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More Disney? or….

Today I’m writing with a question.  Do you want more on Walt Disney World from me?  Want to know our favourites at every park?  Want to know what rides/attractions to skip?  Or are you getting tired of all the Disney stuff?  Do you want me to get back to just sharing whatever is on my mind?  At this point I could go either way.

On one side, I’ve really loved sharing about our Disney experience.  It’s allowed me to continue our adventure, reliving all the great moments even though we’ve been home for over a month now.  I’m enjoying sharing all of our pictures and stories.  After all, it was a week and a half that rocked our worlds pretty damn hard.  😉

On the other side, I do miss sharing my other passions.  Talking about the kid.  Sharing projects I’m working on.  Doing a little advocacy and fighting (as always) for justice and equality.  It’s nice just following my muse wherever she happens to lead me that day.

So really, I could go either way.  I love writing about Disney, but I love writing about my life and passions too.  And we are coming up on April again….  how would you feel about me doing the A to Z challenge for a second year?  I want to hear from you!  That’s one thing about the Disney posts, while they get y’all talking on FB, they sure don’t generate blog comments – and I’m missing the back and forth!  LOL

TJ Bown, Summerset Abbey, and Water.

In the brief teaser I tacked onto yesterdays blog post I let you know there would be a special interview today, and I’m not going to disappoint!  I had the chance to ask author TJ Brown a few questions in regards to her new release Summerset Abbey and the series it kicks off.  So, let’s jump right in!

TD:  Was there a certain event or idea that inspired the book?

TJ:  I have always loved the Edwardian period, but after Downton Abbey aired, I really wanted to write something in that period. I told my agent, we should pitch an Edwardian and she asked me what I had in mind. 5 weeks later I had a contract for a three book Edwardian series!

TD:  I know this is your first foray into historical fiction, did this pose any particular challenges or did you find it was a natural fit for you?

TJ:  It actually isn’t my first foray into historical fiction. Six months prior to getting the Summerset Abbey contract, I got a contract for a young adult series set in the 1920’s. So even though it won’t be out until June (Born of Illusion, June 15th!), I wrote it before the Summerset Series.

I honestly never thought I would be a historical writer, even though I love history and reading historicals. I just thought I had a more modern voice and the research intimidated me. But I had this idea that wouldn’t go away and once I wrote Born of Illusion I was hooked. Of course, Summerset is in a different time period, but before I started writing it, I figured that I had done so much research for the twenties, surely ten years prior couldn’t be that big of a difference could it? Was I ever wrong. 1914 England was a whole different world than 1924 New York. I had to start the research all over again! And I love it!

TD:  Can you tell me a little about your process?

TJ:  Usually, I start with a concept for a plot. Just a sketchy idea. Then the characters’ come. It’s rather like putting together a puzzle. And then my plot constantly changes and develops as I write. I’m not quite a seat of my pants writer, but the Summerset books have been unusually organic for me.

TD:  How many books do you foresee in this series?

TJ:  I am contracted for three but I have an idea for a fourth that my editor likes. Nothing is set in stone yet, and it may not happen, but I do have a fourth Summerset book in mind. We’ll see! But four for sure.

TD:  Do you have a favourite character or is there one who resonates more with you than the others?

TJ:  Victoria. In all of my books I have at least one over the top character and in Summerset Abbey, Victoria is the one. She is smart and imaginative and she says almost everything that comes into her mind. I adore her. Even though all girls are featured, Bloom in Winter is her book, and I had such an awesome time working on it!

So there you have it folks!  TJ Brown on her new book, Summerset Abbey, her process, and on writing historical fiction.  Now all that’s left is to drop a few details.  😉

Summerset Abbey is available at:

Book Blurb:

  • Summerset Abbey
    1913: In a sprawling manor on the outskirts of London, three young women
    seek to fulfill their destinies and desires amidst the unspoken rules of
    society and the distant rumblings of war. . . .
    Rowena Buxton
    Sir Philip Buxton raised three girls into beautiful and capable young women
    in a bohemian household that defied Edwardian tradition. Eldest sister
    Rowena was taught to value people, not wealth or status. But everything she
    believes will be tested when Sir Philip dies, and the girls must live under
    their uncle's guardianship at the vast family estate, Summerset Abbey.
    Standing up for a beloved family member sequestered to the "under class" in
    this privileged new world, and drawn into the Cunning Coterie, an exclusive
    social circle of aristocratic "rebels," Rowena must decide where her true
    passions-and loyalties-lie.
    Victoria Buxton
    Frail in body but filled with an audacious spirit, Victoria secretly dreams
    of attending university to become a botanist like her father. But this most
    unladylike wish is not her only secret. Now, Victoria has stumbled upon a
    family scandal that, if revealed, has the potential to change lives forever.
    Prudence Tate
    Prudence was lovingly brought up alongside Victoria and Rowena, and their
    bond is as strong as blood. But by birth she is a governess's daughter, and
    to the lord of Summerset Abbey, that makes her a commoner who must take her
    true place in society-as ladies maid to her beloved "sisters." But Pru
    doesn't belong in the downstairs world of the household staff any more than
    she belongs upstairs with the Buxton girls.  And when a young lord catches
    her eye, she begins to wonder if she'll ever truly carve out a place for
    herself at Summerset Abbey.

