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The giving chain

I’m a terrible blogger.

In the last several months, I’ve been nominated for some very sweet awards, and it’s taken me forever to post them! Here they are:

dragonsloyaltyaward wonderful-readership-award versatilebloggeraward1 tell-me-about-yourself liebster-award1

I was nominated for these awards by:

  • JM McDowell (Dragon’s Loyalty Award), who runs, a blog filled with good humor, advice, and original stories about her archaeologist mystery-cracker, Meghan Bode;
  • Jenny the Wren (Liebster Award), who writes up all kinds of different musings, reviews, and personal stories of life and new-mommyhood over at;
  • Subhan Zein (Versatile Blogger and Tell Me About Yourself Awards), the talented and soulful writer of short stories, poetic observations, and freedom from the mundane at;
  • Summer (Wonderful Readership Award), whose inner peace and graciousness always shine through on her blog,

Some of these awards come with rules for posting: nominate so many bloggers, tell so many facts about yourself, don’t stop the giving chain. Normally, I’m one to adhere to rules. But, for the purpose of blogging awards, I usually let those rules go.

From "Grease" - courtesy

“The rules are, there ain’t no rules!”

But, for those of you interested, some “facts” about me:

  • I like saying I’m an artist, but, really, I’m a jock. I have to exercise every day, or I don’t feel like myself. At school, I competed in Track and Field; the 100-meter dash was my main event, and I anchored our team for the 400-meter relay. I love swimming, and surfing is a relatively new passion. Aside from the sprints, I’m not a great runner, though I often find it centers me. When I’m feeling troubled, there’s not much that can’t be cured by a good, sweaty run!
  • I’m Miss Middle-of-the-Road. Maybe it comes from being a Libra, but I’ve always had to look at both sides of a situation. Sometimes, that’s helpful, like when I have to mediate an argument between family or friends. Other times, not so much, as it can cause me to vacillate too long, and opportunities can pass me by!
  • I’m not the brightest bulb…but I’m not the dimmest, either. Sports are, by their very nature, competitive, and that competitiveness found its way into other parts of my life. I was always comparing myself to other people: their strengths, their successes, the accolades and adulation. But, for every winner, there has to be a loser. It took a long time for me to understand that losing gracefully can be just as worthwhile as winning graciously. A good thing, since winning is so rare!
  • I play favorites. Not among my family (my sister), or for my girls (the older one), but with my characters. Whoever is foremost in my story-writing brain naturally gets privileged child status, of course, but I’ll always have my perennial favorites, too, especially in my fan works.
  • Speaking of fan works, there’s nothing wrong with writing what you want, whatever that may be. Fan fiction, open poetry, stream of consciousness diary, historical biography, children’s, drama, sci-fi, horror, terror, thriller, romance, research, religion, comics, smut, slice of life, short fiction, long fiction – it’s all good. Certainly, some of those genres relate more easily to publishing, but always write first for your own passion.
  • Lastly, I can only be myself, just like you can only be yourself. Every person has their own conflicts, their own burdens, their own triumphs. The world is a big place; we only ever see a sliver of it. But, just because we don’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. So, be excellent to each other.

Would you like to pick up one of the above awards? Please, feel free to grab the icon!

If you’re looking for some great bloggers to follow, I advocate the talented ladies and gent above – JM McDowell, Jenny the Wren, Subhan Zein, and Summer – as well as some other blogs and bloggers I always make certain to keep up with:

Many thanks go out to everyone who’s ever followed, liked, or commented on my words and musings.

Happy blogging, everyone!

My Booker Award

Before NaNoWriMo hit me over the head with its massive mallet, I was nominated for the Booker Award, by the lovely itsjennythewren. (Sorry it’s taken me so long to acknowledge!)

Booker_Award_LogoThat description fits me well! 😀

For the Booker Award, I’m to list my top five favorite books, and nominate five other bloggers.

I don’t like nominating other bloggers, because there are so many talented writers I follow out there, and I always feel bad when I’ve missed someone. So, rather than make nominations, take a stroll through the Friends of my blog or the list of bloggers I follow, and give their sites a read. And, feel free to join the ranks of the Booker Award winners by taking the image above!

Now, for my favorite books….

This list fluctuates a lot from year to year, based on what I’m reading (and what world I’m embroiled in). But, here are some of my perennial favorites (links lead to the Wikipedia pages, which do contain spoilers, so be warned):

Cover-Thief_of_AlwaysThe Thief of Always, by Clive Barker.
A fable of magic, childhood, and the preciousness of time. Written for children, this quick read is also a story for adults, as it recaptures much of what’s fantastic about being a child. There’s danger and wit, even a charmingly chaste love story. And, of course, an unlikely hero who’s every bit magician as he is simple boy.

Cover-Son_Of_A_WitchSon of a Witch, by Gregory Maguire.
The sequel to Maguire’s popular retelling of the Oz stories, Wicked. I liked Wicked a lot, but I appreciated the more direct coming-of-age tale central to Son. Full of dragons, intrigue, and romance (of many kinds), Son of a Witch feels more complete, to me. It suffers a bit from being a middle book, but there’s enough about Liir – the main character – to make the world of Oz feel so much more real than it did even in Wicked.

