Happy Easter


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Happy Easter, everyone!

For those who don’t believe, feel free to take my blessings for you to have a wonderful day.  May you be blessed with good health, and prosperity.  May you surround yourself with friends and family, eat healthy, enjoy the outdoors and save me a chocolate egg or two.

For those of you who are Christian like me, let us not forget our faith and what Easter means to us.  Dear Lord, I pray:

O Lord,

As the world sings triumphant cries to heaven over death that You conquered, help us, Lord, tomorrow as well, when the dresses are put away and the candy is all eaten and on with life we go let us not forget.

The celebration of Your Resurrection over death is a celebration of life that should continue well beyond the sunrise service and the music, rehearsed for days prior; it is beyond the sign of spring, beyond the lily, beyond new lambs grazing in open fields.

Resurrection is a daily celebration over fear; man’s greatest and most powerful enemy. Fear of tomorrow, fear of our yesterdays, fear of what shall become of our young, our old, our unborn. Resurrection is replacing fear with physical action.

This alone, the most touching and profound of Your signs that fear is dead and belief in You brings, not just hope but life.

What better living parable could You have brought? All fear death. All. Even in the garden, You took on our fear if for only moments, it was as real as our fears can be real and You knew then that this single enemy must be destroyed.

And, You sacrificed Your life, leaving those who had been comfort, and follower; You left them behind, to conquer fear.

I shall cling to this now, and the tomorrows given me.

Peace and Thanksgiving lifted unto You.

Amen.
(author unknown)

cross on the hill

“If you could” Friday!!!


Good day, peeps of the world!  Big hugs to all.

I have a very fun “If you could” Friday question for you.

 

fairy castleIf you could be any animated Disney character EVER, who would you be and why?

 

I would want to be Cinderella so I could have a fairy godmother and wear that beautiful ball gown, go to a castle and dance at a ball with my prince and live happily ever after.  I’d forego the glass slippers though, as I hate wearing shoes.  Love looking at them, don’t like wearing them.

 

Ok, your turn.  🙂

 

One More Day


Today is the day to reveal my big secret!!  Are you ready?  Here it comes…

I’m a published author…AGAIN!!!

J. Taylor Publishing has accepted my YA short story, Dragon Flight, to appear in their new YA anthology, One More Day, due for release in e-book and print December 2, 2013.  Click here for the official press release.

I can’t believe it!  I’m so excited, and I’m especially thrilled for the new authors who are getting published for the 1st time!!!  Way to go!!  May this be the first of many!!

I’ll keep you posted on more details as they become available.  Right now, I have to go squeal with happiness.  🙂

In the meantime, go ahead and add it to your Goodreads list!

goodreads-badge-add-plus

Name the dragon and win


My son gave me this little guy yesterday.

my bearded dragonIt’s a bearded dragon.  Isn’t he cute? The only problem is he doesn’t have a name, and I can’t think of one that suits him.  I played around with Frodo, and while it sort of fits, it’s not ‘him’.  I need help naming him, and that’s where all of you come in.

How would you all like to play a game of name the dragon?  Never played?  Here how it goes:

  • Between now and April 5, post the coolest name you can think of right here on this post.  
  • You can enter as many times as you want as long as you submit different names.
  • Think interesting, unusual
  • Game ceases at midnight on April 5.  

On April 6, my family and I will review all the names and decide on one.  The person who comes up with the winning name, will win his/her choice of one of the following J. Taylor Publishing YA novels, either in e-book or paperback:

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Are you ready to play???  If so, let the naming begin!

NOTE: Contest is open to US residents only.

Sunday Snippet Critique Blog Hop


sunday_snippets critique blog hop image

It’s that time again, chickadees!  In this hop, participants post 250 words of their work in progress to be critiqued.  Then everyone hops around to critique others.   Want to get involved?  Click here for the rules, and leave a comment to have your name added to the list.

Here is my addition to the hop this week.   This is the beginning of Chapter 3 of my novel, In the Shadow of the Dragon King.  We are back with Eric in this piece.  Feel free to hack away.

Chickens squawked and scattered.  Grain wagons carrying fresh apples creaked over the cobblestones as servants hurried toward the kitchens with baskets of freshly picked berries and vegetables.  Chaotic shouts from the courtyard carried to Eric’s ears as dozens of domestics scrambled to prepare the courtyard for King Gildore’s and Queen Mysterie’s arrival.

