A to Z Challenge 2013 – X is for…

~ XMAS ~

OMG. I h8 dat ppl lyk hw txt vocab hz tkn ovr.

Ugh. I couldn’t even get through that without cringing. Let’s talk shortcuts. People use them all the time. They’re efficient, speedy, and get the point across–when you’re not trying to decipher what it is a person is trying to say. Text speak is so commonplace now that it has spilled over into spoken dialogue. It’s as though people have lost the art of fine conversation, of eloquence.

I’m not against this method. Not really. It has its merits when in a time crunch, but imagine (and this has happened to me) you send a meaningful text to someone and you get this as a response:

K. Tnx.

I don’t know about you, but it comes off as cold and insincere. It’s probably an exaggeration, as one cannot truly interpret a text with one hundred percent accuracy. Case in point: Ten people read one book. You end up with ten interpretations of the book. Sure there might be some similarities but each person has their own perspective.

Back to shortcuts. Words start to lose meaning. Conversations become archaic. Speech, as it once was, dies off. True, as with most things, there is an evolution in the way we communicate. Consider how far we’ve come since the smoke signal.

I suppose in the hectic pace we travel through life–i.e. taking on write-a-paloozas and other challenges of epic proportions–we tend to forget that old saying. Perhaps we should stop and smell the roses (for those who aren’t allergic). It’s good to appreciate the simpler things in life, things you might not necessarily notice while stuck in overdrive.

This week had a gamut of emotions. Happiness, love, loss, anger, frustration, mourning, relief. In times like these, it’s always good to slow down, take the scenic route as it were. Say thank you and mean it. Show acts of kindness to people you know and to people you don’t. Tell your family you love them. Forgive those who’ve wronged you, even if its in your own heart. We go through life at such breakneck speed, we sometimes forget what’s important. Another case in point: XMAS. We’re almost halfway through the year. Soon Christmas carols will be blasting on the radio and through every mall PA system. Where has the time gone? This is the blog post for the letter X. I can’t believe we’ve gone through twenty-four letters already, yet here we are.

Yes, my theme word might have been a shortcut in itself. X isn’t the easiest letter of the alphabet to blog about. I’m sure we’ll see a lot of X-Files, X-Games, Xylophone, Xenophobe, Xenophile, and the like. However, my theme topic links back to previous posts, of Ferris Bueller, of raging against the dying of the light, of miles to go before I sleep, of being more awesome. There’s so much life to live, we need to make every moment count. Every word. Every letter.

C, itz impt bcuz itz nt jst abt txt, ryt? Itz rly abt lyf, al2gthr.

So, as to maintain the levity of this blogging challenge, while respecting the poignancy, I close with this:


Today’s theme is brought to you by the letter


A to Z Challenge 2013 – W is for…




Remember them?  Thought I’d mention these guys to help out a fellow author that might need a shout out. Hi, Jo. 😉 Yeah, we’re that close. As close as two continents divided by The Pond can be, but I digress. Today we honor not just Rowling’s most awesome family (sorry, Potters), but who the Weasleys represent. They are the sidekicks, the minor characters, the second string performers. They may not share the limelight with the protagonist of a story, but they make the protagonist look a heckuvalot better. Therefore, these characters are my favorites in any story on the page or on screen.

Below are names that I honor with the Weasley Award of Excellence, or the WAE, for short, in no particular order:

Xander Harris, Daniel ‘Oz’ Osborne, Clem, Krevlornswath of the Deathwok Clan, Winifred Burkle, Dr. Lance Sweets, Dr. Jack Stanley Hodgins, Mr. Vincent Nigel Murray, Dr. Spencer Reid, Det. Danny Williams, Kamekona, Barney Stinson, Marshall Erikson, Kenneth Parcell, Hot Chef Gary Preston, Henrietta ‘Hetty’ Lange, Eric Beal, Det. Marty Deeks, Det. Javier Esposito and Det. Kevin Ryan, Bobby Singer, Castiel, Hugo ‘Hurley’ Reyes, James ‘Sawyer’ Ford, Keith Mars, Billy Abbott, General Jacob Carter/Selmak, John Cage and Richard Fish, Larry Paul, Det. Danny Messer and Det. Don Flack, Guinan, Lotney ‘Sloth’ Fratelli, Pedro, Nico, and Rafael, Dory, Crush, Heimlich, Gendry, Arya Stark, Syrio Forel, Podrick Payne, Bronn the Sellsword, Dolorous Eddison ‘Edd’ Tollett, Walter Bishop, August ‘Auggie’ Anderson, Mozzie, FBI Special Agent Peter Burke, Thomas Barrow, Mrs. Beryl Patmore, Alfred Molesley, Donna Noble, Ianto Jones, Amelia Pond & Rory Pond née Williams, both Merry AND Pippin, Dr. Watson–any of them.

As we fade to black, to those unsung heroes not mentioned today, we dedicate this number as sung by our very own Andy Bernard and Dwight Schrute,


Today’s theme is brought to you by the letter


A to Z Challenge 2013 – V is for…


Okay, switching gears–slightly–as we near the end of our beloved twenty-six.

Come, gentle reader, delve into the recesses of your mind, back to your childhood, to a time where, yup, you guessed it. You stayed up past your bedtime to watch those scary movies you were told not to watch before bedtime. There you sat, trembling as the credits rolled, numb as infomercials tried to sell you hair in a can, still stuck to the spot as the television station shut down for the night (in some places, back in the day, the national anthem would play and you were left with static, the white noise. More on that later.)

