Unremarkable Me

 

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I’m exceptionally ordinary.

I realized this while struggling with my author bio.

Honestly, I already knew but it’s really in your face when you’re trying to create anything that requires you to write in third person the answer to an unanswerable question: Who am I?

I’m me. Just me.

Unremarkable.

I’m not being self-deprecating but I am wondering…

Why does everyone need to be special?

Everyone is unique. Not the same thing.

Let’s face it. We want our bios to be memorable. That’s the point, isn’t it?

I went through this last year while trying to write a social media profile and “About Me” page for my blog. I had a major WIC (Writer’s Identity Crisis) and deleted myself.

But this. It’s so…final. An author bio, many experts say, can make or break you. Break me? Eek. They’re right! I can’t just cut and paste and fix it. It’s there. In writing. Forever.

Eh. Okay. So it is.

No matter how many times I rewrite it, I’ll most likely look at it in a few months and wonder what the hell I was thinking. So I’m going to accept that and let it go. And while I’m at it, accept who I am on paper.

A unique yet ordinary woman.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

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Do you have difficulty writing your bios? Do you change them often or write them and leave them alone? Do you try to present yourself as ‘special’ in some way? Do you even remember what your bio says anymore?

 

 

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Cover Reveal for Hinting at Shadows

 

Thanks to everyone who voted in the cover poll, texted, emailed, and sent carrier pigeons to tell me which cover they liked. I’m so grateful because, not only did you choose a favorite, you explained your decision. I got feedback about image, font, colors…

With all that interest in my cover, you made this writer very happy. Onward!

In the poll, the winner was #1 (tree and rainy window) with #4 (shadows and flowers) a close second. However, a lot of people who voted for #1 commented that they liked #4 as well for various reasons. Behind the scenes, #4 won by a landslide.

Do I need to say I chose #4?

Well…I will. And I did. We took some of the elements from #1 (including more black background for easier readability), changed the font, and tweaked a few things.

Voila. We have ourselves a cover. One I’m thrilled with.

 

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Still need to finish the nuts and bolts of the thing, you know, but am so pleased to have the cover of my book completed. Thanks, again, to the lovely Rachael Ritchey for designing and to all of you for providing invaluable feedback and helping to create this cover.

 

Hinting at Shadows will be available November 2016.  🙂

 

10 Things I Learned from The Princess Bride

 

 

1. Love is the greatest gift of all.

If your love is true (like really true), many people will help you for no other reason than true love is so very rare. Also, because their own selfish desires led them to use you in their schemes. But, still. Oh, and apparently death cannot stop true love. Bonus.

2. No pain, no gain.

Building up an immunity to poison (like Iocane powder) is extremely beneficial in many situations including, but not limited to, a battle of wits and will guarantee you a win every time you play “which cup is the poison in?” Sweet victory is only a vial away.

3. Make your own fun.

Just because you’re in a sword fight to the death, doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. Witty banter makes this experience much more enjoyable as does waiting to use your dominant hand until you discern whether your opponent is worthy or not.

4. Be honest.

If you’re only waiting around to kill someone, they may not accept your help. But if you’re honest and disclose this information, that might be all they need to hear. What’s not to trust?

5. React with humor instead of anger.

If your boss is aggravating you, repeatedly rhyming is a great tactic to keep him at bay while entertaining your colleagues.

“Do you know that you are late?!”
“Do you know I had a date?”
“You missed a meeting for today!”
“Yes, I know. Hip-hip-hooray.”
“Stop that rhyming! Stop it now!”
“Okay, dude, don’t have a cow.”
“Keep it up and you’ll be fired!”
“Staying here till I’m retired.”
“Don’t push it, Fred, you’re on thin ice!”
Ice…ice…
“I’ve got nothing… Lunch break? Nice!”

6. Don’t give up.

Being “mostly dead” is very different from being “all dead”. ‘Nuff said.

7. Self-care is important.

If you haven’t got your health, you haven’t got anything. So put your priorities in order. If those treasonous plans and murderous plots need attention, you may have to miss out on something fun like going to the Pit of Despair. For the sake of your health.

