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Friday Favorites – Yoda, Ferris, & Writing

After more than a week of fabulous warmer than normal weather here in Chicago, it’s a rainy, miserable day. But, I do have some great posts for you to click through:

Fun Stuff:

taken from Google images

Marcy Kennedy writes about how Yoda was wrong. Now, I’ve mentioned before how Yoda is huge at our house, so my gut wanted to scream, “Never!” but then I read the post. Marcy is referring to Yoda’s famous quote, “Do or do not. There is no try.” This is something I’ve often quoted to my children (and they have of course spit back at me). Marcy points out that trying isn’t always enough. While she has very valid points, I think I’ll stick to the spirit of what Yoda teaches because I believe perseverance can take you pretty far.

It’s March madness all over this time of year, and it’s not all about basketball. Dabwaha is run by Dear Author and Smart Bitches an is all about books. March Movie Madness (MMM) is all about pitting movies heroes against one another.

Renee Schuls-Jacobson makes a plea for Ferris Bueller. Not only do I love this movie and Ferris, but I even have it in my book that’s coming out later this year. Even if you’re not voting, check out all the reasons she loves Ferris.

Photomontage to Ferris Bueller's Day Off (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tiffany White has a great round-up of midseason replacement shows. Check them out.

The Romance Man has a ton of fun with his post Chicks with Dicks (no, not that kind). He’s talking about why girls fall for guys who treat them like shit. The post is great, but you also have to read the comments. You’ll have plenty of laughs. As a girl who fell for many assholes, I can’t explain it. It’s not that I didn’t date any nice guys; there were a few. One guy I broke up with because he was so nice. What did I know? I was 16. I still know this guy and I also know that I wasn’t ready for him at 16. If I had met him when I was 30 and looking to settle down, I totally would’ve snapped him up.

Writing Links:

I have two different posts about the rules of romance. Both are interesting, especially if you read through the comments.

Greta van der Rol normally doesn’t write romance and she’s struggling with some of the “rules.”

Merry Farmer lists some of the expected rules of the romance genre, but points out that rules can be broken.

Jenny Hansen invited Margie Lawson to write a guest post for her blog. Margie is great. If you’ve never taken a class with her, I urge you to do so. You will learn so much from both Margie and your classmates. Your writing will improve and you’ll learn skills to carry into your next MS. In this post, Margie talks about writing smiles fresh and new.

Shelli Johnson has a post about how to know if you’re stretching yourself as a writer. She suggests that when you feel like you’re in over your head, it’s a good thing.

Jody Hedlund writes about why it’s important to put our books to bed. It’s important to give ourselves breathing room after we finish writing so we can look at the book with fresh eyes. A lot of people will attempt to plow through without giving themselves a break when they go from first to final draft. The problem with that is that you’re too close to the book and you can’t see problems.

Kvetch Mom, Jennifer Liberts Weinberg, writes about the importance of having a writer’s group. I personally wouldn’t want to have to start one, but I’m lucky enough to belong to my local RWA chapter. It’s not just about finding people to critique your work, but about finding like-minded people who can understand you. My group is a critique chapter. Someone reads for critique at every single meeting. I haven’t read in over 2 years, but I still get so much out of going. It’s a group of friends who understand the process and frustrations of being a writer.

Emma Burcart had a revelation that the bathroom is her think tank. It’s a good about when and where we have time to let our stories develop. I’m like Emma, shower time is my plotting time (and I use the word plotting very loosely). It’s the one time and place where I’m least likely to get interrupted by the kids.

Finally, Jenny Hansen offers some great advice on getting organized as a blogger.

Have a great weekend and I hope your weather is better than what I’m looking at.

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Friday Favorites and Turning 40

Before I get to my mash-up of awesome links for the week, I have something to show you. I recently had a birthday and I guess it was supposed to be a big one (see the title). I’ve said it before, I’m not much for celebrating for myself, but my best friend and I got together for dinner last night (which is why this post is so late). Right after I parked my car, she caught me in the parking lot and hefted a huge basket into the back of my van. My birthday present. When I got home I spent a good 15 minutes unwrapping and laughing over 40 individual gifts. She bought me 40 things I like. Here’s a bad photo, and although you can’t see everything, you get the idea:

With all the chocolate, junk food, and alcohol, you'd never guess that she's not a writer.

