Friday, October 29, 2010

Not Write on Time

I planned to query Penguin Books UK regarding my novel, but time slipped away. On Twitter, I found out Penguin Books UK was accepting queries directly from writers until the end of October. Publishing companies don’t normally accept queries directly from writers, so it was a great opportunity to try and get my revisions done and query. Unfortunately, I haven’t finished my revisions to send a completed manuscript, so I’ll have to pass on this opportunity.

Even though I won’t make the deadline, I’m still revising my novel for future querying. But first, I must figure out how to write a query letter. I never thought I’d get this far to query my manuscript. I’ll need a tagline and a short synopsis, which I will research the proper way to create a query letter. It will be good for me to work on, because people keep asking what my book is about. Below is a quick synopsis—it isn’t the best, but it’s a start for tweaking..

“When Sydney meets Arcane in a chat room one Chicago weekend, she doesn’t expect their relationship to progress at full speed to the point of mental and physical possession. In order to escape and heal, Sydney must change her identity, but Arcane bleeds into her new life—forcing her new identity to finally fight back.”

It’s time to get ready for the weekend. Before I go, I thought I'd share a few pictures I took yesterday during our walk. 

This is the tunnel of an old railroad station.

And some cows we met along the way.
Holly—there are few places in Germany where it grows and we happen to find some along the trail.

Have a safe and Happy Halloween! Trick or Treat!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sprechen Sie Englisch? (Do You Speak English?)

I’ve learned to pronounce the above phrase very well. So far this week, I’ve become accustom to how things work in Hattingen, such as no grocery stores are open on Sunday, and gas prices average around $7.00 a gallon. Germany uses litres and it’s 3.8 litres = gallon. Here are some pictures of our flat (European term for apartment).

Below are outdoor pictures of the area where our flat is located. 

This is the hallway going toward the front door, and to the right is the kitchen.

The kitchen is small and cluttered due to the fact we have FIVE—count them—FIVE small garbages to juggle; organics, paper, regular, glass and recycled. Also, we have a freezer, dishwasher, washing machine, refrigerator and stove/oven setup in the kitchen. When you leave a flat in Hattingen, you must gut everything out—meaning take down wallpaper, take down kitchen cabinets, and all appliances, therefore, you need to set them up in your new living space.

This is the living room where we spend much of our time. Meine Liebe (my love) has his desk to do his work, and I sit on the couch with my laptop to work on my writings.

And then there’s the bathroom. Yes, it’s an adventure showering on one side of the bathtub. Because we are in the attic area of the flat, the ceiling slants as it does in all the rooms.

Another thing that is very unique about Germany are cemeteries. The burial grounds are decorated like little gardens. When we were walking through town, I saw some beautiful arrangements. I wanted to buy one, but meine liebe said those were for burials. I’m posting a few pictures of these burial arrangements that are added to the burial gardens.

Well that’s it for now. Was denken Sie? (What do you think?)

Tschüß (Good bye)

Monday, October 25, 2010

In God We Trust

Hello Everyone,

On Saturday morning, my Love went to buy a few bagels, coffee and a scale for us to weigh our luggage while I continued to finish packing. When he returned, he handed me the penny that you see in the below picture. He bought a coffee at 7Eleven and the only penny  in the drawer for change was this one. The guy working at 7Eleven asked my Love if it was all right if he gave it to him, and he said yes. 
I put the penny in my pocket to get us to Germany safely. We did arrive safe—tired, but safe. For some reason, I believe it’s a sign that my Love got this penny the morning we left the United States. This penny means something to me—a safe arrival to our Germany home—and a good life with the man who sacrificed much for me and vice versa. I will find a chain so I can wear this penny around my neck--near my heart. In a way, it’s symbolic of our love for each other, and in the "God We Trust”. My European journey begins.

I hope this finds everyone well. Take care.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

From A Distance

I thought I’d post my last Chicago post before things get a bit crazy. On Saturday, I’ll be flying to my Germany home…well…technically I’ll be flying into Amsterdam and then heading to our home in Germany. My family will take care of my Chicago home while I'm gone. The above picture is the old part of town where I will be living—about a ten minute walk from our flat.

The below picture is the church where my Love and I confessed our love for each other in June of 2009. I have a feeling it will be a place we’ll visit often. I'm hoping to make a lot of progress with my novel, win some writing contests and publish some articles.
This post is not a good-bye, just a note to let you know that the next time I post, I will be in Germany. I thank you all for following along with my blog, and hope you will continue while I explore the wonders of Europe.

