Saturday, May 29, 2010

Ba-Zinga


* derisive snort*  "Four o'clock is not afternoon, it's prevening...It's my invented word for the ambiguous period between afternoon and evening."


Hope your weekends are off to a grand start!
Enjoy!

Friday, May 28, 2010

I.Can't.Breathe


The kids have been out of school for a week now, but so far summer has been no vacation!  On the heels of the craziest last-week-of-school to date, the past seven days have been an extension of that frenzy, that race against the clock to get everything done that needs accomplishing.  I'm exhausted, and I'm not enjoying it!

Thankfully, after my husband's minor big-toe procedure today, my calendar looks clearer.  Actual whole days are ahead of me when I'm not forced to slice the day into two hour chunks.  Breathe.  I'll get there.

However, I will have to get us ready for our trip to France.  With only three weeks to go, now's the time to start appraising the kids' wardrobe and shopping for needed shorts, tee shirts and dresses suitable for public exposure.  We haven't thought about shoes yet, either.  The kids kicked off their ratty sneakers on the last day of school and have only slipped on plastic flip-flops if faced with entering a store with a no shoes, no shirt policy.  Trips to Target and the mall are definitely in our near future.

I'd also like to get some blog posts scheduled to post while I'm away.  It won't be the same as interacting with all you awesome bloggers and reading what you have to say, but I'll have the peace of mind there's more than dead air coming from my corner of the blogosphere.

So, in an effort to slow down this crazy ride I'm on, and enjoy life a little more -- and write a little more! -- I've decided to reduce my daily posts down to three a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  I'm making Tuesdays and Thursdays my WiP days.  On writing breaks, I'll also read and comment on as many blogs as I can.

Life should be peaceful.  I know there are times it can't be, but overall, shouldn't we be able to live gracefully, finishing projects with enough time to sit back and share a laugh with our kids or friends?  Wake in the morning and face the day with a smile of gratitude that adventures, not anguish, are about to unfold?  I don't like the feeling I'm drowning in my life, a feeling I haven't been able to shake for weeks.  It's time to be proactive, to re-organize, and to enjoy each precious day.   

How about you?  What do you do when a hectic schedule squeezes the fun out of life?  And, what's your favorite way to recharge?


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Italics How-to

Creative writers use Italics to draw attention to certain words or phrases in the text, often implying emphasis.  How familiar are you with correct italics usage?  Most style guides agree with the following list of guidelines for when italics should be used.  (Except the "Associated Press Stylebook," the go-to reference guide for journalism, which states never to use italics. Following the AP Stylebook guideline for book titles, I put their title in quotation marks instead of italics. *grin*)

1. Italics draws emphasis to a word or phrase.  Consider how the following sentence changes each time I put a different word in italics:

Example:
How did she do that?
How did she do that?
How did she do that?
How did she do that?
How did she do that?

By changing the emphasized word, the implicated question is altered.  Also, did you notice the question mark in the last sentence was not italicized?  Neither line-ending punctuation marks nor quotation marks are ever italicized.

2. Put into italics the titles of complete works, including books, films, television shows, movies, paintings, sculptures, plays, very long poems, short stories (although some style books state shorts stories belong in quotation marks), newspapers, magazines.

But, shorter works are not italicized and are instead surrounded by quotation marks:  book chapters, articles, poems, and song titles.

And, very long religious works, such as the Holy Bible and the Koran are not italicized.

Example:
I once wrote a poem called "The Empty Fish Tank," and believe me, it was no Iliad.
I've read The Grapes of Wrath in English and in French.

3.  When you use a foreign word in your text, put it in italics.  However, if the foreign word has been so used in English that we no longer think of it as foreign and sort of claim it as our own, it doesn't need to be in italics.

Example:
There's something magical and energetic about her, a joie de vivre you seldom see these days.
He respects her, and vice versa.

4.  Words as words are in italics.  (Wait, what?)  Here are some examples to illustrate:

Examples:
I cringe every time I see an author confuse there and their.
The word flabbergast flows most delightfully right off my tongue.

5.  Proper names of vehicles are italicized, including names of ships, airplanes, missiles, and trains.  You don't italicize modifiers such as the.

