Good Luck to my Fellow NaNoWriMo Participants!

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Good Luck to my Fellow NaNoWriMo Participants!

I’m sure we all realize it takes more than luck to finish NaNoWriMo. For me, It’s about learning how much I can realistically accomplish in a short amount of time. Make the time to write, set realistic daily goals for yourself, and don’t get negative if you miss a goal.

My son and I have participated the last two years. This year, he’ll be increasing his word goals from 30,000 to 40,000. I can’t wait to see if he can do it. He met goal early last year, so I think he can do it. We all can! *fist pump*

If you’d like to be NaNo buddies, you can find me under “D. M. Newlun”.

Lame Confessions: Halloween Edition

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Lame Confessions: Halloween Edition

Not every Halloween can be the stuff of legends, and that’s why there’s Lame Confessions: Halloween Edition! Drag your pumpkin spiced tushies over here and hear my nightmarish tales…or rather, my lame tales of Halloween past.

 

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Dolly Parton

Every kid ought to have at least one good Dolly Parton Halloween story, right? Alright, maybe just me then.

When I was about nine or ten years old, my mother and grandma put their heads together and decided I would be Dolly Parton. They used my grandma’s bra, clothes, and one of her wigs. They filled the bra with balloons and took me door to door for candy.

Every house we trick-or-treated that year:

Me: “Trick or treat!”

Adult: “And who are you supposed to be?”

Me: “Dolly Parton.”

Adult: *Much laughter, calls all other adults in home to bear witness*

I knew who Dolly Parton was, but that year I felt more like I was dressed up as Grandma. And I really didn’t understand why the adults got such a kick out of it. It also confirmed my theory that adults were weird.

 

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Tricks

When I was thirteen, my friends and I decided we were too old for trick-or-treating, instead, we decided to opt out of the treat part of trick-or-treating and focus solely on the trick part. I know, trust me. What a little fool I was. I should have trick-or-treated until I was 30.

I stuffed my jean jacket full of toilet paper and my pockets with bars of soap and headed straight for my friend V’s (No names. I must protect their identities at all costs.) house. Her parents, of course, noticed a difference in the fit of my coat, but they were cool about it. Her dad poked at my rib area and asked if I’d put on weight. Her mom, always practical, “Stay out of my bathroom, V. I’m not going back out for toilet paper tonight.” We left to meet up with the other girls, full of giggles and schemes.

Our first stop on our reign of terror (of the town that boasted a population of less than 200) was to my neighbors, a family I knew had a good sense of humor since I babysat and housesat for them. We set to work on the man of the house’s truck (his wife’s car safely tucked away in the garage). We toilet papered and soaped it, and I believe one of the girls even used cling wrap on it.

We were high on mischief that night. We glided through the streets, keeping to the shadows, stopping only to toilet paper and soap. The pride we felt at our own super-sneaky ways grew and grew. We were unstoppable.

The next day, I walked out the front door with a little something extra in my step. I sauntered to the end of the drive, and my neighbor shouted for me to wait up a sec. I smiled, knowingly, planning to fully deny all allegations, if he even suspected.

The man strolled up to me with his own saunter and an evil smirk to match my own. My confidence faltered.

“You left something behind last night.”

“Whaddya mean?”

He tossed something through the air, and I caught it on impulse. I looked down at a pill bottle. My brow furrowed. I twisted the bottle to read the label. Shit. My friend, J., had dropped her medication in their driveway on our super-sneaky mission.

I looked up into the face of a man smiling the smile of someone who’d won. Which leads us to our next tale…

 

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What Was That?!?

Be careful who you trick. Some people will play at a whole different level. I poked the bear so to speak.

Since I was no longer trick-or-treating, my mother figured I could start handing out candy. I didn’t mind. Cute kids’ costumes and all the candy I could eat? Of course, I’ll sign up for that. I set up my tiny TV, laid out on the floor, and watched scary movies while handing out candy.

I laid on my belly, staring at the tiny tube, enthralled with whatever scary movie I was able to pick up with rabbit ears. A loud crash sounded behind me, and I rolled to my side to look. A large man in a buttoned-up flannel, wearing a mask burst through the back door.

My eyes widened and so did my lungs. I screamed for all I was worth. The big man closed the distance, standing over me, ax in hand. I screamed and screamed until I finally heard it. The man laughed, throwing off his mask, revealing himself as my neighbor.