Be Safe and I’ll talk to you next week.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Last Will and Testament

Next Saturday, I will be flying over the big pond to my new home for many months, and although I’ll miss family and friends, I’m so excited to experience this adventure. As I prepare for our new life overseas, my living room looks like my dressers threw up, and there are piles of things I plan on taking along. We keep tossing into our suitcases clothes, shampoos, deodorants, flavored coffee, books and much more. I’m guessing sooner or later it will start spitting them out at me. The preparation is overwhelming sometimes—calls to reduce bills, forward mail and write instructions for those taking care of my place.

 This also forced me to do something I should have done long ago—my Last Will and Testament. I thought if I died my mom would automatically get my monies, but my broker said it would go into probate—a costly process. So I decided to go online and create one, have it notarized and signed by witnesses. The process is interesting, because things you never thought about now become important, such as who would get your home, car, jewelry, and possessions you have from past generations and so on. I always stayed away from the idea of making a Will because I thought it would bring bad karma. Realistically, everyone should have one made to help family know what to do with your items while they are suffering over loss. Well, let’s hope my family will be suffering over my loss. Since I’m going to be traveling around Europe, I think it is important for me to have this prepared for the ‘just in case’ theory.

Do you have a Last will and Testament, and do you plan on revisiting it with changes?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Weekly Poem

How to Meditate
-lights out-
fall, hands a-clasped, into instantaneous
ecstasy like a shot of heroin or morphine,
the gland inside of my brain discharging
the good glad fluid (Holy Fluid) as
i hap-down and hold all my body parts
down to a deadstop trance-Healing
all my sicknesses-erasing all-not
even the shred of a 'I-hope-you' or a
Loony Balloon left in it, but the mind
blank, serene, thoughtless. When a thought
comes a-springing from afar with its held-
forth figure of image, you spoof it out,
you spuff it off, you fake it, and
it fades, and thought never comes-and
with joy you realize for the first time
'thinking's just like not thinking-
So I don't have to think

Jack Kerouac

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Ticking of the Clock

Have you ever sat waiting for something or someone with tingling fingers and toes—your heart screaming for room? The clock keeps you company while at the same time antagonizes you under its control? You feel sorry for yourself that you’ve given so much attention to an object, and begin to move about to take your mind off the original obsession. The clock is just the medium for a scientific way of flowing one moment into the next.

Time tricks us into thinking nothing is happening while it withdrawals from our life account—deposits don’t exist. We keep time in our daily lives, a friend we unconsciously rely on. I don’t mind playing the waiting game with time on my ‘hands’. I’ve walked with time as I got my college degree. I used time wisely and at moments, wanted to deposit some time into my account. It felt like time stood still when death visited my family, and sprinted when my birthdays came around. I’ve accepted time as a friend—to walk with me through good times and bad.

The ticking of the clock is the rhythm of our lives, and I hope this rhythm ticks on for a long time with the love of my life.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Tag! Meme Questions

I was tagged by my writing buddy, Kara to answer a few meme questions. For those wondering what meme is, I thought I’d give you a little definition. "Meme is an idea or element of social behavior passed on through generations in a culture, especially by imitation." So I will answer these repeated questions and pass them along to others.

1) If you could have any superpower, what would you have? Why?

Interesting question, but I’ve always known what superpower I’d want—invisibility. Being invisible would allow me to move around without notice and listen in on conversations. If I submitted any works for publishing, I could hear what they thought about my writing. I could sneak into friends and families houses and listen to their conversations, and find out if they’re talking good or bad about me. Invisibility opens up possibilities, such as blackmail. Just kidding.

2) Who is your style icon?

I read Kara’s blog about writing and/or fashion style icon. I’d have to go with writing icon, since I don’t have any fashion sense to talk about.

My big writing icon is Carlos Ruiz Zafon. I read his book, The Shadow of the Wind, and was literally enraptured by his story, and devoted to his characters. It was the first book I ever read and said, “I want to write like that.” The dialogue in his book is so real, and I have to point that out because many books move away from real dialogue. Dialogue strengthens your characters, which ultimately strengthens the story.

3) What is your favorite quote?

This is a tough question because there are so many wonderful quotes out there. My bedroom walls are full of phrases and quotes from books, movies and authors. Many of these come from Shakespeare, one who feeds inspiration from his works. To be fair, I have to quote from a book, movie, and authors. These are not the only quotes I love, but ones I’ve voiced before.