Examples:
The survivors of Oceanic 815 were indeed lost.
I'll never forget how I felt watching the Challenger explode on live television.
The U.S.S. Cole was the target of terrorism.

6.  Use italics for legal citations and certain terms in scientific fields such as biology.

Examples:
Roe vs Wade will be debated until the end of time.
Homosapiens emerged as the dominant species.

7.  Examples of onomatopoeia are italicized.

Example:
The bang at the door woke me from my reverie.

8.  This last one may not be in style guides, at least not stated as a guideline for italics usage.  However, I use it in my own writing and feel it is recognized as a useful and legitimate usage for italics:

Use italics to denote internal dialog.  I don't suggest putting every sentence of the character's voice in italics.  But sometimes the character silently speaks directly to herself, and in those cases I use italics:

Example:
The crowd on the Florida beach was growing as the evening sky darkened. Murph’s bare feet slid back a little with each step in the powdery sand so different from the coarse grains of Iraq’s barren landscape. Iraqi sand stung the soles of bare feet like walking across hundreds of tiny horseflies. Just one more comfort of home, he thought dryly.
- Excerpt taken from my short story Homage.


So there's the skinny on italics usage.  I think the best way to ensure you have your edits correct is to invest in a style guide for quick and frequent referrals.  The most widely used style books in the United States for literature are:


The Chicago Manual of Style
The Elements of Style
The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers
Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association

And, of course, the AP Stylebook, is the reference guide for journalists and article writers.


Do you own a style book?  I'm in the market to purchase one, so any recommendations are greatly appreciated!

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Very Vampire May Giveaway

The lovely Sara McClung over at Babbling Flow is having a fantastic contest you won't want to miss!


A Very Vampire May Giveaway is underway and your chance to enter for some amazing prizes expires on June 2nd, so hop on over there today!  Otherwise, you won't be in the running for:


1.  A signed, hardcover copy of Twilight, plus four keepsake journals and a collectible tin.
2.  A hardcover, signed, first edition copy of Anne Rice's The Vampire Armand.
3.  The first three of Chalaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse Series -- all signed!
4.  Christopher Moore's Vampire Trilogy -- all three signed!
5.  Bram Stoker's Dracula AND The Vampire Book: Encyclopedia of the Undead

    For full details and Mr. Linky sign up sheet, CLICK HERE!


    And don't forget!  The League of Extraordinary Writers is a fab new website formed by debut dystopian and sci fi authors.  They're hosting a wonderful giveaway that ends May 31st.  Click HERE for details!

    Sunday, May 23, 2010

    Farewell to LOST


    Tonight airs the series finale of LOST, a television show that has intrigued and entertained me for five years.  I was hooked at the pilot and have never missed an episode.  The writers have created what is, for me, the perfect blend of a character-driven story and a gripping, tension-filled plot that keeps me on the edge of my seat week after week.  I don't want to see it end!

    Although I am a huge fan of LOST, I will not be spending my hard earned cash on these marketing products:


     
    (More info HERE, and Ordering through Amazon HERE)


    (Order Ben and other bobble head LOST characters HERE)



    (Order these action figures or other LOST toys at Amazon HERE)

    Me?  I'm going to pass on the merchandise and stick to watching the finale tonight.  However...I may consider buying the LOST series on DVD.  Truth be told, even though I've never missed an episode, I am still rather lost from all the twists and turns the story has taken.  This is one series I look forward to watching again (and again...)!

    Hope your weekend is going great!

    Friday, May 21, 2010

    I'm Interviewed for FAN-tastic Friday!


    I'm being interviewed today by the hilarious Gina Leigh Maxwell!  Please join us at

    I enjoy Gina's wonderful sense of humor, sprinkled through posts that come alive on the screen.  Her strong voice is evident in everything she writes, and I'm looking forward to buying her paranormal fantasy books one day.  If you visit her for the first time today, I hope you click her follow button!

    Thursday, May 20, 2010

    Awards and an Announcement

    I received a couple awards last week, and I wanted to pass them along today!


    Thank you, Lydia at The World is My Oyster for this pretty award!