Cover-Stephen_King_ItIT, by Stephen King.
There’s something about terror and childhood going hand-in-hand, and King’s IT does so masterfully. Many of us can relate to at least one of the Losers, the children-become-adult protagonists in the book. The main conflict between monster and men (and woman) is terrifying and thrilling…but King’s prose feels strongest when he’s telling the history of the Losers’ lives in rural Maine. I’ve heard the book touted as a great American horror story, but it is, at its core, about characters. And those characters cut, bleed, shine, love, and everything in between.

Cover-Sense_and_SensibilitySense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen.
Like my Sally says, “[That] is one of my favourite stories!” The romantic and dramatic entanglements of the Dashwood sisters are timeless, and their wit and sensitivity are equally biting and tender. Colonel Brandon is one of those great soft-spoken heroes (yes, I call him a hero) you look for in real life. The story is a bit pat for some modern readers, but I’ve always enjoyed its distinctly feminine charms.


The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams.
Really, who can’t identify with common-man shlub Arthur Dent, and the (mis-)adventures he has with Ford Prefect, Zaphod Beeblebrox, and Trillian? While the story didn’t start as a novel, Adams’s sometimes-caustic but always-entertaining humor – both in the story proper and the side-notes for the Guide – is one-of-a-kind, and firmly entrenches this book in my list of favorites. The sequels are darn good, too, but this introductory adventure of mice and questions and the destruction of the Earth is a wonderful romp on so many levels. If you haven’t read the Guide, I don’t know what you’re waiting for.

“The Unholy Grail,” by Fritz Leiber.
This one is not a book but a novelette, the first story ever written about the sword-and-sorcery anti-hero, the Gray Mouser. Companion Fafhrd doesn’t even show up in this story except as a single line anecdote, but that doesn’t stop this one from being one of my favorite Fafhrd and Gray Mouser stories, ever, mostly for how visceral Mouse’s hatred is for the villain, and how overflowing his love for the villain’s daughter, Ivrian. Fafhrd and the Mouser are notorious womanizers, but, in this short tale, you really get a sense for who Mouse could have been, if he hadn’t succumbed to the allure of dark magic. Ivrian is a great little character, too: frail at the beginning but with a kind of growing strength the more time she spends with her beloved Mouse. Just a great fantasy read, simple in its telling, and I look to this one whenever I think I’m going overboard with the prose.


Thanks again to itsjennythewren for the nomination! It was a great excuse for me to comb through my bookshelves, again.

What are your favorite stories?

Beautiful Bloggers unite!

Recently, I was nominated for the Beautiful Blogger award, by the writers over at Limebirds UK. (Update: I was also nominated for this award by 4amwriter!) Check them (both) out!

I blog mostly for my own amusement, so it was both a pleasant surprise and an honor to be nominated by the Limebirds.

Beautiful Blogger AwardI don’t know who started the Beautiful Blogger award, but if you are reading this, please let me know – I would like to give you credit! (A quick Google search sadly yielded no pertinent info.)

With this nomination comes responsibility, and by accepting the award, I must:

  1. Thank and Linkback to my nominator (in my case, the Limebirds).
  2. Post the award on my site.
  3. Pass this award on to (nominate) 6 or 7 (or more; or fewer) bloggers whom I consider worthy.
  4. Tell folks 10 things about myself, that they might not already know.

With 1 and 2 taken care of, let’s get to my nominees. It’s hard to keep up with so many blogs, but these are ones I always make time to read:

  1. Castelsarrasin, whose fiction and real-life stories always inspire.
  2. Lucid Gypsy, where I can always find a photo, fiction, or travelogue to make me smile.
  3. Sjbwriting, where remembering what it’s like to be a child helps give insight into what can make us better adults.
  4. Conversing with Novels, where Ottabelle doesn’t just show us pieces of her work, but pieces of herself, too.
  5. Soul and Sweet Tea, whose work both on the page and off it reminds me to think first about the world and people around me before myself.
  6. And, of course, thespooneytoaster, who’s been my online pal for many years now, and who’s willing to ask questions even I can’t stomach, sometimes.

Check out these beautiful bloggers when you get the chance!

Now, for those facts….

30s Pinup, by Celeste Giuliano Photography

Photo by Celeste Giuliano Photography:

  1. I first learned to write – my name, followed by stories – from my big sister…whose opinion still matters to me.
  2. I love writing romance stories…but I don’t like reading romance novels. Go figure.
  3. I enjoy being a pinup model, on occasion (like in the photo above)!
  4. I’ve been reading comic books for most of my life, and have been playing videogames for almost as long.
  5. I have the most mock-able degree in the world: English Literature major, with a Classics minor. (But I got to read The Iliad in the original Greek!)
  6. I lovesurfing, even though I’m not very good at it. (I keep getting on that board, though!)

    popup at pacific beach

    A low-level popup at PB, CA

  7. My very first published work was a short story called “A Day in the Life,” based loosely on a Killraven story about a twenty-four hour man.
  8. My second published work was a science fiction short-comic collaboration with my friend Pete Stathis, called “Sins of the Fathers.”
  9. Most of my heroes/heroines have daddy issues…though I maintain a very good relationship with my own father. (Maybe it’s from growing up with all those Disney princesses.)
  10. I don’t believe in failure. Only in never trying.

Thanks again to the Limebirds for the nomination, and I hope those of you who have been nominated keep this trend going!