For more check out TJ at http://tjbrownbooks.com/

TJ Brown, author headshot

Author TJ Brown – Hooray for MomWriters!


Now, as if that alone doesn’t make one heck of a blog post, I still have more for you!  That’s right… we’re still in the middle of the January Photo Challenge – and I’m not one to give up on a challenge.  So here we are.  😉

The challenge today was to photograph water.  Easy peasy, right?  Yep.  Here’s the girl, immersed in the stuff:

kid in the bathtub

My little bathing beauty.

Let’s hope tomorrow is a LITTLE more of an actual challenge…

photo a day challenge for january

Something I’ve bought?  Well…  I guess there’s at least a little bit of thought to go into that one.  😉

 

Writerly Style

Every writer has a style all their own, a way of communicating that not only shares a story or a thought, but also that persons way of being.  My favourite writers have always been those who relay their tales as if telling, or retelling an oral folk story.  Who’s words come off the paper as if spoken, from a dear friend.  I suppose that is why I have such an easy way with words…  I write in the same voice as I speak.

Some writers are amazing world builders, artists like Tolkien, who’s worlds and characters take on an entire life of their own.  However these writers are not always easy to read.  Tolkien’s works don’t flow easily from the tongue, and they can be difficult for a novice reader to slog through (though even as a child that never stopped me).  Other writers craft amazing dialogue, to the point where you can hear the characters voices in your head as you read.  So many of Ms. Rice’s characters pop into mind – voices you’ll never forget, each completely distinct from one another.  Then there are those who are able to do both, and who do so with such brilliant smithery as to beguile your very senses…  and these are the writers for whom you cry for a reconnection with, when their stories come to an end.  These are the writers like DiTerlizzi – seriously, if you haven’t read his WondLa books yet what are you doing sitting at your computer or on your iWhatzit reading this?  Get on it!

Myself?  Well…  I’m not a fiction writer.  I’d never delude myself into thinking I could craft a novel.  A short story?  A bit of flash fiction?  Sure thing.  But I could never hold your attention long enough to bring you so deep into a world with such rich characters that you’d mourn for them when finished.  And I’m okay with that.

I write in my voice, and I write for every day people.  I may not particularly like people, but I love them…  I think people are full of potential.  And if my voice, my stories, my experiences, my knowledge, can inspire people?  Then I was “write” to put fingers to keys.  I know I will not change the world, but perhaps I can enkindle you.

red quill and silver ink well

Check out the weekly writing challenge here at wordpress.com:  Stylish Imitation

The night before school starts

The night before school starts,

and mom writes my name.

On notebooks, and pencils

helping me to lay claim.

Okay, yeah…

I’m not a poet,

that’s as far as it goes.

The rest of this blog post

is thankfully in prose.

 

My Sharpie is no longer sharp after writing “Lily-Ann” on 12 markers, 24 crayons, 24 pencil crayons, various notebooks, folders, and a scrapbook, as well as on shoes, pencil cases, glue sticks, erasers, a pencil sharpener, a bottle of white glue (with a no clog lid), and a backpack. Gotta love the night before the first day of school. Pre-k was easy all supplies are communal, but as kids enter the regular school system labeling everything quickly becomes the norm.

I remember my Mom scrawling our names on everything… And with so many of us it was no quick task. As our pencils and pencil crayons were wore down into little nubs, and all that remained was a letter or two, I’d still think of Mom writing our names every time I saw mine. It was a reassuring thing, though it didn’t register as such on a conscious level until many years later.

I hope, as Lily-Ann sits in her classroom this coming school year, that seeing her name spelled over and over again brings a sense of belonging and love. That she knows how treasured she is, not just by her Mom (who wrote her name so very many times) but by everyone who knows her. She really is such a special kid, and her joie de vie has left many with grins where previously there were none.

Girl is ready to be a “school kid” whether or not I am ready for the same. 😉

"Look Mommy!  PONY tails!"

“Look Mommy, PONY tails!”
I’m so glad I had my phone out and captured this moment. 🙂 And thanks so much to another My Little Pony Trading Post member for the lovely G1 sparkle pony in her left hand (she arrived in the mail today, and the girl is currently sleeping with her).