He didn’t want to get hit or worse, so he had gotten permission from my parents. He said when he snuck across the backyard he had panicked. The motion detector had set off the light and there he stood in the middle of it, mask, ax, and looking up to no good. He sprinted for the light and unscrewed it and then continued his creeping.

I took the tiniest of victories in the idea that he had panicked, just a little, in that security light.

 

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Code Orange! Code Pumpkin!

My mother loves the fall “look”. Every year she bought corn, pumpkins, and gourds to adorn the outside of the house. And every year, she would become quite miffed when the local hoodlums (of the town boasting a population of less than 200) would smash her pumpkins right in front of her house.

I knew who smashed her pumpkins. Hell, I encouraged them to smash her pumpkins. The woman made my life hell, and it was just my way of giving back a little. It’s the little things.

The problem, you see, is she nagged my father about it. My father hated to be nagged, but it was more than a nag really. My mom doesn’t just nag but knows how to throw in that special twist, almost a challenge.

My father is an electrician. He rigged up sensor plates in front of the house. They set the carved pumpkins on the wooden plates and waited. The plates were set so when the pumpkins were removed, it’d sound an alarm in the house, so we could catch the dirty criminals.

Halloween night tucked into our beds, sleeping like the dead. The loudest alarm I’d heard in my life went off. We all bumbled out into the hall, confused, not quite understanding why there was this obnoxious noise in the middle of our beautiful slumber.

Except for father, that is.

He was a third shifter. He was at work. He’d left his funny surprise for his wife and kids. My father has a great sense of humor. Mom didn’t ask him to rig up any more pumpkins…in case you were wondering.

 

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 And thus ends this edition of…

*insert drum roll*

Lame Confessions: Halloween Edition!

Happy Halloween!

May your day be filled with candy, fun, and surprises.

Focusing More Time on my Writing

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Focusing More Time on my Writing

I’ve been stuck on the fourth draft of my first novel-length story for months and months. Frankly, more months than I care to admit. I have three potential novels half written, and I don’t even know how many short stories are waiting to be edited. I haven’t finished anything because my schedule is out of whack.

It’s time to take drastic measures…or rather necessary measures. I just need to put on my big girl pants and do what needs to be done.

I’m afraid I spend far too much time laughing at Tweets, so I’ll be leaving Twitter for the next month, possibly two. I’ll continue to post to my Instagram account, and occasionally post updates to Twitter. Please feel free to email me from the contact page if you’d like to stay in contact while I’m adulting.

As soon as I get my writing schedule back on track, I’ll be back to gif Twitter to death. =)

*hugs to those who came to read my blabberings*

Thank You

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After my recent post, Asking for Help, I received so many lovely, encouraging, and helpful messages and comments. I feel truly fortunate to be surrounded with so much support. I’m still working on trying to write, but I feel like you’ve all helped lift the darkness. I cannot thank you enough.

I’d like to thank the following people for being a light in the darkness when I needed it most. Thank you for taking time out of your day to comfort and help me in my time of need. I hope you all know your words touched and inspired me. I might not be back up to full running speed, yet, but the forward momentum I have is in large part from your support. Thank you.

Tante Willemijn (aka Linnie) – Website, Twitter, Her Words for Me on Depression

Chris Gould – Website, Twitter

Cindy Kolbe – Website, Twitter

Katspaks – Twitter

Alex Micati – Website, Twitter

Raimey Gallant – Website, Twitter

Tara K. – Website, Twitter

John F. Harrison – Website, Twitter

H. A. Callum – Website, Twitter

S. A. Franco – Twitter

Rosie Ellen Grey – Website, Twitter

Jenna Victoria – Website, Twitter

If you’re looking for wonderful people to follow and support, you’ve found them. Thanks again!

Asking for Help

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Over the years, I’ve learned to ask for help. It was difficult at first, but sometimes you just can’t go it alone. When headaches or my back are giving problems, my family takes on a few extra chores. When my depression is keeping me stuck inside my cranium, my daughter will ask, “Whatcha thinking about mama?” It breaks me out of those nasty thoughts and brings me back.

I don’t want to be a bother to anyone, which is why it’s so difficult to ask for help. Results help, though. When I get over whatever is ailing me and I don’t have tons of housework waiting on me, or when my depression is more easily managed because I spent less time trapped in my cranium, it’s hard to ignore those results. It makes it easier to ask for what you need.