    Lydia's blog is inspirational and informative on so many levels.  Her topics range from writing tips to fantastic medical insights that have, on many occasions, sparked ideas for future stories.  I hope you check her blog out today!

    This award goes to:

    Theresa @ Substitute Teacher's Saga - 'Cause school's almost out!
    Christine @ Christine's Journey - 'Cause I love her "Writing the Next Line" interactive story series.
    Laurel @ Laurel's Leaves - 'Cause we both posted blogfest entries this week with characters named Dani. Read Laurel's HERE.


    Tory at Head in the Clouds passed this beautiful award to me.  When I visit Tory's blog, I'm reminded of walking into a friend's house, where I can sit with my feet tucked under me on the couch or help myself to a glass of water without asking first.  Her posts are always upbeat and insightful.  If you haven't discovered this wonderful blogger, I hope you visit her today!

    This award goes to:

    Julie Jarnagin - 'Cause she finished her most recent first draft this week!  Whoo-hoo!
    Lisa Gibson @ Random Thoughts to String Together - 'Cause her creative talent includes poetry.  For a taste, enjoy And Yet.
    Julie Musil - 'Cause she's spreading the word about Border's summer reading incentive program for kids under 12! (Details in her post!)
    Gina @ Passions on Paper - 'Cause she's got a wonderful sense of humor...and...*see below!*

    I hope you visit all these fab bloggers today!

    And,
    The lovely and hilarious Gina Leigh Maxwell, the next great voice of the Paranormal Fantasy genre, will interview me on her blog, Passions on Paper.
    It's part of a wonderful series Gina hosts once a week called FAN-tastic Friday.

    See you there tomorrow!


    Tuesday, May 18, 2010

    Let's Talk Blogfest!

    Shout-out to the lovely Roni @ Fiction Groupie, for bringing ninety-some bloggers together today for the Let's Talk Blogfest.

    I hope you enjoy my entry below, which is a dialog-driven scene from an untitled novella I shelved about a year and a half ago.  One day, I'll dust it off and finish it!

    Enjoy!



    “One more, sugar?” Dani’s coquettish smile reached over the bar like fingers, caressing the middle-aged man slumped on the stool.  She didn’t wait for his slurred response.  He was a five-bucks-a-round tipper and he’d been here all afternoon.  What more could a girl ask for on an otherwise slow Tuesday? 

    Keeping her legs straight, she reached down for the beer cooler below the bar.  The man leaned in for a better view.  Heavy-lidded eyes squinted, as if by sheer concentration he could will her shorts to stretch and reveal yet another inch of firm thigh.  As Dani’s hand wrapped around the handle she glanced up and froze. 

    One person stood alone at the far end of the bar.  An explosion of adrenalin shot through Dani’s body, like she’d slipped on a slick floor.    She stared at the face that was both as familiar as her own and oddly foreign.  It’d been almost two years since Dani had last laid eyes on her cousin, Nina.   

    Dani straightened, squared her narrow shoulders and jutted one hip, but it was too late to play off her surprise.  Nina smiled slyly, looking, Dani thought, like a satisfied cat with its paw on a dead bird.  Dani leveled her eyes and sauntered down the length of the bar.

    The man hollered, “Hey!  Wha’ abou’ my beer?”

    “I’ll be right with you, darlin’,” she said sweetly over her shoulder.  When her gaze fell back on Nina, she sneered.  “Well, well.  Look who it is.  You must be lost, or are you just slumming it?”

    “Hey Dani.  You look great.”

    Dani responded with a cold smile.  Nina rocked back and into the beam of light from a spot directly overhead.  The light cast a harsh glare, so that her face suddenly looked pale and gaunt, her eyes lost in shadow.  Dani’s smile melted as she sucked in her breath, taking in her cousin’s skeletal silhouette.  Nina had always been a plump girl.  How had she become this emaciated form?   

    Nina straightened then and took a step forward to place her hands on the bar.  Now, freed from the harsh light and enveloped by the warm glow of a Budweiser sign hung on the wall, the illusion was lost.  Nina’s teenager curves were indeed gone, but Dani realized the caterpillar had become a butterfly.  

