I Am a Dragon

 

 

Dragons hoard treasure in their lairs. Gold, mostly, but the occasional jeweled chalice or silver goblet can be found.

As you know, Smaug did it. And now all the cool mythological reptiles are doing it. Because. Tolkien.

Actually…

This trope dates back to Beowulf which was written during the time period academics call, “A wicked frickin’ long time ago.” That’s the earliest literature I can think of where a dragon is hoarding gold.

“the…dragon…is driven to hunt out hoards underground, to guard heathen gold through age-long vigils…” – Beowulf

It’s a thing. It just is.

In the wonderful world of Harry Potter, dragons are used to guard treasures in Gringotts Bank. (But, let’s not go there. Evil lurks in the hearts of goblins.) In the Goblet of Fire, one of the trials in the Triwizard Tournament is to get an egg from a dragon. A golden egg.

I know what you’re thinking (or maybe not). Why gold? I mean, the dragon can’t walk into a cobbler’s shop and order shoes. Can’t buy a Van Gogh. The gold is useless. Precious…but not enjoyed. Just hoarded. So…why? And where am I going with this?

I hoard books.

I have a TBR (To Be Read) pile that is large enough to fill half my house. There are books I’ve been meaning to read and ones I’ve already read that I won’t part with. A dragon could sleep, curled up, quite comfortably on top that pile. I could have a party on there with room to spare. I could send invitations with an option to bring a guest and still we’d be able to move about freely.

If I live another 100 years, I will never get a chance to read them all.

I am just like the “dragon jealously guarding its gold hoard…” *

Things don’t usually go well for these dragons. I know this.

Yet…that’s me. The greedy book-loving word nerd who jealously guards its book hoard. Unlike a dragon’s gold, books are not useless, they are priceless. But what good are they if they’re sitting here, staring longingly at me from their shelves? I should be ashamed. That I don’t give my books away. That I breathe fire at anyone attempting to steal from my pile. That I hoard in the first place. Alas, I am not ashamed. And I continue to collect and hoard. *sigh* I’ve learned nothing.

Except that I am a dragon.

 

Am I a reader or a collector? Hmm… Do you hoard books or do you buy, read, give away, repeat, and keep your pile manageable? I’m wicked curious how many book-lovers out there actually have a manageable TBR pile.

 

Photo source

* Quote source

 

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Shifting Focus

 

 

Self. 

It’s a tiny, loaded, powerful word.

For people whose natural inclination is to take care of others, using time and energy to care for themselves can be upsetting. Depending on the person, it varies from slightly uncomfortable to downright distressing.

When faced with the idea, there may be a freak-out: “What?! Myself? How will…? What can…? I can’t do that!”

You can. You really can.

Here’s a thing I’ve realized.

If you have a tendency to focus on others, it’s difficult to shift that focus. It may seem unlikely to happen. Impossible even. When you begin focusing on your Self, you’ll find a thought popping up often (the persistent little bugger):

“If I’m spending all that time taking care of myself, I won’t be able to take care of anyone else!”

Wrong.

“If I’m spending all that time taking care of myself, I won’t be able to take care of everyone else!”

That’s it, my friends.

 

Take that in. Accept it. Embrace it.

 

My random thoughts in 200 words or less.ThoughtBubble

You can’t do it all.

Don’t be that person. The harried, stressed, wreck who tries to help everyone and tries to do everything to the detriment of his or her Self, family, health, relationships…whatever.

Yes, this means you have to make decisions. When will you agree? When will you decline? Choose wisely. And ditch the guilt. (It can be done. I have faith in you.)

 

A lot has happened since I chose ‘Self” as my One Word for 2018. Some of it good. Some of it not so good. All of it eye-opening. Take care of yourselves, gentle readers.

 

Writer’s Reading Corner – Sarah Brentyn #amreading #shortreads #literature #FridayReads

Happy to be spending a little time over at Teri Polen’s ‘Writer’s Reading Corner’ today chatting about a favorite story that influenced my writing.

Books and Such

Stories that affect us don’t always have to be full length novels.  Sometimes, they’re short stories, and today’s author shares how one in particular changed her life and helped shape her writing career.  Welcome Sarah Brentyn!