Thank you for three wonderful Augusts!

After being out of our ordinary routine for so long, the routine is hardly routine any longer.  Getting used to bedtimes the way they were before heading out to the lake will take a little while again.  In fact, my brain is more than a little fried tonight.  It’s one of those days where there is SOOO much I could be sharing (especially after a week of silence) that it’s hard to get myself centered enough to write much of anything.  So how about this?  How about a thank you!

I was looking at my blog stats earlier today.  Cringing and preparing myself for the worst.  After all, a week with no new posts to help drive traffic?  I didn’t expect much.  And while yes, my daily traffic did take a bit of a nose dive, my month still ended up pretty good.  Which made me think back on all the years I’ve been blogging now…  and how crazy it is that so many of you stop in to check on what our family is doing, what I’m ranting about, or to find a new diy idea.  It really is a little staggering, and I appreciate each and every one of you.  I truly do.

By the end of August 2010, I had just finished up my 8th month of blogging.  And my traffic for the month stood at 263 hits.  My blog was a personal challenge, so I was thrilled that there were so many people who came by to check on my photo of the day.

In 2011 I changed the focus from a photo a day to a post a day…  which opened things up a great deal for me.  I still shared a great deal of images, but I also began sharing my thoughts and feelings too.  August of 2o11 this blog saw 978 hits.

Now it’s 2012, and I’m in my third year of blogging.  I write on a number of topics (some of which are fairly “hot button”), and I’ve switched to six posts a week, taking Fridays off.  I share photo shoot previews, and personal snapshots too.  But in all things, you can count on me to be open and honest.  I don’t think there are really any topics I won’t discuss.  If it’s important to me, I’ll share… and yes, sometimes that includes things that are seriously TMI.  And this year?  In August we had a total of 1910 hits (in spite of a serious drop in traffic the last week).

Are those numbers staggering?  Maybe not to some.  But to this crunchy momma who started this journey as a photo a day challenge to herself, not expecting anyone to really follow along?  Yeah, those numbers are pretty darn amazing.

Thank you!  Thank you for your “follows”, your “likes”, your “comments”, your “shares”, your “tweets”, your “pins”, and mostly?  Thank you for coming along with me.  Life is many things, but it’s rarely easy…  and it’s nice to know that there are others along for the ride.

Here’s to another year, and many more wonderful Augusts!

Mephitic Citation? I Blame Exhaustion.

I have to admit, as I slip further and further into exhaustion, I become less and less comprehendable (yes, yet another made up word – you’re welcome).  In fact, my writing can become damn near incomprehensible at a certain point.  Have you stumbled over one of my late night facebook comments?  My word!  The editor in me honestly weeps.

Here’s a recent excerpt:

I constantly praise the kid for being as smart, creative, and totally fantastic – so no way will she be one of those girls who figure their only as good as their looks. 🙂 So while she may end up valley (but knock on wood, not) she certainly won’t be bobbleheaded. LOL

And my most sincere apologies Jude, for barfing that gem as a comment on your photo last night.  Seriously.

The editor in me realized the whole post should have been scrapped only moments after sharing, but it was already there.  And the real rub?  Along with my incomprehensible ramblings, I also become too lazy to really care.  It would be one thing if my writing skills suffered, but I still cared enough to edit myself to the point of acceptability – but no.  So it is that I am likely to continue spewing these types of mad musings all over FB, all over friends and family, whenever falling beyond the twinge into raging exhaution.

And seriously?  Now that I’m actually awake and looking over that post?  Ugh.  It just makes me shudder.  There is SOOOO much wrong with it.  I can’t believe that left my fingers.  Oh good grief.

So while I know I’m pretty freakin’ awesome, I believe my willingness to share that mephitic citation, is proof enough that I’m also completely willing to laugh at myself – as we ALL should be.  😉

600

So…

Post number 600.

I’ve been blogging here for a couple years now, almost daily (generally not on Fridays).  600 posts though, that seems like a lot.  Granted I don’t always have something interesting to say.  I’ve posted ridiculous things like a snapshot of our refillable slurpee cups at 7-11.  But I think I’ve also covered a lot of serious issues too.  Generally, I’m happy to log on after putting the girl to sleep, and just share whatever happens to be on my mind…  and, as I’ve mentioned, sometimes there’s not a lot there.  😉

My point?  Well…  I just wanted to say thank you.  Thanks for sticking through it with me.  Thanks for the “likes”, for the stars, for the comments…  thanks for the love.  🙂

600

It’s been a ride!  (and no, I’m not going anywhere…  just feeling kinda pensive about the whole thing)  LMAO

 

The Golden Pen Awards and the MomWriters Anniversary!