Lately, I’ve been struggling to write or edit. I second guess myself and question what business I even have writing. I know this is a result of my depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. They’re working together to make my self-confidence plummet. I know this because a month ago I was on my way to having my first novel ready for a professional editor, and I didn’t question myself then.

I’ve had a rough start to the year, and it seems determined to have a real go at me. Normally, I weather the storm and use writing to help. Unfortunately, I’ve had a sort of crushing realization that I don’t feel at all comfortable discussing, and I’m struggling to write or edit or even look at a page. Day after day, I’ve tried to figure out what I need.

I need help from my Twitter friends. The people who know what it’s like to write and lose confidence in yourself. How do you fix your self-confidence? What tips do you have for me? What can I try? I don’t care how you respond. Reply here, DM or @ me on Twitter, send me an email. I’d be very grateful. Thank you.

 

 

Learning to Love Me: Starting with the Basics

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Learning to Love Me: Starting with the Basics

Awhile back, I realized my biggest problem was hating myself. Many people have things they don’t like, but some of us straight up hate ourselves. When I looked at my relationships, I realized I couldn’t accept anyone liking or loving me, because I could see no reason for them to do so.

When someone complimented me, I thought it had to be a lie. When someone told me they loved me, they were trying to get something out of me, because no one could love me. When someone told me they enjoyed talking to me, I’d cringe, because now I couldn’t trust them. They’d lied to me.

This is a huge problem. How can you have a healthy relationship if anything good directed at you is instantly turned bad? The answer is you can’t. You can’t have a healthy relationship if you’re too busy hating yourself.

I didn’t want to hate me, and I didn’t want to question the love of my children. When your children tell you what a wonderful mother you are and you want to believe them, but the voice in the back of your mind won’t let you…it’s time for a change.

I’ve been taking a hard look at my life ever since. There are many, many layers to the problem. One of the layers, I recently peeled back shook me to my core. I hated that I was a woman. Even now, the thought brings tears to my eyes.

I love being a mother to my children. I love that I was able to feel them growing inside me. I love every aspect of motherhood, yet I hated myself for being born female. Don’t even get me started on how little I wanted to poke this one, but I knew, to be better, to heal, I had to poke the hell out of it.

 

Be careful what you say to your kids. It sticks with them. Every. Single. Word.

 

This layered problem of hating myself starts and ends with my parents. Sure there’s healthy dollops of other family members, society, and general life experiences throw in there, but it starts and ends with my parents. Whether they’ll ever be able to objectively see what they’ve done or not is another story entirely.

From a young age, an emphasis was put on me behaving like a lady, while my brother was allowed to get dirty, scream and yell, and punch anything that got too close to him. It never changed. My brother was allowed to eat whatever he wanted. When I got too close to food, I was told to watch what I ate or they’d never get me married off. I can’t count how many times I heard, “Boys don’t like it when…” you do whatever I was doing. I never heard the same said to my brother.

When my brother turned thirteen my father gave him an issue of Playboy to mark him as a man. My only question was, “Where’s my Playgirl?” They laughed and brushed the thought aside. I remember the anger I felt and how normal the adults in my life made this event seem. It’d take years for me to understand that anger.

When a local girl accused a teacher of rape, the entire community rallied against the girl. They said she made it up, and she wanted attention. Every single case of rape that came along during my lifetime made the people around me question what she’d done wrong. Did she drink too much? Accept the wrong ride? I never heard them question why these men would do such things? Oh and later on, after years and years of allegations, they finally looked into the teacher. He’d raped several students. He’s now in jail. Now. When I have children old enough to attend his classes.

Is it any wonder I never reported anything that happened to me? I hid everything rather than be the girl who let it happen.

In high school, I remember my father sitting down at the kitchen table to help me with my physics homework. He told me I was struggling to understand the concept because my teacher was a woman and women weren’t good at math and science. “Then why am I?” flashed across my mind as he said it, but I didn’t question it. I thought I was the exception.

I’d always excelled at math and to a lesser degree science, but I loved numbers. I stayed at the top of every math class I took and always wondered how the other girls got there or how they stayed so on top of their grades. I didn’t question his logic until years later.