    Dani brushed a curl and the disorientation from her face.  “Seriously,” she said coolly, “what are you doing here?”

    “Come on, cuz!”  Nina smiled, showing her teeth.  “It’s been too long.  I missed you.”

    Dani flinched as if she’d been slapped.  “Whose fault is that?” she spat.  “In two years, you haven’t returned my calls, answered my letters.  Hell, you scratched me off your fucking Christmas card list!”

    “I know, I know.  I’ve been a bitch,” Nina said softly.  “I really have missed you.  I want you back in my life, Dani.  I need you --” 

    Dani’s nostrils flared.  “Oh.  I see.  You need something from me.”

    “No!  It’s not like that,” Nina replied quickly.  “I want you to come with me.  On a trip!”

    Dani raised one eyebrow and cocked her head, her speech slowed by sarcasm.  “A trip--?”

    “Hey Swee’hear’!  I’m gettin’ thirsty over here!” shouted the drunk at the bar.

    Dani rolled her eyes.  To Nina, she muttered, “Just a minute.”  She walked away, cooing as she went, “Oh my God!  I completely forgot what I was doin’!”

    When Dani came back, Nina was perched on a stool.  Dani placed a glass of cabernet sauvignon in front of her.  “On the house,” she said without emotion.

    Nina grinned at the peace offering and looked into her cousin’s face.   “It’s really good to see you, Dani.”

    Dani narrowed her eyes to mask her crumbling resolve.  “What’s this all about?   You wrote me out of your life.  I haven’t see you for years, then today --,” she shook her head, sending a long ringlet across one eye, “-- you show up here out of the blue and tell me you want me to take a trip with you?”  Her face froze in mock confusion.  “I don’t think so.”

    Nina moved the untouched glass of wine to the side and leaned on the bar.  Her collar bone protruded noticeably.   “Okay, we’ve had our share of problems.”  Dani snorted impishly but Nina ignored her and went on.  “I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how much time we’ve wasted--”

     “We’ve wasted time?   Please.  I have reached out to you so many times since…well, all that happened,” she stammered.  “You shut me out.”

    “I know.”  Nina suddenly seemed tired.  “That’s why I’m here.  I want to fix this -- thing -- between us.  I want my best friend back.”  The sincerity in her voice was unmistakable.  She was looking Dani right in the eyes.  “When we were little, we used to dream about going to the ocean.  Remember?  Let’s go!  It’ll give us time to talk.  To heal.  Come on.  Let’s go to the beach!”

    Dani stared at her in disbelief.  “You think I can just pick up and leave with you?  I have a life, a job!  We don’t all have the summer off, like you teachers.”

    “You can’t take a couple of days off?”  Nina said it looking past Dani’s shoulder, scanning the near empty bar.  She returned her gaze in time to see Dani’s eyes flick, almost imperceptibly, downward.  Nina pressed on, her voice more confident.   “Think of it.  You and me, relaxing on the white sand, cold beer in hand.  Working on our tans.  You know,” she added, “I’ve still never been to the ocean?”

    “What?  Are you kidding me?”  Dani almost sneered.  “Why the hell not?  It’s only four hours away.”

    Nina simply grinned, indicating with a raised eyebrow that she was still waiting for an answer.

    Dani checked her fingernails, forcing boredom into her voice.  “Sorry, cuz.  Can’t do it.”

    Nina sighed.  “Are you sure?  ‘Cause I’m going one way or another.  I’ve already paid for the hotel.  And,” she pointed theatrically toward the front windows, “I rented that for the trip.”

    Dani followed her finger to a shiny red corvette parked in the lot.  Her eyes opened wide, “Shut up!” she gasped.  “We’re going in that?”


    Please be sure to check out all the other blogfest entries today!  The full list of participants is HERE.

    Monday, May 17, 2010

    Inside a Criminal's Mind

    I consider myself a character-driven writer because I enjoy exploring the human condition in my fiction.  It's no surprise, then, that I chose to focus on crime in my first manuscript.  More specifically, I'm following a man's journey in a downward spiral from depressed but functioning member of society, to criminal.  The buildup of resentment towards an unfair society leads to the inevitable breaking point.  In that moment of blinding frustration and anger, the shift occurs and an outlaw is born.

