Thursday, September 29, 2011

Now I Know!

Back in the day when learning words and telling time were all I needed to do, I remember my grandmother teaching me how to read from the Dick and Jane books. They were vintage books used to teach children to read from the ‘30s into the ‘70s, and are still sold today. There was a lot of repetition in them, such as “Look. Look Up. Look Up at the sky”, so it was easy for children to learn words and sentences. I also remember the colorful illustrations in these books.

Then many, many years passed before I had any desire to read again. When I started back, I went through a phase where I would only read Sidney Sheldon books. At the time, I had no idea how much this man accomplished with international praise for his scripts, movies, plays and novels, let alone that he was from Chicago. He thought of his writing success as a miracle. “I was born in Chicago during the Depression and both my parents were third grade drop-outs," he recalled. "My father never read a book in his life and I was the only one in the family to complete high school." His books were mostly crime fiction and thrillers. He was the only author I’d read, and that was the last time I ever stuck to only one writer. Unfortunately, Mr. Sheldon passed away in 2007, but left behind a legacy of words.

I then ventured out and started reading Mary Higgins Clark and Victoria Holt, and both of these women wrote suspense with a romantic flare. I’ll admit that I didn’t know what genre any of these writers wrote until now. I always thought they were romance novels with an ingredient of suspense. After these female authors, I started reading Sandra Brown, who also writes suspense.

I find all of this interesting because for a few years I didn’t read many women authors (this in no way suggests that women authors aren’t great writers). Since my early favorites, I’ve gone on to read many authors of both gender and all different genres. After finding out that all of my favorite writers, who got me back into reading, were suspense and thriller writers, it now makes sense that I have written a psychological suspense thriller. 

Genres are and will always be foreign to me. Each category has its definition, but some of these definitions blend in with others, such as thrillers and suspense. I believe they both go hand in hand. How can you have a thriller without suspense, and how can suspense not be thrilling? Since I’m not one who has done extensive research in genre categorization, I’ll have to leave it up to the experts.

What’s your favorite genre, or who is your favorite author? Has it changed since your earlier days of reading?

Revisions and Tea,

Monday, September 26, 2011

Literacy—Read, Write and Think!

This past summer I went to Open Books for a volunteer orientation. Open Books is all about promoting literacy in Chicago and elsewhere. They work hard, utilizing volunteers, to make young and old literate through social events, programs and field trips.

This is taken from The New York Times article by Jessica Reaves. It is estimated that about 23% of American adults do not have basic reading skills—they are unable to read directions (medications), look for employment or take care of their finances. Chicago’s illiteracy suffers with “53% of adults having low or limited literacy skills”. The numbers might not be exact  but the fact is this city and country should not have a problem with illiteracy.

Since I’m unemployed I decided to do some volunteer work, and what better place to volunteer at than with books. Today I woke up early, got ready and drove to the Open Books warehouse. It has definitely been a long time since I woke that early and had to look presentable. LOL! Anyways, when I walked into the place it was full of boxes of books donated by people. The guys working there set me up on a computer to scan the books for resale. It’s amazing how many people donate, and what is even more amazing are the books people buy. There were old 60's and 70's cook books, travel books and 80's workout books. Do you remember Susan Powter? “Stop the Insanity!” I guess this catchphrase can be used for illiteracy. 

I enjoyed my volunteer work and wanted to share my experience with you, continue volunteering and hopefully I can pay it forward. Aside from the bookstore on Institute Place, they resell books on different websites—Amazon being one of them. (The bookstore is setup so cute. The picture of the fireplace on this post is from the store.) On Amazon, the books are sold under used. So if you are ever browsing for a book, click on used and search for Open Books to help fund literacy.

My next topic has nothing to do with literacy and everything to do with winning.

Did you watch the Bears vs. Green Bay game? The outcome of this game really makes me mad because a) I don’t like Green Bay and b) the Bears could have won the game if offense knew how to block and catch, and Devin Hester learned how to keep his temper in check. *rant over*
Have a great day!

Thursday, September 22, 2011


On Sunday or sometime during the week, I like to stop by the postsecret website and read people’s secrets. I enjoy the witty secrets sent in, and I think of those who are clearly in pain. Sometimes after reading them, I get writing ideas for poems or short stories. I've even learned a few things from these secrets. Here are a few of this week’s post secret’s that stood out for me.

“If postsecret has taught me anything, it is that heartache (of any kind) is not personal. It is human.” This is so true, and something to always keep in mind when you feel like you’re the only one who is going through heartache.

“I told people you were GAY because I couldn’t accept that you didn’t want me anymore” It’s sad someone felt that overwhelmed by not being wanted that they decided to devour someone else’s reputation.

“I’m quitting my painfully torturous job to follow my dreams. I’m terrified this move is just self-sabotage. I hope I’m very wrong.” Oh boy, can I somewhat relate to this secret. My advice to this person is that following your dreams is never self-sabotage. Self-sabotage is NOT following your dreams.