After I had my daughter, I decided to go back to school. I signed up at a local college, but I’d been out of school just long enough to feel some of those equations and whatnots slipping from my grasp. I went to my dad and asked him for help getting caught up with my calculus. I’ll never forget his face. I’d swear it was fear, but more likely a total dislike of having to tell me I’d surpassed his knowledge. He could no longer help me.

I won’t lie. It felt good. I, a mere female, had surpassed him.

I can’t and won’t give a rundown of every sexist insult I heard over the years, not just from my parents but from the boys in my class, teachers, and coaches. We’re so used to talking down to people for what we believe them to be, that most people never consider the harm they’re doing.

What harm could words have? A ton.

I grew up in a world telling me that women weren’t smart, couldn’t really be smart, sexual objects meant to enter this world learning how to be exactly what a man wanted at any given time, and my only worth was in marriage. I didn’t want any of it. I wanted to be smart. I wanted to be worth the same as my brother, but I knew I wasn’t. On the scale of life, I came up short and always would in society’s eyes.

It pains me to admit I shunned all feminine things. I didn’t want to dress like a girl, so I avoided girly clothes. I wore jeans, t-shirts, and work boots. I avoided making friends with girls. The few female friends I had were less feminine. I would only do what I considered masculine and therefore right.

I missed out on a lot.

Luckily for me and for my children, my way of thinking changed. I understood the lines I’d been fed as the garbage they truly were. Girls could be what they wanted to be, and they’d find a significant other who’d like them just the way they were. They didn’t need to fit the image emblazoned on every woman’s magazine. Their every waking moment didn’t have to revolve around what a man wanted.

I give my daughter those messages every day. I don’t ever want her feeling less. She knows she’s looking for her equal, and she knows her worth. She knows it’s okay to want to dress feminine, and it’s okay to want to learn to shoot a bow.

My son is given similar messages. He needs to know that it’s okay if he wants to try knitting, which he has, or any other activity deemed feminine. He needs to know it’s okay to be sensitive and caring, and it doesn’t make him less of a man. And, yes, he wants to learn to shoot a bow too.

Even though I can give the right messages, in the back of my mind, I can’t help thinking I’d be more if only I had been born with a penis. I know it’s garbage left over from a time when my parents were left too long with my growing mind, but it’s still there. When those thoughts crop up, I remind myself I felt a life grow inside me, and I’m not hampered by having to act “manly”. I wouldn’t give up being a woman for anything in the world. Now.

Liebster Award Recipient – Nominated by Ken Stark

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Liebster Award Recipient – Nominated by Ken Stark

I have been nominated for a Liebster Award! I had no idea what a “Liebster Award” was, so, I googled it.

To find out more about the Liebster Award and the Rules click here.

I was nominated by my friend, Ken Stark. You may remember Ken from my review of his book Stage 3 and the interview I did with him. If you’re a Stark fan, you should know he’s got another book coming soon, “Arcadia Falls”! I can’t wait to read and review his next book! You can get a sneak peek of both books here. Thank you for the nomination, Ken!

Find Ken Stark! Website  Twitter

11 Random Facts About Me

1. My gamer tag is Phroggee. It used to be Froggie or Froggee. More and more people started using those, so I adopted the ‘ph’ spelling. I play all sorts of games. I’m not always good at them, but sometimes I rock. =P I mostly play games on Steam (PC), but I also play games on Origin (PC), Minecraft (PC), Elder Scrolls Online (PC), WiiU, and some Playstation games. I used to play World of Warcraft, but I fell out of love with it. I often wish I had more time to play and more money for games. =)

2. I love to craft and create things. I’m a knitter and a scrapbooker. I like to sketch and doodle. I’d love to learn to paint, leatherwork, blacksmith, weld, quilt, and do stain glass. . . just to name a few. There’s just something about seeing the finished piece that feels so rewarding. The people in my life are often subjected to gifts I’ve made. =P

3. I don’t need a lot of people around me. As long as I have my husband and kids, I’m good. I rarely crave the company of others. I’m sure part of it has to do with my social anxiety, but not the majority of it. I grew up on a farm with only my little brother anywhere close. I had cousins I saw often and friends who spent the night from time to time, but I never craved others.

4. I will always pick a cabin in the woods over a fancy hotel/resort. I enjoy rural areas much more than urban ones. In fact, urban areas tend to give me anxiety. Give me trees! And maybe a creek or pond. . . that’d be cool.

