Earlier this month, my awesome CP Jennifer Faye tagged me for a Sunshine Award. The fact that I’m just now getting around to sharing it is all on me, not Jenn.
The Sunshine Award is a lovely sunny flower that bloggers give to other “bloggers who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere.”
As with most awards, ‘The Sunshine Award’ comes with a few simple rules:
(1) Thank the person who gave you the award in your blog post.
(2) Do the Q&A below.
(3) Pass on the award to 10 – 12 deserving and inspiring bloggers, inform them and link to their blogs.
Thanks for thinking of me, Jenn. How did you know I needed to write a new post to keep my writing blog from dying a slow, agonizing death?
Rule 2. Q&A
Favourite Colour: Starting out with a toughie, I see. It’s so hard to pick just one, as my favorite changes with my mood. Sometimes, I love deep, forest green. When I’m feeling dramatic, I love the red/black combo. But I guess if I have to choose just one, it’s purple. My college colors were purple and white.
Favourite Animal: Yikes. Another hard one. If I say “dog,” my cats will get huffy; if I pick “cat,” my dog Cocoa will pout. How about I go with “panther” instead? Panthers are so sleek and graceful.
Favourite Number: Not 13, that’s for sure. I have an aversion to that one, which makes me very nervous for what this year holds. I’ll say 9, because the multiplication table for 9s was easy to learn once my dad showed me the trick.
Favourite Non-alcoholic Drink: I’d like to be able to say H2O — but I can’t. Give me an ice-cold Diet Dr Pepper any day. (I know it’s not good for me, but it’s one of my few vices.)
Facebook or Twitter: They both have their purpose, and I love — and hate — both of them equally. I love that they give me a chance to share my thoughts, make new friends and keep up with everyone’s news … but I hate how they siphon time away from writing. I have precious little free time as it is, and sometimes I look up from the computer to find I’ve frittered it all away farting around on the internet.
Your Passion: Umm, can I steal Jenn’s answer to this question? She wrote:
I have two. Reading and writing. And please don’t ask me which passion came first. It’d be like answering the age old question of which came first the chicken or the egg. I love them both.
I know exactly what she means, and I’m not sure I could answer this one any better. I love to read, although now that I spend most of my free time writing, I don’t do as much of it as I’d like (witness the stacks of books on every available surface).
Giving or Getting Presents: That depends. It’s fun to find just the right gift for someone I love … but I’m not sure anything beats receiving a hand-picked gift. It doesn’t have to be anything big or expensive, just a little something that says, “I was thinking of you.”
Favourite Day: Any day I don’t have to go to my day job (which is really a night job, since I work from about 3 to 11 p.m.). Currently, that’s the weekend — a real Saturday/Sunday. But in the past, I’ve had Wednesday/Thursday/Friday off, and Sunday/Monday.
Favourite Flower: Daffodils. I’ve loved bright yellow daffodils since seeing them grow wild on the hillsides of England as a student at Harlaxton College in 1992. We also had a patch of them in our front yard when I was growing up. Tulips, which also grew in my yard, are a close second.
Rule 3. Spreading the love.
Not sure I can think of 10 to 12 folks to pass this along to who haven’t already been tagged, but here are six I’d like to nominate:
Amy Raby, one of my Starcatchers sisters who I’m sure is busy. Her debut novel, “Assassin’s Gambit,” was released earlier this month.
Jamie Raintree, fellow NaNoWriMo veteran and good friend. Check out her web serial, “A Song for Butterflies.”
Karen McCoy, The Writer Librarian. Karen is in my RWA chapter, NARWA, and her enthusiasm is contagious. She also edits the chapter newsletter.
Susie Haught, another fellow NARWAn who writes women’s fiction. Her blog is fantastic, and funny.
Gwen Hernandez, another of my Starcatchers sisters and resident Scrivener expert. (She wrote the reference book “Scrivener for Dummies.”) She also recently wrote a blog post titled “My Big, Scary Goal” that set the wheels in my brain turning.
Ashlyn Macnamara, another fellow Starcatcher (Golden Heart class of 2011). She writes Regency historical romance described as “A dash of wit, a hint of wicked.” Her debut, “A Most Scandalous Proposal,” is available now; “A Most Devilish Rogue” comes out in August.