Winning the Lottery

It won’t surprise most of you that the last book I read is not a book. It’s a short story.

I was introduced to “The Lottery” during a lit class for my undergrad degree.

It spoke to me.

It said something like, “Hey! You, there! College chick. Check me out. I’m short and spectacular. I mean, seriously, I’m awesome. Read me again!”

I did. And still am (obviously) many years later.

One dark and stormy (actually, it was clear and starry) night in January, I decided to revisit this favorite. I fell asleep thinking about it, woke up thinking about it.

I could not stop thinking about it.

Her writing…

She weaves different…

View original post 527 more words

The Blogging Snow Globe

 

 

Lemon Shark’s Blog Tip (for WordPress).

Let’s have a bit of silliness. ‘Tis the season to be silly.

 

The Blogging Snow Globe:

My blog started snowing a little over a week ago. I was way too excited about the whole thing.

I realized I had never turned the Blogging Snow Globe off and it announced December in the most delightful way. (Please don’t search for “Blogging Snow Globe”—I made it up.)

If you find these blog flakes hideous and annoying, swim away…

For those of you who are seeing other blogs with bits of snow and are jealous bitter curious, keep reading.

Okay, bloggers, hold on to your winter hats. We’re gonna make it snow. It’s really difficult so try to keep up. Ready?

 

Go to your Dashboard (through WP Admin).

Dashboard > Settings > General

If you see Title, Tagline, Timezone, Date…you’re in the right place. (FYI: Your site icon is there so, if you’ve been looking for that, boom! There it is.) Scroll down until you see “Snow”. Seriously. It actually says “Snow”. And, next to that, it says: “Show falling snow on my blog until January 4th.”

Click the box.

 

Your blog is now snowing. ❄️ And will automatically stop on January 4th. You are like a frickin’ weather wizard. (You know you want to do this in real life.)

 

Go to your Dashboard (through The-Powers-That-Be Admin).

Dashboard > Life > Weather

Scroll down until you see “Show falling snow for the weekend that melts by my Monday morning commute.”

Click the box.

 

 

❄️ Happy blogging days, my friends. ❄️

 

Wedgwood and Wine

 

Delighted to be over at Sue Vincent’s place today, sharing the story of Tracy and her family’s not-so-perfect Christmas dinner. I enjoyed writing this one. It’s not a feel-good holiday feast and involves family drama, fine china, and a Prince Charming…of sorts. You can read it here: Wedgwood and Wine

Ani (Sue’s adorable ‘Small Dog’) invited me to write a story for her Advent posts this year. Do think about sending Ani your letters, stories, or holiday memories this season.

 

 

Wedgwood and Wine

Sarah Brentyn

 

“That’s not how it happened,” Terri barked.

“Maybe…” Tracy began.

“Who cares,” Kim interrupted, “I want to hear more about Tracy’s new ‘boyfriend’.”

“He had a…” Tracy said.

“No, no,” Mark gestured with his beer, “let’s hear more about this supposed thing I said about Tracy. I hurt her wittle feelings?”

Britney laughed. “It’s bullshit. Like her new job.”

“Tracy?” Her mother glared. “Don’t just stand there like an idiot.”

Tracy concentrated on smoothing her velvet dress, which was quite free of wrinkles.

She swore the merlot wouldn’t flow this Christmas but found herself holding a crystal goblet like a life vest in the storm that was her family.

Slow sips, at first, then an empty wine glass. More merlot and wishes of civility or, at the very least, quiet.

It was a gift she wouldn’t get. Dinner was excruciating. Six courses served with cruelty and foie gras on floral Wedgwood china.

 

Wedgwood and WineContinue Reading…

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New Book for Christmas – On the Edge of a Raindrop

 

On the Edge of a Raindrop is on the shelves as a “New Book for Christmas” at Sally’s.

Sally Cronin is a generous, supportive, and prolific blogger with her own, lovely virtual book shop: Sally’s Cafe & Bookstore. Take a peek at the post and browse through her bookstore while you’re there. Thank you, Sally! ❤

Delighted to share the new collection of Flash Fiction from Sarah Brentyn published on November 23rd. On The Edge of a Raindrop. Perfect for lovers of short stories with an edge… Continue Reading…

 

 

I also had a wonderful surprise this morning. I must say, it made my day to see a lovely review on Terry Tyler’s blog for On the Edge of a Raindrop:

there are some beautiful and haunting snapshots of subjects’ lives, perfectly written and evocative.