5.  I use to have a scrapbooking business. I sold pre-made albums on eBay and through my website. I also did custom orders for albums, shadow boxes, etc. The business fell flat when we had a house fire and I had nowhere to work. By the time our house was “fixed”, manufactured albums (albums that looked like scrapbooks) were hitting stores everywhere and could be printed from all sorts of photo companies. It just didn’t seem worth it to continue. I still scrapbook for fun.

6. I make my own lotion, deodorant, laundry detergent, and dishwasher detergent. I save a lot of money. I try to evaluate our lives and find ways to save money and improve what we use. Recently, I experimented with hooks and line to make my own indoor clothesline system. The lines can be removed easily without much evidence they ever existed. I haven’t used the dryer since.

7. I believe I’m gluten and lactose intolerant. They both seem to do horrible things to my body. I never realized lactose could cause headaches. I thought it was just digestive related. My body also hates preservatives. If I have too many preservatives in my diet, my anxiety and depression get worse. My body hates a lot of things. Now add in all the foods I can’t have because of stomach issues and you’ll find my sad, sorry excuse for a diet. =P

8. I don’t know if I could ever explain the music I like. I don’t have just one genre I like, and I don’t like all of any genre. I lean toward folk music and rock but love music in nearly all genres. Even out of the songs I like, I don’t like them all the time. I like music according to my mood to the point where I get frustrated if I’m not in the mood for a particular song. The sound has to appeal to me but so do the lyrics. If I don’t like the lyrics or find them stupid, it won’t matter how much I can wiggle a tush to it.

9. I’ve had my lip pierced twice. The first time I got it pierced on the way home from Ozzfest. I had to take it out for a job, and the hole closed up. The second time I got it pierced as a reward for weight loss. I took it out when my son was young. He kept looking at it and me weird. When I asked him about it, he said he didn’t like it and it made him feel uncomfortable. After that, it hardly seemed worth trying again. I miss playing with my lip ring, though.

10. I have four tattoos and hope to have more in the future. I hope to have my daughter design the next one.

11. I love tv shows and movies about other eras in time, but only if they’re done accurately. I’m a sucker for a good Western. I don’t know why just dig them. I like all sorts of tv shows and movies, but these are the sort I usually have to watch alone. lol

Ken’s 11 Questions

1. You are stuck on a deserted island (with adequate food, water, and shelter). What is the one book you would want to have with you?

*whimpers and cries* Just one! Not fair! “Slaughterhouse-Five” by Kurt Vonnegut. But I’d try to find a way to make my clothes out of other books. =P
2. Ginger or Maryanne?

Maryanne. I liked both, but I can identify more with Maryanne.
3. What is your dream job? Difficulty: No writing!

Artist of some sort. I like to sketch. I’ve always wanted to do my own comic. Or game designer. I love the idea of creating my own game, and in fact, I recently purchased software to make my own game.
4. Zombies are coming. What is your weapon of choice?

Assault rifle or a shotgun, but the noise would worry me. I’d probably opt for a katana or a bat, something easy to grip and swing.
5. If you had to live your entire life as any character from any TV show, which character would it be, and why?

Dr. Who. I’d love to be able to travel through time and see new and interesting lands at my choosing. The isolation wouldn’t bother me so much. I’m the sort of person who doesn’t want lots of people around. I’m good with a few close people, which would suit the Doctor.
6. Would you rather live in a world that is blistering hot, or freezing cold?

This is hard. I think freezing cold. I have no skills to help with blistering hot, but since I’m a knitter I could knit all of my clothes. I’d probably end up sweating by the time I was done.
7. If you could only listen to one singer/musician/band/composer for the rest of your life, who would it be?

Damn you Ken! Not fair after question 1. =P  I think I’d have to go with “The Jayhawks”. I’m almost always in the mood for some of their music.
8. Which would you rather be; rock star, movie star, best-selling author, top-ranked athlete, or just plain old you, but holding the winning lottery ticket in your hand?

A best-selling author is so tempting, but I could do a lot of good with the money. I could build my dream home and still give back. I could still write. I’d have to go with just plain old me holding the winning lottery ticket.
9. If you could choose right now, knowing that there was no way to alter the result later on, how long would you say you’d want to live?