I think it was the best birthday gift I’ve ever gotten. It’s not the items themselves, of course, but it’s having someone who knows you that well. I hope you all have a friend like her 🙂

On to lots of links. I’m too lazy to separate these into categories this week, since I’m  running so late and I’ll have to head out soon to pick up the kids. Trust me when I say, they’re all worth a read.

Emma Burcart describes the best relationship she ever had – back in the third grade. What I love about this post is that when we’re that young, we know what we want and what we expect, but somewhere over the years, we tend to lose some of that. Here’s to remembering our nine-year-old selves.

Linda Adams talks about the commercialization of Star Wars. Although I see her point, and maybe it has gotten out of hand, I still wouldn’t want them to stop making the toys. Everyone in my house has spent countless hours playing with Star Wars action figures.

Debra Kristi has a great post about chocolate. I love it when someone validates that chocolate is good for us. 🙂

August McLaughlin uses her father’s retirement to explore how writers should approach their dreams.

Merry Farmer continues her series on how she writes. This week, she talks about using music to set the mood and maybe offer inspiration. I’ve mention before that I created a playlist for the first time for my WIP. I’m still revising book 2 for my contract, so I haven’t gone back to my WIP in a while, but I have to admit, I wish I had a soundtrack for book 2. I miss not having specific songs to ground me in that world with those characters.

Tonya Kappes writes about how it’s important to review your goals to see how far you’ve come.

Shelli Johnson does a post about offering words of encouragement to yourself because it’s always easier to believe the bad stuff. I’ve mentioned before that I’ve taken a few classes with Lani Diane Rich and one thing she requires from her students at the end of each class is for them to announce (in all caps and tons of exclamation points) “I am a great writer!” The post reminded me of the importance of that.

Trish Loye Elliott over on Wordbitches has a post on inspiration and optimism. The part I love most is the Wordplayer’s manifesto that she took from K.M. Weiland.

Finally, Annette Gendler has a photo essay showing some great shots of Millennium Park and Crown Fountain in Chicago. I love these pictures and I had to include this because I have a scene in my book that takes place at Millennium Park.

What was the best birthday gift you ever received?

Friday Favorites – Romance, Writing, & Good TV

As you know, this week was Valentine’s Day and there were lots of great posts on the meaning of the holiday and love and good stuff like that. But there was so much more than Valentine’s Day.

Romance and Writing:

August McLaughlin did wrap-up from her Beauty of a Women Blogfest. In addition, she wrote a fabulous post about how Dorothy (from The Wizard of Oz) is a great heroine. For me, this is especially timely because we’re reading the abridged version of Oz at bedtime right now.

Heather Massey posted on the Heroes and Heartbreakers blog about how Boba Fett would make a great romance hero. As a lover of Star Wars, I really liked this.

Jody Hedlund wrote a defense of the romance genre. She is much more eloquent than I was (especially since I’m more likely to flip someone the bird than offer valid reasons for my choice in reading).

Shelli Johnson wrote a list of things she wishes she could tell her younger self. Don’t we all have things we wish we knew then?

Jenny Hansen hosted Margie Lawson for a  guest post on  how to write fresh visceral reactions. The post is a definite must-read for any writer. I’m currently taking a class with Margie and it’s worth every penny. I’m looking at my manuscript with fresh eyes, and where I was frustrated before, I’m now excited because I know the changes I’m making are improving the book.

Fun TV:

Jessica O’Neal has run a series of posts about Robin Hood, but this week, she talks about her favorite version, the BBC TV series. I have to admit that I watched the first season and most, if not all of the second. I LOVE that Robin Hood. I missed some episodes and back then I didn’t have a DVR, but now, I believe it’s on Netflix. Reading her post made me want to catch up. Like right now.