    Crime and literature have a rich history together.  Daniel J. Kornstein says, "Literature and crime live in happy symbiosis.  Literature often depends on crime for a good story, and that story often in turn yields important insights about crime." (Source)  Regardless of the magnitude of the crime, whether it involves breaking a taboo or outright murder, the perpetrator arrives at a moment of decision and chooses to commit it.  Not everyone turns to crime when the opportunity arises.  Getting inside the mind that does provides fascinating fodder for fiction.

    A wonderful selection of articles on the topic of crime in literature can be found HERE.


    I picked up a copy of Devil Bones by Kathy Reichs yesterday.
    She is one of my favorite crime fiction authors.
    Who's yours?

    Friday, May 14, 2010

    Why did you like THAT horrible book?

    I've been reading book reviews on Amazon.com this morning.  Websites that encourage feedback from its client readers provide, in theory, a wonderful service to consumers.  After all, there are millions of titles out there to choose from, so hearing what others who have experienced a story first hand have to say may help you narrow your selection of potential buys.  But the sites offer more insight than that, especially to other writers.

    We all know writers know the importance of genre in marketing their work and identifying with a their target audience.  But readers don't.

    Before I was a writer, I read what my friends recommended were "awesome" books.  I had friends who were active in their churches and friends who were Goth.  Tattooed, pierced friends and friends who competed in beauty pageants.  Athletes and Dead Heads...and althletes who followed the Dead.  Clearly, their taste in books was as diverse as the people I hung out with.  I wound up reading across genres and sat in with various target audiences.  Reading the reviews on Amazon, it's clear to me others do the same.

    Consider these stats:

    New Moon, Stephanie Meyer's second book of the Twilight saga sensation, received 2,232 Amazon reviews that break down like  this:

     (1,394)
     (388)
     (191)
     (123)
     (136)





    If 3 stars represents "average," then 450 people, or roughly 20% thought the book was average or below average.


    One of my all-time favorite books, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte has received 888 Amazon reviews

     (613)
     (147)
     (44)
     (28)
     (56)





    56 people thought Jane Eyre deserved a 1-star rating!


    The Stand, by Stephen King.  Its complete, uncut version received 1,018 customer reviews on Amazon:

     (779)
     (98)
     (63)
     (37)
     (41)





    141 readers out of 779 thought The Stand was just "eh."


    Just for fun, I checked out The Holy Bible.  I won't post those results here, since many of the comments  argued over religious tenets or over translation of certain versions, but I still found it hilarious that The Bible received negative customer reviews.

    It does make my point, though.  Not everyone will fit into one writer's target audience.  As writers, we need to keep this in mind along every step of our journeys.  Negative feedback in our careers is a statistical certainty.  We'll draw it when we share our work on our blogs, with crit groups, and with agents.  We'll hear it from editors and publishers.  And once our books are in print, we'll read it on Amazon, Goodreads, and anywhere else where the general public is welcome to share their opinions.


    When your book is published, do you think you'll want to read the negative reviews?
    Why or why not?

    Wednesday, May 12, 2010

    Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming...


    I wish!

    Life's got me spinning in circles -- and I'm trying to write.  It's the kids' last week and a half of school before summer break -- a crazy, busy time!  I wanted to publish a quick post, though, letting you all know that I'm thinking of you.  I'm reading as many of your insightful, creative posts as I can squeeze in between breaks.  Wish I could respond to all of them!

    Have a fantastic day!  

    Monday, May 10, 2010

    A Full House Usually Wins...

    When hubby and the kids said I could choose anything to do on Mother's Day, I said without hesitation that I wanted the four of us to spend the day hiking around DeSoto Falls in the North Georgia Mountains.  Summer posted pictures of her day trip there on Saturday, inspiring me to finally visit the place I'd only written about in a short story but never actually been to.



    I left my camera in the car (arg), so thank you Great Georgian Properies(dot)com for this gorgeous shot of the Upper Falls.