I’d like to make it to 91, just to be able to say I made it to over 90. There’s still a lot I’d like to do and see. 51 more years, please. =D Wait. Is immortal a choice? Can I have superpowers?
10. Cats, dogs, something else, or nothing at all?

All the critters! I love cats and dogs. We’ve had a couple hamsters over the years. They were awesome. After we move, I plan to get bunnies, chickens, and/or ducks. I dig animals. They’ve got such unique personalities. You never know what you’ll get.
11. Easy finish. What is your favourite sport and sports team?

Favorite sport would be volleyball followed closely by basketball. I don’t really have a favorite team. I don’t follow sports teams enough to have a favorite team.

No nominations or questions from me, since it took me forever to finish this. Sorry Ken. Unfortunately, your nomination came while I was having a bout of headaches and body shenanigans, so this got back burnered for awhile.

I Tried, I Failed, I Found Hope

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I Tried, I Failed, I Found Hope

I clicked the Thunderbird icon, hoping for news about the contest I had entered. I knew the results were supposed to be coming at the end of October, so I’d been checking for days. I don’t know what made me check right before bed or why. I wish I hadn’t.

The email was there, waiting to be read. I clicked and my stomach flopped. Please let me at least be an honorable mention, I thought. I scanned the email until I hit the first place winner. Damn, not me. I scrolled through the second and third place winners. Not me either.

My shoulders slumped and my heart felt heavy. I really wanted to place, felt like I needed to place. What I truly wanted was validation. Despite my best efforts, I still hear my grandmother say, “How do you know you’re any good?” I wanted to be able to say, “Here, this, this proves I have merit.”

Okay, I didn’t place, but maybe, just maybe, I was chosen for honorable mention. Twenty-three people were chosen for honorable mention, and do you know that not one of those names was D. M. Newlun? My world fell through a dark hole into an abyss. I didn’t make it.

I scrolled through the rest of the winners, door prizes. There, amongst others whose names had been chosen at random, was D. M. Newlun. As if I couldn’t feel worse, somehow, this door prize felt like the trophy to losers. “Here ya go. Thanks for playing ol’Chap,” as some man in a nice suit claps you on the back.

All the negative thoughts I had about my own writing came tumbling down on me like a window air conditioner shoved out of a second story window. My own mind battered me with insult after insult as I crawled into bed. I laid in bed, willing myself not to cry over the “stupid” contest.

My husband, always trying to be supportive, says, “The contest doesn’t mean anything. You’re a good writer.”

“If I had won, the contest would have meant something.”

He whispered how much he loved me and drifted off to sleep. I, on the other hand, had one helluva time getting to sleep, staying asleep, and not immediately focusing on the contest every time I woke up. I wasn’t surprised. I just wondered why on Earth I had to check for the results right before bed. (A Homer Simpson “Doh!” sort of moment)

I woke up and immediately dreaded having to tell my children, who had been rooting for me, that their mother had failed. I wanted to be that gracious loser, who smiles and says, “I’ll get ’em next time.” I couldn’t. I’m not proud. I shut the door to my room and went over the results again. I cried like a baby needing a change.

Let me be clear. I know it’s just a contest and it’s only one contest. I know it’s not the end of the world. I know I’ll have other setbacks and letdowns. Like I said, I just really wanted the validation. I wanted someone with no stake in it to say you’re a good writer. My family thinks I’m a good writer, but they’re sort of my biggest fans. I’ve had a few people on Twitter tell me I’m a good writer or that I “have a lot of potential”. I always wonder if they’re just saying it so I’ll retweet them, or if they just like me and don’t want to hurt my feelings.

Of course, where did I go when I wanted writer support, which should be a hotline. . . I went to Twitter.

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My whining…

After the tweet, I decided to try to brighten some of my friends’ days since mine wasn’t looking too bright. I ran through my “Twitter Friends” list and retweeted and commented to what I could. I found myself happy to find such wonderful stories to share today. My happiness didn’t last long, though. My stupid brain decided to sabotage my happiness with a whole lot of negative thinking.

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More of my bellyaching…

Guess what I got in return? The support I needed from writers who understood what I was going through. I cried when the first comments came through. It felt good to be understood in such a complete way. Then suggestions came in to help me out of my dark place. One of my friends gave me a bit of a pep talk, another told me to treat myself to something consoling and then kick my ass and get on with it, another suggested I write ten words for “darkness” without using the word “darkness”.

