Monday, December 17, 2012

Frohe Weihnacht und ein Gutes Neues Jahr!

These three candles symbolize faith, hope and love. The year is coming to an end, and I’ll be taking flight for the holiday, but I wanted to leave you with a few thoughts. Each year is filled with good times and bad. Here are some events that happened around the world and in the U.S. in 2012.

- Protests intensify in Syria and women and children are slaughtered
- The worst case of Presidential Election Bullying I’ve witnessed in my life
- Riot at Soccer match in Egypt kills 73 people
- Over 300 killed at a prison in Honduras
- U.S. Soldier kills 16 Afghan Civilians
- Tornadoes hit South and Midwest (17 States), killing at least 27 and injuring hundreds
- 7 Die in California School Shooting
- Job recovery slow most months
- Earthquake hits Italy killing at least 5 and leaving 3,000 homeless
- United Nations declares Civil War in Syria
- Wildfires spread in New Mexico and Colorado
- 12 killed in Colorado Theater Shooting
- Over 100 people die in Russia from floods
- U.S. Military death toll reaches 2,000 in Afghanistan
- 6 people killed at Sikh Temple shooting in Wisconsin
- Manila submerged by floods killing at least 50 people
- 4 killed when gunmen storm U.S. Embassy in Libya
- 87 deaths from West Nile
- Truce in Syria for Muslim Holiday (How nice of them not to kill anyone during a religious holiday)
- Sandusky is sentenced up to 60 years in prison for 45 counts of sexually abusing boys.
- Meningitis spreads throughout the U.S.
- Hurricane Sandy hits east coast, killing 44, and storm changes and grows to 1,000 miles leaving 8 million without power.
- Obama wins re-election while congress and the Nation remains divided
- 26 killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School

I don’t know about you, but this list is very depressing to me. The way I see it, people all over the world have a lot of hate in their hearts. I’m not overly religious, but I have always had a strong faith and love for God. I look at this list of deaths caused by man and Mother Nature, and wonder if someone’s trying to tell us something. Maybe it’s time we start putting God (whatever God you believe in) back into our hearts, homes, courthouses, schools, and corporate buildings. We seem to have strayed, and I worry if we continue on this path, we might not be able to find our way back.

I’m looking forward to waving good-bye to 2012. I hope 2013 keeps you safe, happy and allows your dreams and prayers to come true. I’ll see you in the New Year. Frohe Weihnacht und ein Gutes Neues Jahr (Merry Christmas and a Good New Year)!

New beginnings and goals,

Thursday, December 13, 2012

I’m a Sunshine Blogger!

My bloggin’ friend, Jeri Walker-Bickett, awarded me with a Sunshine Blogger Award! It actually made me smile since I’ve been slacking in my blogging duties. I met Jeri through Goodreads after she offered to read and give my book Net Switch an honest review. Formerly a teacher, and after reading several of her book reviews, I definitely jumped at the opportunity since I felt she was more than qualified and would give me an honest review. If interested, you can go here to read her review of Net Switch. I suggest you hop on over to her blog and take a look. She has lots of things going on and she is currently working on her novel, Lost Girl Road.

Now back to my Sunshine Award. To accept this award, *takes a bow and blows kisses to the fans*, I must thank the person who gave it to me, answer some questions and then select 10 of my favorite bloggers and let them know I’ve passed it on (the award, nothing else) to them.

1)  What is your passion? My passion is to learn how to write. Not just write, but be able to transform my readers’ lives. I want incredible prose. I don’t want to fall into the self-published crack; I want people to know and remember my writing long after they turned the last page.

2)  Favorite time of the year? Autumn is my favorite time of year. I love everything about the autumn months. Here are a few things I associate with autumn: crisp weather, burning leaves, hot chocolate, mulled wine, sweaters, football, popcorn, Halloween, hay rides, changing leaves. It’s a beautiful time of year to reflect on what you accomplished, and to look forward to future goals. It’s winter and the New Year's prep time.

3)  Favorite book? I have many favorite books, but I’ll choose the one that made me say, “I want readers to feel this way about my writing”, which is The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.

John Irving’s, A Prayer for Owen Meany, also has to be added to this question. The way he hit upon sensitive subject matters without forcing his own beliefs, and the way he wrote his characters in this book is like no other.

4)  Favorite movie? Another tough question, especially since I’m not a huge movie buff. Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love It’s a Wonderful Life. It’s probably the only movie I’ve seen a gazillion times and I’m still not sick of it. What can I say, I'm an old romantic. In my opinion, it has one of the most romantic scenes in the history of film.

