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. ❄️

 

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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!

 

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.

 

Is It Really Self-Doubt?

 

 

What is doubt?

When we say we’re experiencing self-doubt, what are we talking about? Self-doubt is, well, doubting yourself. Pretty simple. But I think it’s become a catch-all phrase for beating ourselves up. (And writers tend to do that a lot. Just saying.)

Let’s dissect this, shall we?

 

verb: doubt

  • 1. feel uncertain about.

disbelieve…have misgivings about…question…feel uncertain or unsure…hesitate;

 

Basically, you’re unsure. You’re questioning something (yourself, in this case).

We’d say something like, “I’m not sure this is a good idea.” Or, “I’m not certain I’m up to this.” Or even a flat-out, “I don’t think I can do this.”

Does that sound familiar?

 

Or does this?

“I’m not submitting my story. I’d never win.”

“This chapter is crap. Forget editing…I’m deleting it.”

“I can’t believe I ever thought I could write.”

“What was I thinking, calling myself an ‘author’? What a joke.”

“Everyone else is so much better.”

“No one will like this.”

“I’m a fraud.”

“I can’t write.”

“I suck.”

Does that sound doubtful? Because it sounds pretty UN-doubtful to me. It sounds certain. Which is the opposite of doubt.

It sounds like…judgment.

 

verb: judge

  • 1. form an opinion or conclusion about.

form the opinion, conclude, decide…believe, think, deem…regard as, rate as;

 

When you form an opinion (whether you think it or voice it), you are judging. Judging yourself, your work, your worth.

When you say these things, with certainty and conviction, you, my friend, do not have self-doubt, you have self-judgment. We need to differentiate between the two, call it what it is, and do something about it.

 

My Sunday thoughts in (slightly over) 200 words.ThoughtBubble


Do you really have self-doubt? Or are you judging yourself? (I know what I’m doing… And I intend to stop. Easier said than done, but I’m damn sure going to try.)

 

People are like stained-glass windows…

 

 

People are like stained-glass windows.
They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.”

~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

 

 

It’s easy to sparkle and shine when there’s light in your life. When you reflect what external sources provide.

There is beauty in a stained-glass window as sun gleams off it.

It’s more difficult when life is cold and dark. When you must rely on your internal flame.

Oh, the breathtaking beauty of a stained-glass window that glows in darkness.

Light yourself a candle, gentle readers.

 

 

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

Still taking a little blogging break but wanted to share this magnificent quote from Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. It is speaking to me now. I’m trying to keep a candle burning. Hope you all are, too.

 

photo source

There’s Gonna Be Some Changes Around Here (Oh, and a #CoverReveal)

 

Been talking a lot about joy. Making changes, both on and offline, and living the most joy-filled life I can. (Trying, at least.)

There’s been some dancing in the rain, eating of chocolate, drinking of wine, deleting of emails…

Also, a social media makeover, hugging trees, letting go of lists, listening to AC/DC, saying “NO” to things, and “YES!” to others.

What I’ve noticed very recently is that I’m starting to slip. I’m swamped, drowning, stressed…

So I’m going to revisit my list of things that are important (my health, my family, self care…) and things that are not, then adjust my life and time accordingly. Which means I may or may not be blogging regularly. I have a lot going on. I will not blog when it overwhelms my already-overwhelming life. But I will blog when it brings me joy.

You know what else brings me joy? Writing. I’m currently (happily) working on my novel (due out 2018) and have finished my second collection of flash fiction due out this fall. Cover completed. Formatting now. 🙂

 

 

Thank you, gentle readers, for your continued encouragement and support. Whether it’s been on social media, behind the scenes, or on this blog where you’ve read, liked, commented, and created the amazing atmosphere I love here at Lemon Shark.

On the Edge of a Raindrop will be available Fall 2017.  🙂

 

Thanks, again, to the lovely Rachael Ritchey for designing my cover.

The Day My Muse Sent Her Sister

 

 

“Oh, no,” I gasped.

She rolled her eyes.

“What did I do to deserve this?” I whined. She’d only visited once before, when I’d stopped writing and started wallowing in self-pity. I didn’t know why, but I knew I was in for it. My muse’s sister is a diva.

“Let’s get this over with,” she huffed. “I’ve got a manicure at three.”

I turned my chair to her. “Fine.”

She put her hand on her hip. “You’re not funny. I mean, your sense of humor is so dry, it needs a chaser. Or a shot of tequila. Or both.”

“Yeah, I know.”

She started ticking off my offenses on her fingers. “You’re sarcastic and snarky.”

“I’ve been called worse.”

“Every once in a great while, you manage a bit of wit but that’s it. And you’re completely crazy with your alliteration and internal rhyming.”

“I’m not the only one,” I mumbled.

“Also, the adverbs.”

“Whoa, now… I am firmly in the adverb camp. I don’t care what the ‘experts’ say, adverbs are very cool. Seriously.”