The Boston Marathon bombing was a horrendous tragedy, and plenty of folks more eloquent than I am have expressed their thoughts much better than I ever could.
Why’s that? I write romantic comedy. I don’t do well with dark moments, tears and a heavy heart. My whole family’s like that. There’s a reason we sat around cracking jokes before and after my dad’s funeral.
My predisposition to avoiding sadness is why, after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, I stopped writing. Months — maybe even a year — passed before I shook the funk and continued with the story I’d been working on (“Blind Date Bride”). I didn’t feel like being funny when the world as we knew it had changed forever.
But that was more than a decade ago, and if I’m going to be published before I’m too old to enjoy the victory, I don’t have the luxury of taking another six months to a year off. Besides, I signed up for the NaRoNoWriMo (National Romance Novel Writing Month) challenge to write 40K in April. I’m woefully behind — and was even before Monday’s attack. A couple of new rejections have waylaid me more than I’d like to admit. You’d think I’d be used to it by now, but my skin apparently isn’t as tough as it needs to be.
In keeping with the spirit of trying to get back in the swing of things, I made myself a note:
The sentiment is from my fellow NARWAns, Karen and Anne Marie. We were gathered for some writing time at Starbucks Thursday, and when I confessed I was struggling, they gave me a gentle shove in the right direction.
I will write — not only for myself, but also for anyone who needs to boost their mood … who wants a good laugh … who, like me, uses humor to cope with their deepest, darkest doubts.
I will write because if we stop doing what we want — if we don’t continue to follow our dreams — the terrorists win.
Uh-uh. Not on my watch.
Who AM I?
In high school and college, I was the nerdy kid so many loved to hate: I finished papers early and often set the curve.
The semester I spent in England, I turned in my British Studies research paper — on “Wuthering Heights” — early so I could get feedback from my adviser and revise it for a better grade. I also wrote an extra research paper — on Salman Rushdie’s “Satanic Verses” — to get 300-level credit for the class instead of 200-level.
You rarely found me pulling all-nighters because I often finished papers long before their due date.
Nowadays, that’s not the case. I barely finished judging the eight Golden Heart entries RWA sent me by the March 7 deadline. I snuck in my novella submission to Carina Press just under the wire. I frequently just make the deadline for contests.
What happened to that go-getter?
Is it fair to blame my newfound bent for procrastination on life getting in the way? Back then, my only job was being a student. Now I have to make room for writing/editing/contest judging on top of a 40-hour-a-week day job — and still find time to work out, play with the Boyfriend, keep up with writing for three blogs and cook healthy-ish meals.
Not to mention, back then, the time-sucks of Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest didn’t exist to distract me. Of course, those time-sucks can be a valuable way to network, keep my finger on the pulse of the industry and keep up with my friends’ many accomplishments.
It’s a fine line, and I’m trying to walk it more precisely every day.
Your turn: How do you balance all the demands on your time? Do you find yourself procrastinating more now than in the past?
A new theory has been simmering in my brain for the last few weeks. Want to hear it?
Of course you do. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be reading my blog, right?
Authors — and readers — have TBR piles. More likely than not, they’re towering TBR piles that threaten to topple over because we’re adding to them much faster than we take things away.
Or is that just me?
My theory is this: Pinterest boards are to recipes what TBR piles are to books.
I don’t remember exactly how long ago I joined Pinterest, but I can tell you that I’ve been pinning recipes like a champ ever since: I have about 575 recipes on 14 recipe-themed boards.
I started with a generic “Food ideas” board, soon realizing that I needed to break things down further if I ever expected to find anything. So now I have separate categories for low-carb recipes, breakfast ideas, smoothies, sweets, vegetarian chow, paleo eats, holiday favorites … pretty much any category you can think of. And I add to them every time I visit Pinterest.
In fact, when I hopped over to count how many recipes I’ve pinned, I found two more to add. You can check out my boards here, if you’re so inclined.
These recipe boards are a lot like my TBR pile — full of things I want to make/eat/read someday … in the distant future … if I ever find the time.
Maybe I should institute a new rule: Every time I finish a book, I have to try a new recipe — and vice versa. That’d give me a chance to make a dent in both stashes.
Are you a pinner? Do you have more ideas bookmarked than you can possibly get through?