5)  Favorite animal? Since my birthday month is August, I’ll have to go with a lion. They’re strong and beautiful creatures.

6)  Favorite time of the day? Early in the morning, when many people are still sleeping. I think it’s so peaceful then. It’s a great time to enjoy a nice cup of coffee, write in a journal, and think about the coming day.

7)  Favorite Flower? My favorite flower is a Calla lily. I think they’re beautiful flowers. To me, they look delicate, while at the same time, somewhat obscene. Or maybe it’s my dirty mind.

8)  Favorite nonalcoholic beverage? Water. I drink water all day and night. I’ll drink coffee in the morning, maybe a tea in the afternoon, but the rest goes to water—and sparkling water. In Germany, sparkling (gas) water is popular and I’ve succumbed to their likings.

9)  Favorite physical activity? Riding a bike. When I moved to Germany, I bought my first adult bike. There are so many bike trails around where we live. Where we used to walk, now we ride. It’s great to ride around lakes and near forests, feeling the wind, my lungs and legs aching, and actually getting somewhere. It took a week for me to be able to ride 4 miles on a constant incline. The longest we rode our bikes was 15.5 miles. I’m looking forward to riding my bike again.

10) Favorite vacation? My favorite vacation was at Lake Garda, Italy. One weekend, we flew to Bologna and drove to Lake Garda. It was dark and I couldn’t see a thing…but when I saw the sunrise over the Alps, I fell in love.

I will now pass The Sunshine Award to 10 of my fellow bloggers, who may or may not claim the award, but at least they’ll know I think they’re special.

Peggy Eddleman – Will Write for Cookies
Brandon & Bryan – A Beer for the Shower
Renee, Dakota & Jessica – Books and Booze
Libby Heily – Libby Heily

Blogging Friends and Awards,

Monday, December 10, 2012

It's Time!

Since I've been working on another manuscript, I decided it was time to find a critique group or partner and/or beta readers. I didn’t have one before, but it wasn't for lack of trying. A blog friend, Jeri Walker-Bickett recently talked about her online critique partners, and I figured it was time to collaborate with many or a few to get my manuscript in order.

I posted a thread on Goodreads to get some information on reliable online critique groups along with joining Scribophile. The site looks interesting. I haven’t done anything yet to know if it will work, but I thought I’d try it out. 

Do you have a critique group or partner or regular beta readers? Are they close friends or people you've never met? 

Cheers to a great writing week!

Critiques and Writing,

Friday, December 7, 2012

A Day of Remembrance

Dear Mom,

Today is a year since death opened the door for you. That day is still so vivid of us saying good-bye and leaving the hospital in the middle of the night. I have struggled with your loss along with others. You’re always in my thoughts and there are days where I find myself overwhelmed knowing I'll never see you again—a claustrophobic pain. I miss your laugh, but what I miss most is your voice. I wish I could hear it again, even if it is to reprimand me for something.

I published my book, Net Switch, two weeks after you passed. At first, I thought about not publishing, but I was reminded that you said I had to publish after all the hard work I put into it. The book is dedicated to you. It was a great achievement of mine, but I didn’t feel much like celebrating. I’m working on another novel. Hopefully this one will become a best seller.

We made the decision to live in Germany, so I moved here in August. I have your things with me, and will be bringing more next year. They give me comfort. You might not be here with me mom, but every room will have some memory of you. We're also getting married. Who woulda thunk it? Me ... who said she’d NEVER marry.

I’m taking German classes. I know what you’re thinking; you sent us to Lithuanian school to learn Lithuanian and all we learned was how to get into trouble. Okay, I admit it, I had an attitude back then, but I’ve matured.  

It’s your favorite time of the year. Yesterday morning, I woke to a light coat of snow on the ground and I smiled up at you. We have been getting the flat in order and I think about how great it would have been if you came to stay with us for a month or 3 months at a time. You said Germany was one of the places you always wanted to visit. We could have flown to Vilnius for a week or a weekend.

This is the second Christmas without you, but I was too numb last year to feel the loss. This year ... it’s a lot harder. 

“I Love you all dearly, Now don’t shed a tear, Cause I’m spending my Christmas with Jesus this year.” –John Wm. Mooney, Jr.

There will always be a void in my life—you. May you have eternal happiness and be celebrating with your mother and father. I miss you. Saldžių sapnų, my dear mother.

Love your baby, always and forever,