Monday, September 22, 2014

How I Found The Write Path

It's here! The book we've ALL been waiting for, peeps. Thanks to Carrie Butler and PK Hrezo for putting this together. More than sixty authors (including yours truly) wrote letters about their writerly journeys to their newbie selves. It turned out BODACIOUSLY wonderful. Supercalifragilisticexpialidociously beautiful! It's for all writers, not just newbies. Inspirational, uplifting, and downright fun to read. And guess what? IT'S FREE!!! WOWEEEEE!!

Head over to your friendly neighborhood e-book seller and download it. 

IT'S FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!

Have a cookie while you're reading. Cookies and reading just go together. Yanno

P.S. I have no idea why the background on some of the font is white. Anyone know what's going on?  


Amazon UK

Amazon AU





Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Cancer and the Whoopee Cushion

Michael Di Gesu is hosting the Big C bloghop. The stories will be published in an anthology to help pay the medical costs for Melissa Bradley's cancer treatment. I am proud to be included, even though my story is a day late. I hope you enjoy it. It's dedicated to my daidĂ­ (daddy). 


                                          Cancer and the Whoopee Cushion

“It’s cancer,” Dad’s voice sounds steady and unwavering.
Mine, on the other hand, is as shaky as the California ground I’m standing on. After listening to him explain the chemotherapy versus radiation, I finally manage to say something. “I’m coming home. I’ll grab a flight out asap, Dad.”
After I hang up, I call my husband.
“You should go. I hold the fort down here.”
“Then it’s settled,” I mumble.
I make reservations and pack my bag. Before I know it, my plane lands in my hometown, Key Largo Florida.
I check my face in the mirror before moving off the plane. Red, swollen eyes, won’t do. I grab a wipe from my purse and clean my face with it before snapping my purse shut and trudging down the ramp.
There’s Dad. Shaking his head at me.
“Last one off the plane. It figures.” He smiles and pats me on my back. He’s still my dad−still so strong. How could he have cancer? He’s never been sick a day in his life.
The treatments begin right away. There is no time to lose when you’re facing the big C, Dad’s doctor says.
Dad has always been a stout Irishman living life to its fullest. He’s the go to person in our family when someone needs a boost. But as I look at him now going through the chemo he seems so fragile. Like he could break.
“Dad, eat a little more than that,” I urge him on. But it doesn’t work.
“Sorry, honey. No appetite.”
Day after day we traipse into the cancer center for his treatment. Night after night he’s in the bathroom throwing up.
And I clean. Because he’s my dad. I scrub the bathroom at least five times a night. While he goes back to bed, I sit on the floor and feel the cold sweat mixed with warm tears seeping down my face. I call my husband for comfort. He always says the right things.  
Dad’s skin is the color of paste. He is a shell of his healthy self. I thought the treatments were supposed to make him better. I suck it in and smile at him. He needs to see a positive attitude.
It gets harder and harder to do that. But I keep on.
For him.
Until finally, the chemo ends.
I wait to see if he regains his strength before deciding when to fly home.
He doesn’t. Not really.
But the thing that amazes me is his sense of humor. He’s still pulling the same jokes on me that he always did when I was a kid. He’s made great use of the whoopee cushion.
He still tells his endless stories about the good old days.
He still chuckles in that same way he always has, and the most important part is his eyes still have that sparkle. Never mind the pasty skin. Those eyes of his still gleam when he looks at me.
I dub Dad my inspiration. He is serious about kicking cancer.
He wakes up early and brings me breakfast in bed.
I hear him humming during the day, so I start singing our favorite song Danny Boy. The next thing I know we’re dancing through the living room.
“I wonder if the neighbors hear our shenanigans?” I ask him.
“Don’t mind if they do,” he says.
Every day we dance through the house singing Danny Boy at the top of our lungs. Never mind that we can’t sing. We think we can.
Every trip back to the doctor brings news we’d rather not hear. But it doesn’t affect our dispositions. We stop at a restaurant and have coffee and pie, and he tells me his stories. I map them out in my head. I don’t want to forget any of them.
He laughs his Irish belly laugh and the entire restaurant turns and stares. Dad doesn’t even notice.
We take walks in the rain.
We buy balloons and write notes to God and send the notes to Heaven.
We eat ice cream at three o’clock in the morning because we can.
Sometimes I think he’s cured. But even if he isn’t. He believes in his head that he is. So he has me believing it too.
He is beating the cancer one story at a time. Every time he tells another one he says he feels better than the day before.
I don’t know what will happen tomorrow. I only see the glow in his face today. That’s enough.
My attitude gets better. Now I only scrub the bathroom once or twice a night. I always walk him back to his bed after washing his face, and I listen to his stories about the old days. Even though it’s dark, I can feel the sparkle in his eyes as he watches me double check for that whoopee cushion.

Monday, September 15, 2014

I Heart Renee LaTulippe and Her Beautiful Lyrical Language Lab (Her Coolness Is Off The Meter, Folks!)

Tomorrow I'll post my story for Michael Di Gesu's blogfest. It is to help Melissa Bradley pay her medical bills from her cancer treatment. The stories will be compiled in an anthology. I hope you stop by for that too. 

I've always fancied myself a poet. I was a 'counting the syllables' poet. Hey, it worked for me. The only problem is Robyn "YOU CAN'T DO IT THAT WAY!" Sheesh. No wonder I never could get poetry anthologies to want my poems. They probably knew I was counting syllables on my fingers.

I never understood stressed and unstressed syllables because I always stressed the syllables in all the wrong places. I never could figure metrical feet and metrical lines. Rhyme schemes FREAKED me out!