Book: This is from another one of my favorite books, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. This quote comes from the narrator, Death when he talks about Liesel, the main character.

“She was the book thief without the words. The words were on their way, and when they arrived, Liesel would hold them in her hands like the clouds, and she would wring them out like the rain.”

Movie: This is from one of my favorite movies, It’s a Wonderful Life. Clarence, the angel writes it in a book he leaves for George Bailey.

“Dear George, Remember no man is a failure who has friends. Thanks for the wings, Love, Clarence.”

Author(s): I must quote two authors since I am trying to become one myself.

Shakespeare – “All hearts in love use their own tongues; Let every eye negotiate itself and trust no agent.”

Samuel Johnson – “It is always a writer’s duty to make the world better.”

4) What is the best compliment you’ve ever received?

In my days of bartending, I was talking to one of my bar regulars about life. It was early on in the day, so no, he wasn’t drunk yet. We were discussing our pasts and presents, and things we would like in life, and he turned to me with this serious face and said, “If I had a daughter, I’d want her to be just like you.” I actually got tears in my eyes when he said it.

5) What playlist/CD is in your CD Player/iPod right now?

I don’t have a particular CD on my iPod. I have a favorites playlist and the last song I listened to on it was “Back to the Earth” by Rusted Root.

6) Are you a night owl or a morning person?

Up until two years ago, I was a night owl. Now I wake early—carpe diem.

7) Do you prefer dogs or cats?

Definitely dogs and definitely at someone else’s house. I’m not the typical writer, who owns a dog, cat, or both. I’m use to flying solo.

8) What is the meaning behind your blog name?

I picked Skipping Stone Memories because what I post here are memories. Skipping Stones is from a pastime of throwing stones across a body of water and trying to make the stone skip on top. Since I am not posting all of my memories, meaning I’m skipping many, I decided to go with Skipping Stone Memories. And my alias, Bea Sempere, is a character from The Shadow of the Wind.

So now I will tag my blog buddies!

And I tag you, my readers. Please answer the above questions and either post them as comments or send in an email from my profile.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Second Run – The Unbreakable Child

I’ve blogged before about my friend, Kim Michele Richardson’s book, The Unbreakable Child, but now it’s in its second run. This is a memoir about her abuse behind the walls of a Catholic orphanage in Kentucky. Kim wasn’t the only one who endured such abuse—there were plenty others including her sisters, all of which she has dedicated this book. Her accounts of the abuse are an agonizing journey, and sometimes left me wondering how these little soldiers of God could physically or mentally move on.

Unfortunately, some were unable to fight the demons that followed them through life. Each one of us has our limits, but Kim—the unbreakable child recovered and prospered after her abuses. It is only now when Kim decided to voice her ordeals to get the word out that none of us should tolerate abuse no matter where it occurs. Abuse happens everywhere. No one is out of reach from punishment, or exempt from taking the first step with apologies. We are human, we make mistakes, yet humans should never make some mistakes. If you click on “Search inside this book” under the cover of The Unbreakable Child, you will find Kim’s ‘Letter of Apology Request’ to the Pope and the response from the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See.

Betrayal is universal. Forgiveness takes rare character—something Kim Michele Richardson possesses. Go out to your nearest book store or order online to read about this ‘unbreakable child’.

Friday, October 1, 2010

NE thoughts 4 2Day?

As a writer, I cringe when I see words shortened—even on Twitter where there is a character limitation. I feel like it’s dumbing everyone down—EVEN WRITERS! I’ve had family laugh at my text messages, because I type out all the words. It’s very, very rare when I type B4 for before, or 2day for today, u for you. I’m on Twitter now and I find myself annoyed with these abbreviations, along with the change in spelling, like haz, teh. GAH! ‘Texting language’ seems to be a trend branching out into many areas of life.

On LinkedIn, I’ve read that ‘texting language’ is now seeping onto resumes. We keep coming up with, as I call ‘dumbing down laws’ to compensate for those unwilling to use common sense. It seems laziness is weaving itself around and taking hold of an old form of communication. When the subject is broached to others, I usually get a defensive response such as, “It’s no big deal”, or better yet, “That’s the way things are”. Is it really the way things are, or is it the way we want things to be?

I like the information I get on Twitter that I would otherwise miss, but sometimes I find myself  quickly logging off when I see too much ‘texting language’. Even though I understand the brevity of text messaging, I can’t help thinking about the destruction it does to the English language.

Any thoughts?