Sometimes, I could see a whole life in a paragraph, so insightful and artfully captured are they. I think the collection would be enjoyed by anyone who likes to read poetry, or just admires the well drawn sentence.

Thanks, Terry!

 

On the Edge of a Raindrop ~ Published #NewRelease

 

 

My lovely, little flash collection is here!

On the Edge of a Raindrop is now available in eBook.

As I mentioned in my post, Hinting at Happiness: “Good flash fiction packs a punch. It heightens emotional responses, engages readers, makes them think…and keeps them thinking.”

I hope to engage readers this way with a glimpse of lives on the edge.

Thanks to all my amazing tweeps, lovely blogging friends, and fellow writers who supported and encouraged me. You are, all of you, awesome. ❤

 

Blurb for On the Edge of a Raindrop:

 

WHEN YOU’RE ON THE EDGE, IT’S EASY TO FALL

These are stories of lives on the edge.

A girl tortured by the world within her. A boy powerless to escape his home. A mother doomed to live with her greatest mistake. A man lost in a maze of grief.

 

Each raindrop provides a microscopic mirror of ourselves and those around us. But we can’t always trust what we see. The distorted images disorient the mind, altering our view of reality.

This second collection of flash and micro fiction explores the depths of the human condition and the fragile surface of our perceptions.

Dive into these tales of darkness and discover what life is like On the Edge of a Raindrop.

 

Each selection is approximately 100 words, with a bonus section of Microbursts in which each story is told in 50 words or less.

 

Available:

eBook

Paperback (coming soon)

 

On the Edge of a Raindrop will be FREE November 26th, 27th, & 28th so…download your copy!

 

 

Guest Author – Sarah Brentyn

I’m super excited to be the featured author over at D. G. Kaye’s blog. Debby (an ENFJ, by the way), has interviewed me on a number of subjects including my personality status (INFJ), time management (an oxymoron), and Buffy the Vampire Slayer (influence on my writing or fantastic cult classic)… Hmm…
Oh, yes, and my upcoming books. 🙂

You can read the post here: Guest Author Feature – Sarah Brentyn

The post is so pretty, with covers and book trailers. And here’s Debby’s fantabulous intro:

 

I was thrilled when Sarah accepted my invitation to visit here because she reminds me of those reclusive movie stars who’d rather stay hidden behind her words, only I’ve noticed she’s stepped out and done a few interviews this year, and I’m glad that I’ve managed to snag her over here too.

Sarah is known for her micro-fiction. She can tell a story using minimal words that have a tendency to linger long after you’ve read them.

 

Thank you, Debby! ❤

Please go check out my off-the-cuff responses and have yourself a chuckle. Or throw tomatoes. Either way.

 

Hinting at… Happiness?

 

 

What does a Harvard University professor have to do with flash fiction? Nothing. And everything. Or, at least, something.

I’ve thought for a long time now that good flash fiction packs a punch. It heightens emotional responses, engages readers, invites them to be a part of the story, makes them think…and keeps them thinking.

As I said in a recent guest post at D. Wallace Peach’s blog, “I want to make readers wonder what the hell just happened then decide for themselves three hours later because they can’t stop thinking about it.” Well, I’ve found a bit of scientific proof on why that could be a good thing.

Daniel Gilbert is a professor, psychologist, writer, speaker, award-winner, and all sorts of other cool stuff. He’s done numerous studies on our ability to imagine the future, anticipate outcomes, make decisions, and how all these things affect our happiness. He’s written and talked about it. A lot. You should check him out.

But what I’d like to focus on today is one study he referred to in an interview on NPR: Why We’re Bad At Predicting Our Own Happiness — And How We Can Get Better. Participants watched a movie. Some got to see the end and some did not. (I know, right? Gah!) Here’s part of the transcript:

 

GILBERT: Well, there’s no doubt that uncertainty can amplify emotions

We did a study in which people watched a movie. And for some of the people in our experiment, we didn’t let them watch how the movie ended. We didn’t let them see what happened to the main character. Now, if I asked you, which of these two movies would you rather see, 100 percent of the hands go up and say, I’d like to see the end of the movie, please.

