Alligators Overhead Trailer

Monday, June 20, 2016

Get Me Unstuck, For Heaven Sakes!

7 Things You Can Do When You're Stuck and Can't Think of One Thing to Blog About

Sometimes you just can’t blog anymore, and yet you know it’s a good way to connect with people and to build a support network. You’re a writer and if you need anything, it’s a support network. Agents are helpful. Publishers are helpful. But a lot of getting the word out is up to you, and blogging has been one of the social medias that has been an effective tool. 

Then it happens. You can’t think of one thing to blog about. Now what? Where’s the inspiration going to come from. Help!

One thing about being in the blogging world, there always seems to be help out there when you need it. I was searching for that lost inspiration when Verbosity Review came to the rescue. She actually posted 7 Ways to Keep Blogging When Inspiration Leaves You. 

What? Had she read my mind? I took her post to heart and followed her advice:
  1. I sat down and thought about all the things that inspire me. (Yoga for one, so off I went to a Zen retreat. I'm recharged and want to share that experience.)
  2. I pulled out an old notebook and flipped through what I’d written—I had a blogging journal already, and that was one of her suggestions. (There's stuff in there I'd forgotten!)
  3. I tucked a pen and paper into my bag before I took off to shop for food, and guess what,  I found something near the dairy section that I made a note of. I love Strauss Creamery milk. It comes in a bottle. A real glass bottle. I remembered my grandmother telling about the old days when glass containers were all that was available. My grandmother didn’t have to think about recycling milk cartons. All she had to do was wash it out, place it a wire basket on the back step with a note to the milkman to leave another quart of milk. I wanted to tell about that in a future post.
  4. I went to bed that night and did a brainstorming session, scribbling whatever popped into my head. (There was more in there than I'd imagined.)
  5. I took a short break from blogging. I don't have to blog each Monday or each day. I can not blog and be just fine. 
  6. I decided to post something different. Good suggestion. Posting the same thing all the time leads to tedium.

Hers was a guest post! Absolutely a perfect way to find the inspiration I'd lost. 

Quote of the Week: "Creativity is just connecting things." Steve Jobs

Have you ever just run dry of what to write or blog about? Do you have little tricks that set you free again and stir the creative juices?

Friday, June 17, 2016

How Can Love Disturb?

I've been off having way too much relaxation, so now it's catch up time. Here's a special end of the week post to show you Medeia Sharif's newest YA novel.

Evernight Teen, June 17, 2016
Purchase from Amazon (merchant sites will be updated on the author's site)

Maysa Mazari is alarmed by her mother’s talk about arranged marriage. As a hijab-wearing Pakistani-American, she wants to find love on her own. Her judgmental Muslim clique has protected her from racist taunts, although the leader is turning on her as Maysa strays from the group because of her attraction to Haydee.

Haydee Gomez is a former gang member and juvenile detention student. Now living with a clean-cut aunt, she wants to turn her life around, even though one person will never let her forget her roots—Rafe, her abusive pimp. Haydee attempts to pull away from a life of prostitution when she develops feelings for Maysa, although Rafe isn’t willing to give her up too easily.

Finding themselves in danger from Maysa’s friends and Haydee’s pimp, it’s apparent their love disturbs everyone around them as they fight to stay together.

Find Medeia – YA and MG Author

Blog   |   Twitter   |   Goodreads   |   Instagram   |   Amazon

Author, Medeia Sharif

Sounds great, Medeia. It's always interesting to read about the cultural issues in your stories. Have any of you read other books by this author? How does this one sound to you?

Monday, June 13, 2016

Can't Read? Not An Option!

I remember the first time I held a book that was filled with words and no pictures. I must have been four. I threw it down and cried. I was so angry because I wanted the story in that book, but it was hidden from  me.

I’m not sure how my mom handled that moment. Maybe she gave me one of my picture books or sat and read aloud to me. But somehow I must have come up with the idea that I had to learn the code if I wanted to get to the story for myself. If I didn’t, I’d have to wait for someone to unlock the mysteries for me. 

Strange that I remember that one moment, but I can’t remember when I finally learned to read on my own. Maybe that part of my education just came so naturally, so gradually because people in my life read and encourage me to read with them. 

I guess wanting to know has always been a driving force for me, so there was never a question that I wouldn’t be in love with learning, which I always equated with reading. I could never imagine not being able to research a topic or find an answer I needed because I didn’t know what the words meant. And when the subjects became harder and more complicated, I treasured my reading skills even more. They were the key to my education. They gave me the freedom to understand anything, any time. And that’s what education means to me. Freedom.

When I stumbled on an article about illiteracy in the U.S. and discovered that 33% of people in L.A. county are illiterate or low-literate, it made me want to write about illiteracy. That article was the genesis of Double Negative, a story about a boy who can barely read and who manages to earn Ds in school by eavesdropping and memorizing. 

It was a challenge for me to imagine how this boy coped, but I returned to that time when I remembered being so frustrated by that first time when I wasn’t able to decode the story because it didn’t have pictures. I used that frustration to help me create Hutchinson McQueen.

Here’s a prologue that I didn’t use in the final draft of Double Negative, but it does show Hutch’s character and the mess he’s in because he keeps making the wrong choices.

I didn't know Blaze was going to up and quit on me like that. My safe house turned out not so safe either, so there I was . . . no place to hide out from Dee Dee and in the slammer. Talk about a crappy hand. I got it. And with the principal on one side and that priest on the other, a big pit with alligators was starting to look like an easy way out.

That’s when the priest dragged in the loony teacher to trip me up with a bunch of reading garbage, so the principal and the priest didn’t seem so bad anymore. My life was going, going, gone, and I hadn’t been laid yet. I couldn’t die before that happened.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Sudden Secrets by C. Lee McKenzie

Sudden Secrets

by C. Lee McKenzie

Giveaway ends June 15, 2016.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Quote of the Week: If you don't know your options, you don't have any." Diana Korte, women's heath advocate

Have you made a few wrong choices? Do you know what your options are? What would you do if you couldn't read?

I'm taking off for a few days, so I visited blogs on Sunday and will return to visit those who don't post until later in the week when I return. I hope I'll have an adventure that I can write about when I come back. Enjoy your week!