As kids, we always had to defy our elders and do the exact opposite of what they told us. When it came to scary movies in our household, why on this third rock from the sun did I ever do this–repeatedly? Sometimes, I’d sneak into the living room while the grown ups watched a slasher flick. When something scary was about to happen I’d duck behind the sofa. Guess what? That made it SO MUCH WORSE. I could still hear everything and it let my imagination run wild.

One of my earliest memories of self-terrification–Yeah, I made the word up. It’s mine.–was the time I  “watched” a lovely little miniseries called V while my mom thought I was “asleep.” You know the tactic, one eye open while pretending to snore every so often. It wasn’t so bad until–SPOILER ALERT–the alien’s humanlike face fell off. Scaly madness ensued and believe me I ended up sleeping with one eye open for a long time after that.

Now that I have joined the brave souls who choose to be teller of tales, I think back on everything that went bump in my head (not necessarily the night. Horror movies do not discriminate.) I have an extensive list of movies that left some traumatic scar tissue in my psyche, but V is one of the earliest to tap my inner-masochist. Here’s just a sampling: Poltergeist, The Omen, The Bad Seed, Don’t Go to Sleep, PsychoThe Boogey ManI’m talking about the terrifying movies over two decades ago, not their remakes. Yowza. One might criticize special effects, but the terror still made its way through the screen. Speaking of. A snowy TV screen? That freaked me out years before Sadako crawled through. These movies sent chills to my bones faster than you can say Freddy Kreuger.

I want to tap the thrill that lured saps like my younger self into watching movies that I knew would give me nightmares. That technique to hook a reader is something fascinating. I cannot critique these films objectively in terms of writing, cinematography, or anything like that as half the time I saw them between my fingers or from behind furniture, maybe a useless blanket. But the raw emotion that they elicit stays with me all these years later. I hope my stories have that same impact (not necessarily in a scary way, mind you) with my future readership.

Do you have any tales of horror that inspire your writing, regardless of your chosen genre?


Today’s theme is brought to you by the letter


A to Z Challenge 2013 – U is for…


You’ve heard the saying ‘you can’t please everyone’ and it’s important to keep in mind when living the writing life. If you are lucky to gain a following, you’re sure to have your detractors. What if your biggest detractor is yourself? Don’t get me wrong. I love my characters. I love my stories. I think there comes a time when the story overwhelms me so much that I’m sometimes left unsatisfied even as I type the final word. Is it because of the rewrite? Or the rewrite of the rewrite. No, it’s the rewrite of the rewrite of the rewrite that gets me. That must be it.

I’m sure when I have children of my own someday I’ll endure a similar myriad of emotions as a writer who has birthed a story into the world. Each story I write is like one of my babies. I nurture it, sometimes smother it with good intentions, but want what’s best for it. I hope that when it goes out into the world that everything will be okay and that it can stand on its own (or maybe in a series. One can dream. ;-)) I think the pang of being unsatisfied is closely linked with its cousin, perfectionist. I don’t want a perfect story. I want a story that has its ups and downs. Of course, the only flaws a story should have are character flaws. Anything else needs to be nabbed before it gets published. Is not being satisfied because you suddenly want to change something or think there’s still room for improvement? Like any child, there comes a time when you have to let go.

Still, I think I’ll never be a fully satisfied writer. I consider it a good thing because it’ll keep me hungry to continue crafting stories but humble when those that I do write go off into the world and mingle.

Hmmm… unsatisfied with the spillage of my inner monologue, I at least have the good sense to include my #ROW80 MID-WEEK CHECK-IN with the blog entry rather than in the comments section. Score one for me.

1) Blogged A through U for the A to Z Challenge.

2) Words counts up to yesterday are as follows:

Camp NaNoWriMo – 60,969 words as of Day 23
Savvy Authors Boot Camp – 57,719 words as of Day 23

There are a couple of challenges in May and beyond that I’m considering, but I’ll look into them further and post about them in Sunday’s Check-in. Until then, many more scenes to unfold in both stories but I’m glad I’ve surpassed my targets. I almost rewrote one of them from scratch, because apparently I’m just unsatisfied that way. Fortunately, I held off. That’s where revisions come in. For now, and always, it seems, I write. 🙂


Today’s theme is brought to you by the letter


A to Z Challenge 2013 – T is for…

~ TED Talks ~

I’m a huge fan of TED Talks. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design. Guest speakers tackle an array of subjects and present it in a highly informative and entertaining way. I like to call it INFOTAINMENT. I featured one for the Letter O. The only way to truly understand the magnitude of these awesome talks is to take the time and watch them. On average they’re about fifteen to twenty minutes in length and they’re a real eye opener. I have just a sampling of the greatness out there and I hope you enjoy them. I could easily post a commentary for each but there’s just so much brain candy in these vids that I believe they speak for themselves.

Ze Frank’s Web Playroom

Elaine Lui: The Sociology of Gossip

Adora Svitak: What Adults Can Learn From Kids

Amanda Palmer: The Art of Asking

JJ Abrams: The Mystery Box

These conferences are amazing and thanks to the wonderful and mystifying interweb, we have a huge library to watch at a moment’s notice. Just another reason why I love our global community.

Have you watched TED Talks? Do you have any favorites? Some people have posted in the past that if TED was a school, they’d go to it. I know I certainly would. We definitely need more outlets of information such as TED Talks.


TED’s slogan is ‘Ideas Worth Spreading’, and I couldn’t agree more.


Today’s theme is brought to you by the letter