    As always, I had my pocket-sized Moleskin journal with me, noting the sights, smells and sounds that inspired me as we made our way along a moderately rugged path through the lush forest.  The tallest broadleaf hardwoods in the Chattahoochee National Forest towered 100 feet above us, and the glimpses of blue through occasional breaks in the canopy would have looked artificial had I mixed that color and tried to paint a sky on canvas.  Nature so pure isn't meant to be captured or reproduced; only enjoyed.

    Which is why I was so unnerved when we made our final stop of the day.

    After leaving the DeSoto Falls Scenic Area, we drove over the summit and into the valley of Blairsville, Georgia.  Nestled at the base of rolling peaks is a quaint cluster of mountain artisan boutiques and country stores.  In one, where they sell beautiful, hand-hewn furniture carved from solid wood, one can also purchase this:



    and this:
     
    I cursed myself again for not having my camera with me, but thank you Jacob K for his Flickr Collection titled Georgia, for capturing these shots!

    I'm not an animal activist, but I clearly fall somewhere on the spectrum of respect for animals' rights.  Taxidermy had always been an art form I didn't particularly understand or appreciate, but I'd never considered it cruel.  Certainly, I understand a hunter's desire to admire the fruits of his game.  But after spending a day basking in nature and celebrating the planet and all its glory, seeing those magnificent animals frozen in poses created from someone's cruel sense of humor struck me as nauseating mockery.  

    The price tag on the bear was $599.  The raccoon cost $385.  There was actually a nice selection of raccoons to choose from.  If the canoe wasn't appealing, you could go with: a seated raccoon trying to open a can of Coca Cola between its legs; a raccoon seated with a paw dug into an open box of Cracker Jacks; a raccoon holding five fanned-out playing cards (a full house with kings and queens -- a winning hand, ironically); or a raccoon dressed in tiny hiking gear and holding a compass.  Also available for a mere $181.50 each were canoe-paddling squirrels and squirrels dressed in cowboy regalia.

    The good news is those bears, raccoons and squirrels got my writer gears turning.  A brilliant idea (if I don't say so myself) for my antagonist popped into my mind and resulted in a scribbled page and a half of notes in the old Moleskin.  It's going to be a good writing day today!

    Did you see anything this weekend that sparked a new idea or twist for your story? 

    Sunday, May 9, 2010

    A Mother's Promise

    My children are eleven and ten.  We're standing on the threshold of the teenage years, and a part of me is scared to death.  But it will pass quickly.  Too quickly.  Like our first decade together.  One day, soon, they'll be grown and moved on to live their independent lives.  I wonder how they'll look back on their childhoods?


    What I want my children to remember about me as a mother:


    That my face lit up each time they entered a room.

    That putting their own well-being above my own was a natural reaction and not a choice I felt I had to make.

    That I believed in my heart they chose me as their mother, and that I honored that choice every day.

    That I was only human and made mistakes, but I understood the importance of admitting my errors and asking for forgiveness.

    That I encouraged them to live their own lives, not a life I wished for them.

    That I appreciated self-expression in any way it manifested itself in my children.

    That I needed my own time, not because I was selfish, but because giving that to myself made me a more centered person and a better parent.

    That we laughed A LOT.

    That it was okay for us to get mad at each other, healthy even.  But that I was never too proud to make the first move toward reconciliation.

    That I was always the last to release a hug.

    That I looked them in the eye and said "I love you" every single day.

    That I believed kindness and generosity toward others were high priorities in life.

    That I wasn't afraid they'd stop loving me if I answered "no."  And if my answer was "no," there was a reason behind it.  I never said "no" because I didn't want them to have fun, or to punish them unfairly.

    That I recognized their talents and encouraged their interests (even if I didn't find those things interesting).

    That school mattered.  If they got a "C" when they worked their hardest, then I applauded their "C."  If they got a "C" when I knew they could have done better, I came down hard on them.

    That I demanded success from them, so they would learn to demand success from themselves.

    That I thought they were the coolest people on the planet.

    And above all else, I want my kids to always remember how much I love them.  From the day I learned I'd conceived, to the day they were born, beyond the day I die.  I will always, always love them.


    Here's to being the best mothers we can be.
    Happy Mother's Day, everyone! 

    Saturday, May 8, 2010

    Blog Love to Spread!