8. Know what a word means before you say it.

“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” That phrase is priceless. It can be used to embarrass anyone, anywhere, anytime. Also, it never gets old.

9. Don’t underestimate the power of a name.

The name is what’s important. Names have reputations, not people. Don’t be afraid to ask friends and co-workers to call you Thor or Captain America. Alternatively, if you’re trying to strike fear in the hearts of men, try Loki or Red Skull. No one will ask for help from Captain Fred. And no one is afraid of Red Fred. See? It’s all in the name. Pass it on.

10. Always have a “Plan B”.

There is no future in revenge. Don’t turn the other cheek, though, as that one might get slashed as well. Do what you need to do. Just keep in mind two things:

1. If you don’t succeed, you’ll need to find somewhere else to focus your energy.

2. If you do succeed… Well, think about it. Once you get your revenge, there is nothing left. Be sure to find time during your years of plotting revenge to study or learn a trade so, post-revenge, you have something to do with the rest of your life. Unless you happen to know a pirate who is willing to let you use his name.

 

Have you seen The Princess Bride? If so, what lessons have you learned from it? Everything tastes better coated in chocolate? “To the pain” is significantly worse than “To the death”? The Cliffs of Insanity are aptly named?

If you have not seen this film, please, for the love of Miracle Max, go. Watch.

 

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This post is part of the Things I Learned from the Movies Blogathon hosted by Speakeasy and Silver Screenings#LearnedFromMovies

  • Special thanks to Silver Screenings for allowing me to have fun and be silly with my entries.

 

5 Things I Learned from Monty Python

 

 

1. Be yourself.

If an ancient bridgekeeper asks you five (three) questions as toll to cross, answer him truthfully. Do not say what you think he wants to hear or be indecisive in your response or you will end up in the Gorge of Eternal Peril.

2. Know when to quit.

If you are fighting for a just cause and acquire a scratch, bruise, or other minor “flesh wound”, don’t give up the good fight. On the other hand (assuming you still have one), should your arm be chopped off, your leg lopped, or if blood is spurting from various injuries, know your limits and limp away. Live to fight another day.

3. Don’t let looks deceive you.

Do not underestimate a killer, even if he is a cute, fluffy, little bunny. You could wind up decapitated.

4. Stand up for yourself.

If you are not dead and a cart comes ’round to pick you up for disposal, do say something. And be insistent. It could save your life. (Or not. But do try.)

5. Don’t give in to peer pressure.

If you have had too much to eat and are feeling full, do not let someone talk you into having dessert. Even if it is just a mint. And a wafer thin one at that.

 

What have you learned from the movies? Serious, silly, or otherwise?

 

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This post is part of the Things I Learned from the Movies Blogathon hosted by Speakeasy and Silver Screenings#LearnedFromMovies

Don’t miss my next installment of *cue music* LearnedFromMovies posting tomorrow. (Hint: There’s a princess, a pirate, a giant, and a six-fingered man.)

  • Special thanks to Silver Screenings for allowing me to have fun and be silly with my entries.

 

Breathe In, Breathe Out… Check Twitter, Answer Emails

 

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I’m meditating.

Yay, me.

I’ve tried this before but never stuck with it.

Meditation has always felt like a hand-me-down sweater that looked pretty on my older sister but never fit me quite right.

So, recently, I ditched the books and switched on my phone.

That’s right. I’d decided to turn my phone off to reduce stress. Now I’m going to turn it on again (first thing in the morning—fab way to start the day) with emails, calendars, and social media waiting to pop up and bury me in notifications. Why? To reduce stress, of course.

A soft voice is telling me to take a deep breath in…and out…in…and out, feeling the stress melt away as I become mindful of the TEXT MESSAGE: WHAT TIME IS YOUR DR APPT? in…and out…notice your breath rising and falling…rising…falling…TWITTER: SOMEONE LIKED ONE OF YOUR TWEETS! notice where the tension in your body is…WORDPRESS: NEW COMMENT WAITING APPROVAL ON LEMON SHARK REEF!