Eric smiled at the thought of Their Majesties return.  They’d been away for a year, scouting for educators for the new university, set to break ground in a few months.  Word had it they accomplished their mission, and some of the sharpest minds from lands far away would arrive upon its completion.

Hirthinians were ecstatic, for the addition of a major learning center meant growth and prosperity to the kingdom.  Already, children and adults alike were learning to read and write in schools erected and staffed by the royal family.  A university would open opportunities, not only for Hirthinians, but to neighboring realms as well.  Others would arrive from lands far away. Trade and commerce would expand.  The small royal town of Hammershire would grow into a major city, a universal hub of activity. The dream for everyone to live with wealth, honor and grace in a land of opportunity and hope was one of many reasons the residents of the kingdom adored their king and queen.  It is also why they felt compelled to descend upon Gyllen castle and Hammershire to welcome them home.

Eric’s insides flitted with excitement, eager to hear about the royal couple’s adventures and plans.  His excitement was short-lived, however, when Sestian barged through the open barn doors, panting, his hair a mess and his clothes askew.

“Eric, you’ve got to ask Trog for permission to attend festival.”

334drRageG

Click on over to these great writers to check out and critique what they’ve posted!

Note:  Those who have not been participating have been removed.

http://mermaidssinging.wordpress.com/

http://caitlinsternwrites.wordpress.com/

http://ileandrayoung.com

http://jennifermeaton.com/

http://richardleonard.wordpress.com

http://jordannaeast.com

http://itsjennythewren.wordpress.com/

http://wehrismypen.wordpress.com

http://jlroeder.wordpress.com

http://letscutthecrap.wordpress.com/

http://ashortaday.wordpress.com

http://mandyevebarnett.com/

http://www.michellezieglerauthor.com

Don’t dangle your participle in front of me


There are few things that get to me more than hearing people pronounce words incorrectly or use them the wrong way.  My biggest pet peeve in the world is the infamous use of the word ‘at’ and ‘to’.

Why in God’s creation, do people have to put ‘at’ or ‘to’ at the end of a sentence?  You know what I’m talking about.  You’ve all heard it.

“Where’s it at?”

“Where are you going to?”

*cringe*

Hearing these two sentences or any derivative of them makes my skin crawl.  Little hint folks:  the word ‘where’ implies ‘at’ and ‘to’, so you don’t have to dangle your participles, ok?

The next thing that irks me beyond all reason is mispronouncing words.  How many times has someone come up to you and said:

“Would you mind taking my pitcher?” and they hand you their camera?

Um, hello.  It’s not a ‘pitcher’ peeps, it’s a picture.  A pitcher is something you drink out of, so unless you’re offering me your giant container of frozen margaritas, please try to enunciate correctly.

I had someone say to me the other day, “Jen, can I ax you a question?”

Um, no.  You can ASK me a question.  I mean why do you want to chop up/get rid of a question by saying you want to ax it?

And don’t even get me started on the “Where it be?” and “Who it is?”  Every time I hear that, I feel like I’m going to melt into a giant puddle like the wicked which, I mean witch, of the west.

Oh, and one more thing:

You don’t pronounce the ‘l’ in salmon!

What irks you the most about the way people speak?  Come on. Tell me.  I wanna know.

Spay the dog!


jahlee 9-24-2012Yesterday I wrote a post on Save the Cat!, a how-to book for writers by Blake Snyder.  Today, we’re going to talk about spaying the dog.

Yesterday, my sweet baby, Jahlee, had to have an emergency spay because she had Pyometra.  The vet said if we’d waited, she would have died.

What is Pyometra?  In a nutshell, it’s a bacterial infection in the uterus of unspayed female dogs.  It usually occurs in middle-aged dogs and symptoms usually appear within 2 – 4 months after their last heat.  If left untreated, it can, and most likely will, result in the accumulation of infection in the bloodstream or abdominal cavity.  If left untreated, it will lead to systemic infection, shock and even death.  The severity of symptoms varies on whether the cervix is open or closed.

What causes pyometra?  Pyometra is caused by a raised level of progesterone, found naturally within 4- 8 weeks after the heat cycle.  These elevated  progesterone levels can sometimes cause cysts and pockets, which are prime target locations for bacteria. In pyometra cases, E. Coli is the  most common bacteria found in the infected uterus because it can thrive in a uterus sensitized by progesterone.