We all have secrets we’d like to share with someone, yet we’re afraid of judgment and ridicule. In a sense, fiction writers can get away with incorporating their secrets into their writings and no one would be the wiser. Within our storyline, the dimensions of our characters, we can plug in a secret we haven’t shared with anyone. Or we can make one of our secrets a storyline. Writers incorporate their emotions into their writings, so secret depression or anxiety can be revealed. I hadn’t really thought about putting an actual secret into my writing. The idea is great—therapeutic in a sense.

Secrets are usually told in some way or another—in life or death. Several people live a life of secrets. There are secrets withheld to hide the past…and there are secrets that hide the turmoil inside. Secrets are exciting and dangerous, and most of all, everyone has them.

Do you tell your secrets to anyone? How do you cope with your secrets, vodka tonics, therapy, post secrets? I tell my secrets to mein Liebster or sometimes I expose them to everyone (the emotional ones) on my blog. 

One final note: My blogging etiquette has diminished over time because I haven’t thanked my followers for their company. BIG thanks to all my followers. You make blogging worth it.

Monday, September 19, 2011

First Book Publication!

I know I’ve been slow at the start of my blogging, but I’ve been working on getting my poetry e-book out and I’ve succeeded. YAY! It is now on Kindle, Nook, and Lulu.


No, Kindle or Nook?! No Problem.

If you do not have a Kindle, you may download Kindle for PC or Kindle for Mac for free to read “Sipping a Mix of Verse”.

If you do not have a Nook, you may download Nook for PC or Nook for Mac for free to read “Sipping a Mix of Verse”.

If you would like it in Adobe “.pdf” format, hop on over to Lulu for your copy of “Sipping a Mix of Verse”.

I want to thank all of you for your support and encouragement. It means so much to me, and I couldn’t have done it without you.

Have a great week! But first, don't forget to get your copy of "Sipping a Mix of Verse"!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Forgotten Precious Moments

That’s me—15 years old. Twenty-six years later and I just realized how much I have forgotten some precious moments in my life.

But let me back up a bit and give some background. Part of my heritage is Lithuanian, and like other cultures, we also have a cotillion—a formal evening ball. Our Lithuanian cotillion is called “The Amber Ball”—Amber being the national gem of Lithuania. It began with a dream of the Council General of the Chicago Lithuanian Women’s Club, Josephine Dauzvardis. She wanted a Lithuanian debutante presentation ball (although I’m sure Mrs. Dauzvardis didn’t have “me” in mind as a precious gem). During this presentation, the debutantes are presented by their fathers, and Lithuanian folk dances performed with escorts and post-debutantes. Each debutante comes out to the ballroom floor and bows before everyone.

My mother bowed in the first Amber Ball in 1961, and I bowed at the 25th Amber Ball in 1985 with my two cousins. This is a picture of me doing part of the bow. 

What prompted me to write about this is that there is a 50th Amber Ball Anniversary celebration in October. Yesterday, I started looking through the Amber Ball booklet from my year, reading through the pages, best wishes, and pictures. I haven’t looked at it in years, and I guess when I did in the past, I never REALLY saw what was written. My grandmother, who has passed away, left wishes for me, and within them stated, “Continue to follow your dreams…whatever they may be. Your success is my success.” I actually got tears in my eyes reading those words. My grandmother, Genevieve (Getling) Giedraitis was a true lady, and well…I was far from it. I was the type of teenager who argued about everything and defied what every adult said—a “don’t tell me what to do” type teenager. I wasn’t good with authority.

Now twenty-six years later, it dawns on me that I didn’t appreciate the kind of woman my grandmother was and the talent she shared with the world. My grandmother was a professional opera singer—she expressed her words through voice. I express my words through writing. Even though I didn’t REALLY read what my grandmother wrote, or maybe I had forgotten, I did follow her wishes. I followed my dreams of writing…And grandma, if you’re looking down, my success IS your success. God Bless You!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Website, Book Trailer, and Publication, Oh My!

Hello Everyone,

I’m back! First, I want to wish everyone a wonderful autumn season. I know it officially hasn’t started yet, but where I’m from, it has. This is my favorite season of the year because it embodies so much of my favorite things; sweaters, jeans, FOOTBALL, beer, popcorn, burning leaves, mulled wine and so much more. I’m sure some of you are shaking your heads no, dreading the cold that will creep back into our lives soon.

Even though my blog has slept, I have been busy behind the scenes. On a personal level, my Love returned to Germany because he didn’t find a job. I’m still looking for a job too and working on my writing life. *drum roll*

I have officially launched my “author website.” This is a task I’ve been working on for months. It’s amazing how you think you have it completed and then you find a grammatical error, or something isn’t working properly. I’ve tested and tested, but I finally have to understand that it will look different on others' computers.

Stop on by and visit my author website.

Along with my website, I’ve been working on my book trailer for my poetry e-book. I have never created a trailer and I wasn’t quite sure how I should put it together. Most book trailers give short synopses of their book. I couldn’t quite do that with a poetry book, so I put in some lines from my poetry. You can find the trailer on my website, but here’s the YouTube video.

This is the beginning of my writing promotion and I would truly appreciate it if you could share my information with anyone and everyone.

Have a great day!