“Oh, and, you’re a commaholic. So there’s that.”

“Yes, well…”

“I’m running out of fingers to count your faults.” She crossed her arms and began tapping her foot. “What’s with the fragments?”

“Love ‘em. Huge fan. Big, big fan of fragments.”

She raised one eyebrow, “Not that I mind, personally, but you swear.”

“Sometimes. Like the smooth ones that effortlessly slide into a conversation and enhance the hell out of it.” I smiled. “I’m picturing Rhett standing by the door, ready to walk out but turning to Scarlett and saying, ‘Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.’ What a spectacular moment.”

“Actually, it was,” she swooned. “But watch your mouth.”

“No, no. See, I’m trying to be more…me. Not giving a damn what others think.”

“Honey, you should care what I think because… Eh, keep the swears. But I’m about to call the parentheses police on you!!!”

I bit my lip, “I do have a lot of those, don’t I? Still, would you mind not using so many exclamation points?” I held my stomach. “I think I’m exclamation point intolerant.”

Excuse me?” She glared.

I lifted my chin and smirked. “Glares are fine.”

She flipped her hair over her shoulder. “You. Are impossible.”

“Was this supposed to help me with something?”

“No. I’m here for the fun of it. I love spending my time with writers,” she spat the word.

I leaned back in my chair. “Still not clear what this was supposed to accomplish.”

“Don’t even.”

“I won’t, erm, even.”

She looked around. “I do like what you’ve done with the place. It’s not me but,” she tapped her chin. “Very…you.”

“Thank you…” I waited.

“Are we done here?”

“Hey, you’re the one who…”

“Whatever.” She waved her hand. “You should cut back on the ellipses, too. When’s the new book coming out?”

“Ah. I see. Well, the collection of short fiction will be published this fall. The novel, next summer.”

“Good.” She was already walking away. “I’ll let Miss Muse know.”

 

 

Please check out Diana’s hilarious post about her muse. Thanks, Diana, for the fun read and inspiration to spend some quality, fictional time with our own muses. (Or, you know, their siblings.) 😉

 

Image source

My Virtual Facelift

 

You’ve probably noticed I’ve been taking stock lately. Assessing. Appraising. You know…having a mid-life crisis.

In a good way. And without the new cherry-red corvette.

I’m trying to get my sh*t together. Deciding what truly matters to me. Getting rid of what I don’t care about and making room for what I do care about.

Part of this wonderful evaluation was the rediscovery of joy last week. (Which I intend to keep up.)

Another part of this includes online stuff, such as my little Lemon Shark and its sister, Lemon Shark Reef. As you can see, there’s been some changes around here.

I’ve talked about how far removed from myself I’ve become. This space (as well as my other online platforms) has not represented me or my writing for a long while. I decided to do something about that. I went ahead and got a virtual facelift.

I’m remodeling. Seeing what works. Creating something that brings…wait for it…joy. I’m feeling more at home here already.

Oh, and that picture up there? It’s all mine. It’s me. I’m in love with that amazing, gritty, broken, beautiful heart. It speaks to me. It also captures my writing perfectly. Darkness, emotion, imperfection, beauty… I call it my distressed heart. Yup, that’s about right.

It was tough to think about getting rid of so much. I tend to stick with stuff. (I haven’t changed anything in three years.) But, when the time came, it was easy to do.

It’s freeing to let go. When our hands are empty of what we no longer need, they’re able to reach for what we now want.

 

My Sunday thoughts in (slightly over) 200 words.

ThoughtBubble

Why do we hold on to things that no longer suit us? Are we afraid of change? Do we become too comfortable or set in our ways? Or do we just put it off for “another day” until we realize two years have gone by?

 

Raindrops on Roses & Whiskers on Kittens

 

 

I’m on my laptop, concentrating on work, when it starts to rain. I mean pouring rain. Like, build-an-ark rain. And it’s one of those sudden, out-of-nowhere downpours.

I go to the window, lean against the pane, and smile. I actually smile. And you know what I’m thinking? I’d love to go dance in that.

Then I check myself, turn away, and start back to my computer.

That’s when I hear screaming.

I run back to the window, all adrenaline and responsibility, ready to do what I can about whatever is happening. I am not, however, prepared for what I see.

Two children, across the street, are running around in circles, squealing in delight as the rain soaks them.

It is in that moment I realize how far away from myself I have moved. How lost I’ve become.

I know this. I’ve been working on it but, it is in times like these that I become aware of how much work I still have ahead of me.

When did I lose myself so completely? When did I lose the ability to follow my joy outside into the summer rain?

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

 

FYI: I did it. I really did. After a short pause, I said, “F*ck it! I’m going out!” And I went outside and danced in my yard, not caring what my neighbors thought. If they want to gossip about the crazy lady who was spinning around and laughing in the pouring rain last week, let them. Let them!

When is the last time you followed your joy?