What are signs and symptoms?  Look for the following.  In Jahlee’s case, the symptoms came on very, very fast, within 5 days.

  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Drinking and urinating a lot
  • Lack of appetite
  • Abdominal pain and enlargement (Jahlee actually yelped when we would give her belly rubs)
  • Constant grooming around the vaginal opening

My pup had all of these.  It started with the lethargy.  She just wasn’t her happy self.  Then came the excessive thirst.  I thought she might have diabetes.  Then came the loss of appetite and some very mild vomiting, usually a little liquid.  As I said, her belly hurt, and toward Sunday into Monday, she started grooming herself a lot.  Monday night and all day Tuesday she just didn’t want to go or do anything, so we took her in.  The vet took a few good looks at her, and rushed her into surgery.  This is the most preferred form of treatment.  There are other methods to ‘cure’ the condition if you wish to breed your dog, but there is a high chance the disease will rear its ugly head again.  In Jahlee’s case, there were no other options.  The vet showed my hubby the uterus.  Instead of being the size of a small grapefruit, it was extended to the size of a flattened basketball.  My poor, poor baby.

She is still not out of the woods yet.  She is on antibiotics.  She has to go back to the vet this Saturday and then again in a week to have the stitches removed.  She’s still running a low-grade fever and she’s not eating a whole lot.  We definitely have to keep an eye on her to make sure all is well.

In closing, this is not a disease you want for your female dogs to get.  I can’t imagine if I’d lost her to this.  The great thing is, dog owners can prevent this all together by spaying their females before they are 6-months old.  Jahlee came to us unspayed.  We were also unaware that this disease existed.  We almost lost her.  We will never make that mistake again.

Spay and neuter.  It’s the path to long and healthy pet lives.

Save the Cat!


M. L. Swift is hosting this monthly book club event. To learn more about it, click here. This month we’re discussing, Save The Cat! by Blake Snyder.

I heard about this book ages ago.  Someone in a long ago writer’s workshop recommended this book, but when I found out it was a book on screenwriting, I said “Eh” and didn’t pick up again.  I wish I had.

This book is not just for screenwriters.  It’s for every writer who wants to tell a story, whether it be fiction or non-fiction, novel or screenplay or memoir.  Throughout the book, Blake gives astounding information on how to create the pictures you want your audience to see, and how to do it in such a way to get attention from those with the power to get it in front of your audience.  He introduces the writer to loglines and how VERY important they are in the beginning of the writing process.  From there he leads you into test-pitching and give you five games to jump-start your idea-creating skills.

Next he discusses the 10 genres that every movie ever made can be categorized by.  Then it’s off to hero land where he gives you all the how-to’s and why’s of great heroes – what makes them, what breaks them.

One of the great tips he offers up is how to make a storyboard and how to utilize index cards – only 40 of them .  Great way to troubleshoot plots, characters, anything that doesn’t work in your story.  This is an idea I actually started using in the past couple of weeks and I have to tell you, it works!!!

He then takes us on the journey of how to decipher what is wrong with your manuscript, novel, non-fiction piece, whatever it is you’re working on, and he gives you the tried and true, proven methods on how to repair what you’ve written so it will sell.

Last but not least, he gives you the why’s and how’s of the dreaded M word – marketing.

What I liked about Save the Cat! is Blake’s enthusiasm, his love for what he does.  It comes through in every word.  I thought this was going to be a boring book.  Far from it!  He uses humor and his ‘voice’ is down to earth.  He IS the guy next door who has tons of answers, is personable and never treats you like you’re a dummy.  More than anything, he teaches authors how to write the best they can, with the best tools they have, and keep swinging.  To quote:

“They can buy your script and fire you, or rewrite it into oblivion, but they can’t take away your ability to get up off the mat and come back swinging – better and smarter than you were before.”

This book will definitely make you smarter than you were before.  I wish I’d been smarter long ago in that writer’s workshop and purchased this book then.  Oh well.  I have it now.  Trust me, it’s not just for screenwriters.  You can apply it to every aspect of whatever it is you write.  Stephen King’s On Writing is fantastic…Save the Cat! is phenomenal and a must-have.  Get out your sticky tabs and highlighters.  You’re going to need them.  It’s the best book you’ll ever read on how to write material that is enjoyable, marketable, and uniquely yours.