Friday, May 13, 2011

Ten Things You Probably Didn't Know About Me and One Lie

I felt like sharing with all of you today! How well do you know me? In fact, you may know me as well as I know you...

So, nothing too personal. You won't find my address, social security number, and birthdate. That would just be silly. Nope, today I'm going to give you a few facts about me. Nine, in fact. And one complete lie. You have to figure out which one is they lie. (By the way, the lie was really hard to figure out. Way harder to make it convincing.) So, good luck! :D

1: I hate to cook everything but breakfast, but the only breakfast I'm good at is omletes.

2: I do not like chocolate.

3: My kids have so many legos that I once built them a fort out of them. It broke when all four of them squeezed inside.

4: I'm allergic to cinnamon. Eating it or smelling it makes my tongue numb and swollen and causes breathing problems.

5: I couldn't form a good habit if my life depended on it. Except for wearing a seatbelt.

6: My favorite food is a potato chip sandwhich with mayo. BBQ chips are the best with Doritos at a close second.

7: I'm hypoglycemic and nearly died once from low blood sugar. I remember seeing a lot of white, but not much else.

8: I get "addicted" to a new video game every week. Plants vs. Zombies will be awesome forever, though.

9: My favorite movies are Lucky Number Slevin and Boondock Saints (which I bought in the $5 bin at Walmart before it was a huge success).

10: I would rob a bank to get backstage passes to a Led Zepplin show. (Crossing fingers for that reunion show)

So, that's it! Which one just didn't fit into place? If you guess correctly, then it gets to be your turn!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

On an off note (2)

Today, it is hot out there under the Iowa sun. For those of you not familiar with the area's climate, 80's this time of the year isn't unheard of, but still unusual. Its still going to get hotter and more humid in a couple months. Sometimes it astonishes people that we can go from negative 30 in January to 70's by April. And humidity makes it the devil's playground. And for those of you in the south who are used to 80 and 90 degree weather--well, its a whole different story when you have 90% humidity to go along with it. Instead of feeling like 80 or 90, it feels more like 120 or 130. (I remember 110 in Arizona and that was so much more comfortable than 85 here in Iowa) It just isn't as fun when you are trying to breath water.

Yesterday it was worse. We hit 93 by mid afternoon. I wasn't supposed to work, but I switched my monday shift with another guy on the condition that I would work for him. I guess I should have been a little more careful there. As a delivery driver, I'm used to seeing certain people on a regular basis. The same people who complained about how cold it was this winter (and honestly, this winter was pretty mild [I say this as I remember sliding sideways on the road and nearly running into another vehicle once]) are now complaining about how hot it is outside. They complain because they aren't ready to use those air conditioners and they complain because "what is this world coming to. I tell you, it has to be global warming." (Don't even get me started on that one...

Anyway, to get back on topic. It gets to be a little annoying (I can't think of a nicer way to say that). Hearing it over and over again, you get tired of it. Not to mention, being out in that heat, 1: you already know exactly how hot it is, and 2: Do they really think you haven't already heard it a few dozen times?

So, I play nice. I have been told a few times that my snarky comments are going to get me in trouble one of these days, and with it being so hot, and me being so tired because the heat is just draining me, I keep my mouth shut with a few "yep"s and "yeah it is"s.

My last delivery, I pull up to the house and walk up, knock on the door and wait. The guy that answered the door, left me hanging out in the heat for about five minutes, so we'll just say I was a bit frustrated. He pokes his head out the door and smiles at me and says, "Man, it is hot out here. Kinda makes me miss the cold from winter."

And what does my big mouth do? It betrays me! I say (without thinking of course), "I guess so, I figured I'd be out here until it got to be that cold again."

Luckily the guy laughed it off, or I would have been in so much trouble. I guess this has been a lesson in patience.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Lounge Around Book Club

If you haven't checked it out yet, I set up a new blog of sorts. I wanted to join a book club, but finding one in Iowa isn't as easy as it seems. My best bet was to find an online book club that I had to pay to join! No thanks. So, here's what happened- I decided that if I wanted to be a part of an online book club, my best bet was to do it myself. So I did.

There is a link to the Lounge Around Book Club on my side bar if you'd like to check it out. You'll find the book list, as well as a chat box to have disscussions about the books on the list. I'm also looking for other people to join and do reviews on books that aren't on the list. So, if you are up for it, go check it out, follow,  and maybe even join.