Cell phones are an odd place to go for relaxation.

Yet, here we are. Or, as I like to say, “It has come to this.” The digital generation where everything you could ever want is waiting on your home screen.

‘Tis true. There’s an app for pretty much everything now (but that’s another barrel of bananas).

There are tons of meditation apps out there ranging in focus (housework, walking, commuting, work, pregnancy…) and price (free, $100/year, $30/year, $3.99 one-time purchase…). With all the choices available, I’m overwhelmed. I’m spending a lot of time sifting through them. I’m having difficulty choosing one. It’s starting to stress me out.

I don’t write about irony a lot but a lot of things I write are ironic.

This is one of them.

First, turning on a device that’s distracting and stressful to become mindful and reduce stress.

Second, trying to choose one in the enormous collection of meditation apps saturating the virtual world.

Yes, I can turn off my notifications when I meditate. Then turn them all back on. Every. Single. Time. Yeah, that won’t happen. And phones ring with, like, phone calls. Yes, I can turn my ringer off. That won’t happen, either. Also, they have handy things like reminders, notes, and to-do lists that screech, “LOOK AT ME! I’M IMPORTANT!” And you have to yell back at them that you’re on your way to Calm and you’ll get to them later and, by that point, you’ve lost your way.

 

“How do I get to Calm?”

“Oh, that’s easy. Go to the corner of Distraction and Stress. Take a sharp right onto Digital Way, where you’ll see notes, reminders, and to-do lists. Pass those and keep going straight until you reach Relaxing Scenery. If you don’t like that space, you can dive into the scum-covered Decision Pond and wade through until you find a new Calm. Good luck!”

 

So. It has come to this.

 

Do you meditate? If so, have you ever used an app? How is that working for you? (Feel free to drop the name of the app in the comments if you like it. Thank you kindly.) Whether you meditate or not, what are your thoughts on using an app for this practice?

 

Self-Publishing Is Like Planning a Wedding

 

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If you’re getting married, have been married, or had the unfortunate fate of being involved in helping plan a wedding, these will sound somewhat familiar:

“You can have Aunt Lucille take pictures. Don’t waste money on a photographer. You need a skilled DJ.”

“Have your sister’s boyfriend DJ. Hire a professional photographer.”

“Your mum can bake the cake, but get a designer for the centerpieces.”

“You can make your own centerpieces but not the cake!”

“Have an open bar or everyone will be pissed.”

“Have a cash bar or everyone will be pissed.”

“No matter what you do…”

“If you have to cut corners…”

And so on.

So here I am, planning a wedding. A marriage of words, thoughts, ideas, dreams, technology, design, and marketing.

How I’m to untangle all the information and advice, I truly don’t know.

Self publishing is kind of a DIY project. (Thankfully, not all of it since DIY and I don’t really get along.)

Authors everywhere have their own ideas of exactly what you ABSOLUTELY CANNOT do yourself and what you ABSOLUTELY SHOULD NOT spend your money on. I actually like this because, through their own experiences, they are helping other writers. Which is a lovely thing to do.

However.

The differing opinions are mind-boggling.

“You must hire a digital artist for your cover.”

“You can make your own cover in Canva or even Word!”

“Don’t pay a proofreader. Have your friends look it over. Save your money for marketing.”

“Put yourself out there and sell your own book. You have to get a proofreader.”

“Find someone to format the book or it’ll be a disaster.”

“It’s easy. Just grab it from Word and upload it to Createspace.”

“Take your own author photo…”

“Get an experienced photographer…”

“No matter what you do…”

“If you have to cut corners…”

And so on.

What’s a writer to do?

 

Okay, gentle readers. I know you. I like you. I have your books. (I think you like me well enough.) I really want to know…

Did you self-publish? What were your experiences? What did you do yourself and what did you hire someone for? Any advice? I’m listening. And I’m ready to hear it.