I met her COOLNESS! Renee is an amazing poet AND a kind of SUPER WOMAN when it comes to teaching all the things about poetry that I never could process in my brain (which was pretty much everything pertaining to poetry). *ahem*

In June I took Renee's Lyrical Language Lab and people I never looked back! I am going to post a couple of poems that I wrote during the class so you can see what a fantabulous teacher she is.

All writers need to learn about the way words work on the page to give readers a pleasurable experience. How words make sentences and sentences make paragraphs isn't enough. There are certain ways to arrange the words on the page to make the writing lyrical. This is where Dr. Renee comes in. (I have named her a doctor of lyrical Language.) Who should take the course?

EVERY writer can benefit from this course. Want to learn about double dactyls and anapests? How about some trochaic? You want to learn about the music, poetry makes out of words? (Renee's words, not mine.) :-) Want to learn scansion? YES, PEOPLE! I can scan poetry. SQUEEEEE!!!!!!!!!! How about free verse? All this and more. Renee has an easy going way of teaching that makes learning F-U-N! She doesn't pressure. She has a down home way about her. You feel comfortable writing your poetry from the very first day. DID I MENTION SHE LIVES IN ITALY???? So. If you take her course, it's kinda like you're in Italy. Sometimes she greets you in Italian. How cool is that? 

I can see how this course has helped my novel writing. It's like this. Words are powerful. Knowing the right words to choose makes your writing powerful. I see my scenes becoming real. My descriptions are lyrical. The writing is tighter. The imagery, strong.  

Did I mention you receive PERSONAL feedback from the DOCTOR? YES! Sing it! Doctor, Doctor, please can't you see the mess I'm in? Doctordoctor, please Can't you help me with my rhyming? (Apologies to UFO.) :-) Go visit Renee over at No Water River and meet her. Her blog house is wonderful. Here's the link for the Lyrical Language Lab course. The most bodacious lab, you've ever had! Here are two poems I wrote while taking Renee's course. I have since written many poems, and I plan on submitting to some anthologies and online poetry magazines. So a HUGE shout out and a gigantic thank you to Dr. Renee LaTulippe for showing me the wonderful world of poetry and rhyme. 

Rhyme scheme 
Brilliant Bluebird
A bluebird sits in the old pine tree,
dressed in blue for the jubilee.
He plumps his feathers for the show, 
(he's an absolute Romeo.)
He hears the other birds complain,
But Bluebird's there to entertain.
He ignores the jealous looks,
his name will be in storybooks.
Bluebird's lilt and rolling sway,
make all of nature want to stay
to listen to his graceful song.
He wants you to come along.
He's the star of this bird show,
(he's an absolute Romeo.)

Free verse poem about Christopher
He's cherished and sassy,
labeled rare by the medical world.
An heirloom rose,
to our family.
Thanks for reading. :-)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Welcome Nata Romeo and Her Alphabet Wildlife A to Z

Alphabet Wildlife A to Z invites young readers into an enchanting world of animals.

1)     Please tell us a little about yourself.
I am originally from Toronto, Canada. I lived in Italy for a while, and then graduated school from the Art Institute, and then ended up in Philadelphia, PA.  I am the proud mother of three amazing children, ages ranging from 28, 25, and 8!
I work full time as a special needs classroom assistant for the School District Of Philadelphia. Creativity and inspiration derive from my kids, and also being among hundreds of elementary students on a daily basis!
2)     What was your inspiration to write and illustrate this book? And why?
The Sketchbook Project 2014, part of the Brooklyn Art Library inspired me to write and illustrate this book. This is my third year participating with them. The original drawings are in that sketchbook, which is housed in their library. I always wanted to write an alphabet book!
3)     What projects are you working on now?
I’m currently revising another children’s book about Moon Trees, and illustrating it as well. 
4)     Are you interested in writing another genre?
Absolutely! I LOVE YA! I’ve had characters bouncing around in my head for a while, and they’re waiting to be written!
5)     Did you always want to be a writer and illustrator?
Yes, as long as I can remember! I love the power of creativity.
6)     Are you a day or night writer and illustrator?
Day for both!  Night=sleep!
7)     What is your advice to writers /illustrators?
Read, read, read, what you want to write. Learn to storyboard/dummies to see if your story flows. Join SCBWI, go to workshops, and join critique groups. Not only will your writing improve, but you will meet other talented writers and illustrators that also share your passion.  
Also, if you decide to self-publish, please avoid making the mistake I did! After my book was approved by CreateSpace and up for sale, someone I look up to and admire messaged me and pointed out that there was a typo!  I thanked her soooooooo much! I immediately fixed the BOO BOO!  
8)      Are you a coffee or tea person?
Definitely coffee fueled!
9)     Are you a lefty or righty?
After fracturing my dominant hand earlier this year, I became aware that I’ve been ambidextrous and never knew it!   Now I can alternate between the two and have two unique styles of drawings.
Actually, the Lion book art was illustrated with lefty, while the animals in the book were illustrated with righty. So yeah, no matter what life throws your way, pick yourself up and find a way to continue what you love to do!
10)  What is your favorite illustration medium?
My favorite illustration medium is combining watercolor, and pen and ink.  I love having the freedom of colors blending into other colors, creating unique effects. Detailed pen and ink is a form of de-stressing!
1          11)  Why did you decide to self-publish your first book with CreateSpace?

             The beauty of self-publishing with CreateSpace is that you can easily edit your book. I       wanted to have the freedom to make all the decisions on how the book looks. I have to admit that it was very stressing along the way. The formatting was always off! Fortunately, my son the computer genius always comes to my rescue and saves me from self-destruction!  HA HA  

       Thanks for stopping by and sharing your sweet book and yourself with us. It's available in print or Kindle. Or both. *wink*

       Want to buy Nata's book? Go here to Amazon.      

Want to visit Nata?

Go here to Nata's house! YEAH! 

You can visit her at Goodreads. 

And Twitter.