Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Go It Alone, Together: IWSG & Baby Stuff

Have you noticed the change in our world?

We live in a society that seems increasingly isolated and connected at the same time. Everyone is interacting online, while face to face time is diminishing--even when surrounded by people.

At the same time, I have friends in Japan, South Africa, Australia and more, and I wouldn't have met any of them if not for this wonderful thing called blogging. And writing (of course). How cool is it to know that no matter where I go in the WORLD, I will have a friend near by? Mind-blowing.

Speaking of friends, a wonderful but newer blogging buddy decided to give me the online high five, aka, a blog award. *warm fuzzies*


So to Mandy, a HUGE thank you for the

(Designed and created by Okoto Enigma)
RULES:

1: Put the award logo/image on your blog.
2: List the rules.
3: Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
4: Mention the creator, Okoto Enigma, of the award and provide a link as well.
5: Tell your readers three things about yourself.
6: Nominate 10 to 20 people & notify them.
7: Ask your nominees any five questions of your choice, one weird or funny question.

Three Things About Me:

1. I'm on the verge of having baby #5, which is mind-blowing. With 17 years between kids, I thought I'd be done a LONG time ago, but life doesn't play out the way you plan. Thankfully so. (I'd have missed so much epicness!)

2. My recent cheese obsession is Edam. Mmmm. There are so many AMAZING cheeses, but I found a regular import for this awesome cheese, and wow. Good stuff.

3. I don't geek out or form crushes on characters, actors, artists, etc. I'm not even super loyal to specific authors. (Sorry!) I love to read WIDELY and meet new writerly voices with almost every book. This is why I've read over 500 different authors and counting. AND I typically review all of them, unless there's one I really can't review because I didn't connect with the writing (that's like 1 in 50 books), or where I had to put the book down because the scene left me blushing furiously enough I could never recommend it. Still, I will NEVER forget a book I loved, and will typically circle back around to a series that grabbed me. Even 10 years later.

Questions I was asked:

1. What is your favorite breakfast (food + drink)? French toast with either water or apple juice.
2. If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go and why? So many places... The plan is to pick up and move places once we retire, living in varying foreign countries for between 3 and 18 months. Why? Because how else do you REALLY get to know the culture?
3. What is the weirdest thing you have seen in someone else’s home? ...You want me to use my memory? At 9 months pregnant? Uh...
4. If you were arrested with no explanation, what would your friends and family assume you had done? Been falsely accused. But those who know I write would probably assume I'd researched something incriminating.
5. Is cereal a soup? / Is Boston cream … a pie or a cake? Cereal? No. Boston cream is a pie for sure.

Questions I'm asking:

1. Who is your inspiration?
2. What is the coolest or strangest place you've ever lived?
3. If you're not doing it already, what do (did) you want to be when you grow (grew) up?
4. If you had to live under the ocean, what would your best friend be? (Dolphin, shark, whale, seahorse, etc.) 
5. What's the last cheese you ate? ;)

Nominees:



I wish I could nominate everyone, just to let you all know how grateful I am for your friendship and writerly support. None of us would make it on our own, and I hope to one day get out and meet many of you wonderful people in my travels. After the baby is grown, just a bit. =)

Huge thanks for hosting
Alex CavanaughTyrean Martinson, Tara Tyler, 

Raimey Gallant, and Beverly Stowe McClure!

Last month, LA Dragoni shared GUARDIAN'S TOUCH along with two truths and one lie. Anyone who guessed which was the lie was entered to win up to two eBooks.

The game:

1. Once when riding with a friend, LA grabbed the dashboard and cried, “Careful! Watch out for the dog.” Her friend thought she was nuts, but when she turned the corner had to break to avoid hitting a dog running across the road.
2. LA has accurately predicted two earthquakes.
3. As a young girl, LA wanted to go on a day trip with her dad, but it was raining too hard. She flung her hands into the air and yelled stop. It did! Instantly! Though her father was freaked out, they departed on their adventure.

The lie: #1. It was actually a cat.

And the winner is:

...DRUM ROLL...

Congrats, Mark!

And now it's time for me to be...



With a baby coming any day, I'm a tad bit distracted, but I'll be back when sanity prevails. In the meantime, I'm wishing you epic reads, many good feelings, and cheese. (Of course.)

Aren't you glad you don't have to go it alone? Tell me one unique/odd quirk about you? What's your favorite/least favorite thing about modern technology? Pick one of the above questions and tell me the answer in the comments!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

When Your Summer Dies, IWSG, & Angels


It's that time of the year when many parents are shopping for school necessities, looking forward to shipping their energy-balls off to the institution, and getting back into a prolific routine.

Yet some of us are filled with dread.

Some parents are welcoming a season of ease, writing, freedom, and productivity.