    I'm coming off a rough week, but my heart's on the mend.  My blog has been the one thing that kept my mind occupied and my spirits up, and I'm so grateful for each an every post and comment I've read from all of you.  You never know, as you type your thoughts for the day, how much those words will touch another's life.  How powerful writing is!

    Receiving blog awards has also been the frequent burst of sunlight on my stormy week.  Thank you so much for thinking of me!  I love to search through my list of awesome followers and choose people to pass the awards on to, including those I haven't visited often enough (reconnect, read what y'all have been saying of late!), new friends (especially those I discovered during Spread the Awesome), and my blogger BFFs.  I truly appreciate everyone who felt compelled to click that follow button!  So, without further ado...

    Two sweet bloggers who I adore passed this award to me are E.Elle at The Writer's Funhouse and Julie Dao at Silver Lining.  Thanks, girls!

    This goes to:
    Victoria Dixon at Ron Empress
    Erin at Bookish in a Box
    Jamie Burch at Dancing Down Serendipity Street
    Mariah Irving at Constantly Risking Absurdity
    Gina Maxwell at Passion on Paper



    Thank you Jai Josh for this gorgeous award!  Her blog rocks; if you haven't been by to visit, I hope you do so today :)

    This goes to:
    P.J. Hoover
    Milton at KittyChat
    Charmaine at Wagging Tales
    Jen Chandler at From Inkstained Hands
    Emily White at Stepping into Fantasy






    I have three wonderful blogging friends to thank for the You Are My Sunshine award!  Wendy at On 'n' On 'n' On, Tori at Head in the Clouds, and Christine Danek at Christine's Journey.
    This goes to:
    Amber at Musings of Amber Murphy
    Janna Qualman at Something She Wrote
    Hilary Wagner
    SarahJayne at Writing in the Wilderness
    Lisa and Laura Roecker



    The lovely Angie Paxton passed this awesomesauce award on to me.  She has incredibly insightful posts, please visit her!

    This goes to:
    Clarissa Draper at Listen to the Voices
    Eternally Distracted
    Suzanne Hayze at Tales of Extraordinary Ordinariness
    Kelly Polark
    Tina Laurel Lee at Watch Me Practice



    Thank you to a great writer and almost neighbor of mine, VR Barkowski for this award.  She's fantastic; I hope you check out her blog today!

    I'm passing this on to:
    Danyella Leafty
    Heather Dougherty
    Shannon Whitney Messenger
    Yamille at The Che Boricuas
    Miss V at Rambles & Randomness


    And finally, thank you to the sweet Laura Marcella at Wavy Lines for awarding me the Superior Scribbler Award.  Check out her colorful blog, you'll love it!

    This goes to:
    Alexandra Stostak
    Emily Ann Benedict at Benedictions
    Nevine at Dreams, Deliriums and Other Mind Talk
    Amy Jo at Ramblings of a Novice Writer
    Steena Holmes at Chocolate Reality





    Phew!  That's some crazy linkage, there.  I wish I could link every follower on posts like this, because every one of your blogs has something amazing and unique to offer.  Click the links -- I hope you find new friends from here!!

    On a side note:  Please take a minute to click your own profile picture from my Follower's mosaic.  When you do, verify that a link to your blog is visible.  I tried to pass awards on to many people today but couldn't because there's no virtual trail from your profile pic to your blog. :(

    I hope you're all enjoying the weekend so far!

    Friday, May 7, 2010

    Spread the Awesome Contest Winner

    WINNER!!
    Congratulations to Liz S.!!!

    By roll of the virtual dice (a handy feature at Writing.com!), Liz's comment number 65 was drawn, making her the winner of my Spread the Awesome Contest!

    Liz won a copy of Among the Hidden, the first book in the seven part Shadow series by
    Margaret Peterson Haddix
    ~AND~
    a $25 gift card to Barnes and Noble!

    (Liz, please email me your mailing address to heftynicki(at)writing(dot)com.  Thanks!!)

    Thanks to everyone who follows my blog!  Meeting you, reading your comments each day, and having the opportunity to follow your blogs make my blogging experience rich and truly amazing.

    Have a wonderful weekend!