So I nodded at the wise words of my friends and took their suggestions to heart. I looked through my cupboards and thought what can I make to console and treat myself. Pasta! With garlic bread! I threw together a little pasta and garlic bread, and you know what, I did feel a bit better. It was like a hug from a friend.

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Pasta Me-Style (sorry, the garlic bread was shy)

After I ate a healthy helping of pasta, I moved on to my writing assignment, ten words – Darkness without “Darkness”. The assignment helped flush the worst of the negativity from my system. I debated whether to post those ten-word thoughts, but in the end, I wanted others to see them if they were having similar feelings. My words aren’t poetic or special. They are the feelings I had in the moment. Well, at least the ones I could encompass in ten words.

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The Yuck of My Brain, Not the Worst and Definitely Not the Best

I feel silly for letting a contest dominate me so thoroughly. I know rejection is part of being a writer, but damn, that doesn’t make it any easier. At least now, I don’t want to throw in the towel. Now, I want to find out how I can make my writing better, and then I want to do what’s necessary to get my words out to the world. You could say, I found hope. I’m hopeful for MY future as a writer and what I’ll be doing to make that happen.

Thanks to Alex Micati for suggesting the song, “That’s Life“. I’m not sure which version he intended, but I liked this one. Also, thanks for all the pep talks and support. You’re a constant support to the writing community. You’re a beautiful unicorn! Alex Micati’s Twitter; Alex Micati’s Blog

Thanks to Tante Willemijn (aka Linnie) for the words of encouragement and understanding and the wonderful suggestion to treat myself to something consoling. You’re a wonderful, supportive friend! You’re a beautiful unicorn! Tante Willemijn’s Twitter; Tante Willemijn’s Blog

Thanks to Greg McGraw for the “10 Words for Darkness Without Using Darkness” Challenge and the supportive words of encouragement. You’re a supportive friend. You’re a beautiful unicorn! Greg McGraw’s Twitter; Greg McGraw’s Book Page

*Special Note: In my family, we use the term “Beautiful Unicorn” when anyone does anything especially touching, meaningful, and/or caring for us or someone else.

Happy Birthday to my Amazing Daughter!

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Happy Birthday to my Amazing Daughter!

Twenty-one years ago today, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. I’ve been lucky enough to watch her grow from a tiny being into the amazing woman she has become. I couldn’t ask for a better daughter. Alexis is intelligent, funny, hard-working, and most of all caring. I can’t imagine my life without her.

Please wish my daughter a happy birthday! Her Website & Twitter

A is for Amazing

L is for Loving

E is for Expert, as in not ready for ‘Expert’ mode on Left 4 Dead 2

X is for Xylophone (Shh! I couldn’t think of an ‘X’ word)

I is for Intelligent

S is for Silly

***I’ve never been very good at these, but it’s the thought that counts, or as my daughter is forever telling me, “I tried, therefore, no one should judge me.”

Happy Birthday to Me!

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Happy Birthday to Me!

Breakfast: Pancakes with real Maple Syrup (gluten-free so I don’t spend the day on the toilet) 😉

Lunch: Grilled Chicken Sandwich with pickles, lettuce, onion, and sweet potato fries. (gluten-free bun)

Dinner: Grilled Chicken with Veggies and Sauce on a Bed of Jasmine Rice

Snacks: Watermelon, Snickers Crispers, and Chocolate Chip Cookies (gluten-free, that toilet won’t get me)

Gifts: Speakers with Subwoofer for my laptop (been jamming out, of course), 2 e-books on writing, the set of writing thesauri (Emotion, Negative Trait, Positive Trait, Rural Setting, and Urban Setting) by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi, and 3 Wonder Woman Graphic Novels

Scheduled Activities: Gaming, Jamming, Gaming, Gaming, Gaming, Being a Brat =)

Happy Birthday to Me! I survived 4o years on this planet. Some folks act like it’s not impressive to make it another year, but it truly is impressive. So many folks don’t make it near long enough in our lives, so I’m happy to say, “I’ve made it another year.” I know what I’ve accomplished in my life. It might not seem like a lot to some, but it’s the world to me.

Thank you for taking the time to read to this point and see how I intend to celebrate my 40 years.