Every year, throughout May, I celebrate an amazing group of Women writers.  They are strong, creative, talented, giving, hard working, incredible people – and I am proud to call them my friends.  They are the MomWriters.

I can’t recall how long I’ve been one of them, but it’s as long as I can remember…  before I was mature enough to really be considered an adult, before I really knew who I even was.  They’ve seen me through many, many trials, and they’ve celebrated with me through many triumphs too.  The MomWriters are an incredibly important part of my life.

I started writing out names here – but got to 30 and had to stop…  there were still so many to go, and well…  I’d feel awful if I forgot someone.  LOL  So better to just say “YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!”

Today marks the MomWriters Anniversary.  The culmination of a month full of celebration, and remembrances.  We have a virtual ball.  We all choose our dresses (and yes, we call all fit into whatever size we wish, and take whatever dates we like – it is virtual after all).  So here is my dress:  http://www.simplydresses.com/shop/viewitem-PD675659  And I’ll wear it in MY size.  I’m a 15, but am comfortable in my skin.  And definitely in the coral, it’s my very best colour.  😉  And girls?  This year, I’m leaving my date at home.  It would have been my husband or Orlando Bloom – but I’m feeling like a grrrlz night is in order.  And I’m going barefoot!

The Golden Pen Awards are always organized by our dear Carma – the true heart and soul of MomWriters – and she tallies our votes on this day every year.  I’ve won a few over the years (but always in one category, the John Hancock award).  This year though, not only was the award a surprise, but so too was the nomination.  Still don’t know who actually nominated me – speak up if it was you.  I’d like to give you a big squeeze to say thank you!  So, this year?  A huge surprise to win the Debate Diva award “for the Momwriter who loves to debate issues — any issues — but does so in a kind manner”.  Thank you ladies (and gents, because we do have a couple of gents in our little group), this means a lot.  🙂

When I told my husband that I won the Debate Diva Award for this year, he laughed and said “no shock there”.  LOL  But it was a shock, a really wonderful one.  It really was.  I didn’t even campaign for this win.  LMAO

Congratulations to all the Golden Pen winners, and to everyone who was nominated – you are all such amazing women.  I’m proud to be in your ranks!  And to have not yet been thrown out!  😉  Can you guys throw me out?  Maybe no-one has thought of that yet.  I better be quiet (and pay off Guido).  hehehe…

So…  before I head to the ballroom to join my wonderful incredible friends – my source of support, of unconditional love, of motherly advice and wisdom, of power, of kindness, of all things good that Women are – Thank you!  I know none of us says it often enough.  But you truly mean the world to me.  I am so blessed to be a part of such an amazing group of women.  I believe in the power of SHE!

Cuddled up…

As the rain pours down, the thunder rolls, and the lighting flashes across the sky…  the girlie and I cuddle beneath Nana’s blanket.  Listening, and loving the sights, sounds, and smells of a Summer storm.  🙂

All cuddled up...

On an unrelated note…  I’ve finished the manuscript for my children’s story.  What possessed me to write a children’s book I’ll never know.  But it was the first time my muse hit me in such an unrelenting fashion in a long time.  I’m quite comfortable writing canine non-fiction (dog training advice, behaviour tips, and breed information most commonly).  But then, one evening, laying in bed next to my sleeping girl I just felt the NEED to write.  The only thing near by was my BlackBerry… so believe it or not I actually wrote the first 1/3 of the manuscript on that.  LMAO  Hey!  When the muse hits, the muse hits!  If I’ve learned one thing as a writer it’s to listen to my inner voice.

Now I begin taking steps on completely foreign soil.  I don’t have contacts (agents and publishers) in this world.  In non-fiction, doing what I’ve been doing for years?  Yep.  I know many folks.  But this is something completely new to me.  So it’s a new adventure… but one I think will be very worth fully delving into.  Wish me luck.

Pop Quiz!

How many of you know what I’m holding in this pic?

Hint – Crunchy mommas may have an edge on guessing this one.

Can you guess?

What is it?

Another hint?  Okay…  I’ll be doing an article featuring this item, and several other products for a similar use in an upcoming Pure Greenius.  Want to know more?  Guess you’ll just have to keep your eyes on http://www.puregreenius.ca/ to get the scoop.  😀

I’ll be honest…  reviewing some of these items took me on a rather uncomfortable journey.  But you can’t write what you don’t know.  So I just pushed on through, determined to get the dirt that other women have been too timid to get.  Boy.  Sometimes I have to shake my head at myself…  the things I’m willing to do so that others don’t have to.  LMAO

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