But what we discovered was people who didn’t see the end of the movie liked it more, thought about it for longer, were still engaged in it and still enjoying it, even hours or days later. They didn’t see what happened to the last – the main character in the end, and so they kept wondering, gosh, I wonder if he went to college or he became a football player. What an interesting thing to be thinking about and enjoying.

 

Look at that: “people who didn’t see the end of the movie liked it more, thought about it for longer, were still engaged in it and still enjoying it, even hours or days later.”

You see where I’m going with this…

Flash fiction.

I know it’s not exactly the same thing but, wow, it really is similar if you think about it. I mean, you read a flash. And, although it often has a beginning, middle, and end…it hints. You finish the story with some fulfillment but with questions clinging to your brain.

A good flash story will give you enough to sink your teeth into but leave you wondering what happened before, what could happen next, what is going on around the edges of the story.

Readers might enjoy the story better when they use their imagination and creativity. Or not. Just a theory. Either way, they’ll most likely be thinking about it a bit longer, engaging a bit more, and perhaps even be a bit happier as they ponder all the possibilities.

 

The Breakfast Club #FoodInFilm

 

 

Five high school students, profoundly different, thrown together on a Saturday at school for detention. Hilarity and drama ensue. Obviously. It’s an 80s flick.

The characters are stereotypical and over-the-top representations of a brain (nerd/geek/academic/unpopular), an athlete (jock/varsity guy/popular), a basket case (outcast/odd/loner), a princess (rich/pretty/spoiled/popular), and a criminal (trouble-maker/rebel/misanthrope).

When I saw the Food in Film blogathon, I immediately thought of this. Yes, the title has a meal in it. That’s not why we’re here. I want to talk about the lunch scene. Aside from being comical, the food (and presentation of it) personifies each character. You can learn (almost) everything you need to know them from a 3-minute clip.

 

The criminal has no lunch and takes the opportunity to harass and belittle the other students about what they’re eating.

The princess brings out an elaborate sushi tray, complete with chopsticks, and delicately pours the soy sauce.

The athlete piles a full-size bag of potato chips and cookies next to his three sandwiches, an entire carton of milk, then, almost as an afterthought, looks in his bag and digs out a banana and an apple.

The basket case discards the deli meat in her sandwich, dumping sugar on the remaining (mismatched) pieces of bread and adding sugared cereal before eyeing the rest of the kids and taking a colossal, crunchy bite.

The brain, whose lunch has been grabbed by the criminal, has an embarrassingly juvenile meal of peanut butter and jelly (with the crusts cut off), apple juice (in a juice box with attached straw), and a thermos of soup.

 

It’s just such a brilliant scene. In a few minutes, you know who these kids are and what their home life is like. Even the bags (or lack of) give viewers a glimpse of each character.

You don’t need to have seen The Breakfast Club to understand this, it won’t ruin the movie, and I barely did it justice in the description. So, please, click here to watch the lunch scene. It’s awesome.

 

Sincerely yours, the Breakfast Club

 

I simply can not write a Food in Film post without mentioning Rusty from Ocean’s Eleven. Even with a cast of top-notch actors and fab performances, he still stands out. Why? Well, one reason is that he’s eating or drinking in pretty much every scene. I find this kind of hilarious and a fun little fact that many who have seen this movie notice. And talk about. And laugh about. And, apparently, put up on YouTube. Check this out: Rusty’s Food Supercut

When others are fretting, fighting, planning, spying, whatever…Rusty is eating. He is also doing many other things but this becomes a character trait. One that sticks in the minds of viewers.

As writers, this is one thing you can (and really should) do for your characters. Give them a quirk, a habit, something that makes them a bit more three-dimensional and memorable.

 

Hey, writer friends, here’s something to chew on: How does food feature in your story?  What does your main character like to eat? Are there any foods he or she hates? Why? Also, as in the case of Rusty here, what food-related habits does your character have (if any)? 

 

 

 

This post is part of the Food in Film Blogathon hosted by Speakeasy and Silver Screenings. Thanks to Kristina and Ruth for this fun, foody blogathon. #FoodInFilm2017

 

photo source IMDb

photo source IMDb