A to Z: (Z)zzzzz's

Sleep is an important part of life. If you don't rest you will wear out your body and mind. Take me for example. I am about a week late on this post because I was so sleep deprived, I destroyed my immune system and ended up with two serious inner ear infections, strep throat, and bronchitis. That was fun (Note the sarcasm).

Anyway, as far as your characters go (because I'm always involving them), sleep is just as important to break up the action that is constantly going on in your fictional world.

Try to imagine a world where your characters weren't allowed to sleep. This is pretty easy to do if you've ever missed a night of sleep (can anyone say kids!). Think about the way you feel after you've been awake for 20 some hours. You can't focus, you hallucinate. Those are just the immediate things.

The longer someone goes without sleep, the worse things get. Someone who has gone days without their fourty winks could become seriously ill to the point of their body failing them. Not good.

So, do yourself a favor when your writing. Give your characters a break, and take one yourself to get a good nights rest.

Friday, April 29, 2011

A to Z: (Y)ou

Today's post is all about you, the reader! You guys have been so awesome this month and its really hard to believe that tomorrow the blogging challenge comes to an end. I've had a lot of fun doing these post and reading what you guys have wrote. Every day I have given advice and in return have recieved a lot through reading all your blogs, too. It has been awesome.

I'm a little hesitant to give up the constant posting. Granted, I could use a couple days next month to gather my wits and catch up on some much needed sleep, but I have one favor before I do.

Today, I ask you for advice. Being a writer is all about having a support system. We get no where on our own. Without the people we surround ourselves with, we could never get as far as getting published. So, here's what I'm asking today. In the next month, is there anything you would like to see me do? What kinds of things would you like me to blog about? What would you like to see me share? Is there anything you want to know about me?

That's it for today. Again, thanks to everyone who has blogged this month for the challenge, you guys have been awesome and its been really great getting to see your posts and pictures!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A to Z: (X) Marks The Spot

Sounds like a treasure hunt, right? Actually, going with the whole clue based nature of a treasure map, I'm going to talk about mysteries today. More specifically, how to go about creating a mystery that works. The process is really pretty simple.

First of all, you need to think of the mystery that is going to be solved. The best way to create a mystery story is to work your way from solved to the very first clue, moving backwards the whole way. Not necessary writing the whole story from the end to the beginning (wow, that would be interesting and complicated at the same time!), but figuring out what you want to be solved  and the clues that are involved and working backward until your characters are getting ready to start everything.

Vague is the name of the game with mystery. You want your readers to discover everything with your characters so showing is essential. If you tell at any point, you'll ruin the whole experience. It also requires the ability to give very vivid descriptions.

One more element that is almost central to mystery stories is the element of danger. Of course, that danger isn't always a known danger, so you can expect to have (sorry for the acme reference here) anvils dropping from the ceiling often.

I applaud anyone who writes mystery novels for something I have been unable to accomplish. I aspire to be more like those amazing people every day.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A to Z: (W)riting Exercises

What percentage of your writing would you say is for your novels, short stories, poems, etc? What percentage would you say is practice?

When I first started writing seriously (as in to be published someday), all of my writing was for novels. I joined a writing community online and that 100% changed to 85%. I started joining contests to improve my ability. I really enjoyed writing short stories for a horror contest, or the always fun 55 word stories. I have given up the writing community for a few months now (it was taking up a lot of my time) but I haven't given up the writing exercise that it provided me.

It is essential that a person can come up with a story in a matter of moments. That ability to think quickly allows us to write our characters out of corners and continually gives us improvement in our writing.

What kinds of exercises do I do these days? I journal a lot. The more often you write, the easier it becomes and the faster you get. You might start off journaling for ten minutes a day and only filling a page, but in a couple months you'll see your entries double or triple in length. Reading back on some of those entries also gives me ideas for stories. In fact, there is a sci-fi thriller in the works this very moment.

Some other exercises I do are on emotion, dialogue, and descriptions. I like to pick out a specific emotion and write a short story that portrays that emotion using various facial expressions and body language. Dialogue exercises I do usually include trying to use different dialects. Also, what synonyms people use in their speech can say a lot about them. And then descriptions. How often do you use smell, taste, and feel in your stories. We all use sight and sound regularly, but the other three have a tendency to get brushed aside. By pushing to use them more often, they add to the story and pull the reader in more.

If you exercise your muscles, they become stronger over time. If you exercise your mind, it will do the same. So, what kind of writing exercises do you do?