Tiffany White gives us a run-down on The Finder. I’ve been watching the show and I like it. It comes on right after Bones, and like Tiffany, I’m a huge Bones fan, so I was easily sucked into watching The Finder. The show has a fun, quirky cast of characters.

Amber West goes in depth on Alcatraz. I wrote about Alcatraz a little, but if you want a better understanding, especially if you haven’t tuned in yet, check out Amber’s post.

Finally, lest you think I wouldn’t give any space to love and romance, I want to thank Alastair Stephens for posting this, so that I could then steal it from Overthinking It for the end of my post:

That about sums up how I feel about love and romance. How has your week gone? Anything special for Valentine’s Day?

Versatile Blogger Award

You know, I’ve only been doing this blogging thing for a couple of months, but because of Kristen Lamb’s class on blogging to build your author brand (hello WANA1011 people), I have a whole team of people to network with both on my blog and on Twitter. It’s made the entire experience so much easier and less frightening. One of the perks of having a ready made group of on-line friends is the passing on of blog awards.

Last month, Emma Burcart bestowed the Liebster Blog award on me. I was surprised to receive any award, much less one after only a few weeks of blogging.

Then, earlier this week, Debra Kristi passed the Versatile Blogger Award to me. Thanks so much, Debra!

Part of receiving the award is to reveal 7 things about myself and then pass the award on to more people. so without further ado, here are 7 things about me:

1. I love popcorn. It is by far my favorite snack. I make hot air popcorn at least 3 times a week. If my hot air popper broke down, I think I might cry.

2. I’m a no-frills kind of girl. I only wear make-up when I have to look like a grown-up. I like to keep everything simple, including my wardrobe. I don’t want to have to think about what to wear. Jeans, t-shirts, and gym shoes.

3. I’m a natural night owl, but my kids keep trying to change that about me. Having to get them to school on time (which is always in the morning and I’m not  morning person), makes staying up until 1 a.m. difficult.

4. I only do housework when I need to work through a plot point in my book. I hate to clean, but I find that distracting myself with mundane tasks (like cleaning out closets) helps free my brain to figure out my writing problems.

5. My day job as an editor involves me reading a lot of news articles. I have to pick out headlines to assign to my writers. Because of this, I never pay attention to the news (TV or on-line) when I’m not working. In general, I don’t like to watch the news because it’s so depressing. Then, if something major happens between Thursday afternoon and Saturday afternoon, I totally miss it.

6. I am a total wallflower. People who have known me a while never believe this, but it’s true. I tend to hang back in social situations and observe for a really long time before I talk to people. I almost never initiate conversation.

7. And to build off #6, I lack some basic social skills. I don’t know what happened during my childhood that made me miss out on something, but at least as an adult, I recognize it. I’m the kind of person who has to remind herself to ask someone how they’re doing. I often put my foot in my mouth without realizing it until later. And sometimes, people get mad at me for being honest with a side of sarcasm. It’s who I am and I’m usually unapologetic for it. Now you all know why I hesitated to join Twitter — a huge cocktail party with an endless supply of people to offend. 🙂

Phew — now that I have the first list out of the way, on to the second list: the people I’d like to hand the Versatile Blogger Award to. Most of these writers I have linked to in the past during my Friday Favorites posts, so their names will look familiar. A couple are new-to-me bloggers that I’m sure I’ll be adding to my Friday Favorites in the future:

1. Asrai Devin – The Maven of Mischief

2. Catie Rhodes – Full-Tilt Backwoods Boogie

3. Tawna Fenske – Don’t Pet Me, I’m Writing

4. Elena Aitken – Don’t Forget to Breathe

5. Emma Burcart – Occasional Epiphanies

6. Jillian Dodd – Glitter, Bliss, and Perfect Chaos

7. Merry Farmer – An Historical Romance

8. Jessica Ward – The Mental Ward– If you can’t handle the truth, don’t look…

9. Shelli Johnson – Author

10. Renee Schuls-Jacobson – Lessons from Teachers and Twits

As award recipients, please pass the award on to up to 14 other bloggers and don’t forget to give us 7 things about you.