For everyone else, students and teachers alike, these are for you:


I pretty much feel like this at the beginning to middle of every school day:
And this:



And this, of course:


But for me, it really looks like this:

And when the kids fight me about assignments, there's lots of this, along with self talk:


(Why oh why do I do this to myself? Home schooling is COMPLETE insanity. I'm insane.)

(Especially when teaching my kid who is ADD+.)

(Who eats up ALL my energy, by himself.)

(Which is every day.)

(All the time.)

(Plus the other three kids.)

(Is it too early for a cheese break?)

But then there are little moments that change everything, moments I would miss if we did things differently:


This is pretty much how I feel about the process of writing as well. We slave over something we love, and sometimes it turns out, and often we want to slam our heads into a desk, repeatedly. But it's the small moments that make it all worth it. It all boils down to loving what we do, and making the best of every moment.

For those of you who are really excited to shove your kids/self back into the cookie-maker, I mean shaper, I mean school...



Huge thanks for hosting
Alex Cavanaugh
Christine Rains,
Dolarah @ Book Lover, Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor,
Yvonne Ventresca, and LG Keltner!

Last month, Bethany Kaczmarek shared STRAINS OF SILENCE along with two truths and one lie. Anyone who guessed which was the lie was entered to win an eBook.

The game:

1. I've been married for 19 years, and we've moved 15 times.
2. I once lived in the country and had a cat named Taxi, because it amused us all to call for her.
3. I collect place mats from all over the world, and I love mixing them up at the table.

The lie: #3.

From Bethany: I only have place mats from Lithuania. They're made of linen and lace, and I would never allow anyone to eat on them. I do collect pottery and nativities from all over though. I'm not attached to stuff, but a few things in my home make it home to me, representative of our lives--and those are the pieces of art I've collected on our travels. Each tells a story I don't want to forget.

And the winner is:

...DRUM ROLL...

Congrats, Sandra!

And now for a book I think sounds absolutely fascinating:

For a ghost there are only two choices. Heaven or Hell.

Life has returned to normal for Tamara and Dex after helping a horde of ghosts cross over. Their brush with the afterlife affirmed one thing: happily ever after is real.

When odd pranks around the farm escalate to destruction, Tamara fears mischievous teenagers are vandalizing the neighborhood. Then Dex starts to act out of character. Meanness slips into his usually playful disposition. One day he even ridicules a co-worker publicly. Tamara watches helplessly as he seems to lose the ability to control his own actions. When Dex’s abnormal anger turns violent—toward Tamara—their happily ever after is threatened. Desperate to help Dex and herself, she sends out a silent prayer for help.

She didn’t expect Cal, the cowboy ghost she fell in love with before helping to cross over, to come to her aid.

Buy your copy on Amazon.

Ready to meet the author?

LA Dragoni isn’t too particular about who falls in love or where they fall in love. Whether it’s paranormal, mythical, or time travel, LA simply considers it her job to divine their story and share it with you. No stranger to the supernatural, LA believes the house she grew up in was visited by the ghost of the previous owner who died of a heart attack while mowing the lawn. Now she lives in a ghost-free home in Central Oregon with her husband and children, but haunts ghost towns and cemeteries throughout the west, in search of the next adventure to sift through her storytelling brain. Learn more about LA and her work at www.ladragoni.com.

Originally from Wisconsin, cheese is a way of life for LA. She is always trying to find new ways to enjoy it. Her current favorite is homemade mac and cheese made with generous shreds of mozzarella and pepper jack cheeses. The gooier, the better.

LA gave me two truths and one lie to test your "lie detector" skills. If you guess the lie, right or wrong, you will be entered to win an ebook of GUARDIAN'S TOUCH. If you are the randomly selected winner and guessed correctly, you will also receive GHOST TOUCH, the first book in the series. (Open internationally.) DON'T HAVE A BLOGGER ACCOUNT WITH AN EMAIL ON THE PROFILE? No problem. LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS IN THE COMMENTS OR EMAIL IT TO crystal@crystal-collier.com WITH YOUR SCREEN ALIAS.

You have until Tuesday, September 5th at 2 p.m. EDT to guess. Be sure to come back for the answer on September 6th, 8 a.m. EDT.
TRUTH OR LIE

1. Once when riding with a friend, LA grabbed the dashboard and cried, “Careful! Watch out for the dog.” Her friend thought she was nuts, but when she turned the corner had to break to avoid hitting a dog running across the road.
2. LA has accurately predicted two earthquakes.
3. As a young girl, LA wanted to go on a day trip with her dad, but it was raining too hard. She flung her hands into the air and yelled stop. It did! Instantly! Though her father was freaked out, they departed on their adventure.

So sleuths, which is the lie? Have you met LA Dragoni? Are you ready for/excited about the new school year? What pet peeves do you have about reading or writing?