Follow-up Challenge came about. Leave a comment if you like and make friendly-like!

The following photo is a cute little meerkat from the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, who appeared to be standing guard over his buddies, who were passed out in a big ol' snuggly pile under a log.

Isn't he the cutest? I believe he was talking some major smack to me, though. Had he walked, it would have been with a swagger. I don't know if he was being punished by exclusion or if he truly was on guard. He stood there the entire time at parade rest.

This photo was taken at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, here in Colorado Springs. It sits up on Cheyenne Mountain. Bet you've never walked around a hillier zoo! A day at this place is a fantastic workout. It was originally opened by Spencer and Julie Penrose, two people who were responsible for creating much of the city. The first animals there actually came from Spencer Penrose's own private pet stock, as he had a fondness for collecting animals on his numerous travels and keeping them in his resort hotel, the Broadmoor. When a monkey attacked a child and other complaints came in, he had to find a new home for the boa constrictor in the furnace room, the monkey and the elephant golf caddy who helped out on the Broadmoor golf course (not kidding), along with any other critters he came up with over time. He built a tiny little train going up the mountain from the Broadmoor so he could escort his guests up to view his animals. Don't you wish you had that kind of expendable income?

Have you ever been to an unusual zoo? Have you been to the Broadmoor or Cheyenne Mountain Zoo?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Teaser Tuesday 8/2/11

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"By law, everyone ever born within town limits had to be buried here; consequently, the town had more deceased residents than living ones. Maylene wondered sometimes what would happen if the living knew of the bargain the town founders had made, but every time she'd broached the topic with Charles, she'd been rebuffed."

Graveminder by Melissa Marr, p. 2

I haven't read Melissa Marr before, but I'm enjoying this book. This is her first novel for adults; she is also the author of the Wicked Lovely series of books for young adults. I will definitely seek out more of her writing.

Have you read anything by Melissa Marr? Do you recommend her? Anything specific?

May you find your muse.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Platform Building Crusade, Colorado Top Blogs & Contest

It's a lovely sunny day outside. We've just finished our daily thunderstorm (something that occurs only every so many years here in Colorado Springs--usually we are quite dry with only occasional rain or snow) and everything smells delightfully clean and fresh. Add to all that natural loveliness that I opened my Warrior Muse email today to find an email saying my blog has been chosen to be on the site Colorado Top Blogs! I went to look and, sure enough, there I am on the list of linkies on the left side. Exciting!

This news brings the P-word to mind: Platform. While I did not start this blog with an eye to platform, I've learned it can be an aid in publication further on down the line. Because of this, I do keep a mind to that purpose. For that, and other reasons (my readers being the biggest one), I've been trying to post somewhat consistently, to the point of having a theme on some days. I've said it before, but one of the big things I learned about platform at the conference (PPWCON) was that you have to post regularly, at least twice per week, be established for a year and have followers who regularly read and comment. Even without that "requirement" I would seek comments, as I enjoy reading them. I especially enjoy when it becomes a conversation.

The interactions within the blogging community are important to me. If these interactions have the side effect of helping to build a platform, I am not going to complain. Every little bit counts, and every reader counts, whether you comment or not. Things like appearing on a local blog aggregate like Colorado Top Blogs are one of those much appreciated side effects of getting to know all of you better and discussing things that are important to me. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I am extremely grateful for the blogging community, and glad to have begun finding myself a place within it.

Getting back to platform, I am planning on participating in Rachael Harrie's Platform Building Crusade, which will take place from August to October. For more information, you can go to Rach Writes... and click on "Platform Building Crusade." Sign-ups begin August 22 and end August 31. It sounds like a fun crusade/blog hop to take part in, and is aimed at those wishing to create an online platform.

Aside from that, I wanted to mention a contest on author and fellow blogger Carole Anne Carr's website, where you can win a copy of her newest book Thin Time. You can either click on THIS LINK or go to and click on "News" in the upper menu banner. All you have to do is leave a comment as to why you'd like to read it.

Have you started building an online platform? What are your platform goals?

May you find your muse.