Thursday, April 30, 2015

Z is for Zola

Happy last day of the 2015 Challenge! Thanks to everyone who came by here throughout the month and thanks as well to the A to Z hosts and their minions for all the work they do to make the challenge a success.

"If you ask me what I came into this life to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud." ~ Emile ZOLA

I spent most of my adult life trying to be as silent and as invisible as possible. While I'm still far from an extrovert, I've taken steps toward living out loud in recent years. Life is definitely better when you're not trying to disappear. 

And that's my last quote!

I'm also at Untethered Realms today to finish up our group A to Z. Visit me there for another teaser from Polar Day.

Thanks again to everyone who made this year's challenge another success. Well done, all!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Y is for You

YOU can, YOU should, and if you’re brave enough to start, YOU will." ~ Stephen King

This is one of my favorite writing quotes and one that inspired me a great deal when I was trying to get the courage up to write my first story. Thanks, Mr. King! :) 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

X is for eXperience

We're close to the end of the A to Z Challenge and I admit that I didn't have the energy to look for a photo to go with this post so I'm thankful to the AtoZ team for providing the letter badges for us to use. I also know I'm cheating with my X word but I couldn't find any way around it.

“Never regret. If it's good, it's wonderful. If it's bad, it's EXPERIENCE.” ~ Victoria Holt

I've spent lots of time beating myself up over regrets in my life. There's no question I'd love to have some do-overs, but in recent years I've tried to focus on the fact that without my experiences, good and bad, I wouldn't be who I am now in the place I am today. 

But I still regret taking out so many student loans. ;) 

Monday, April 27, 2015

W is for Warm


Happiness is a WARM puppy ~ Charles Schulz

And a warm middle-aged dog. :)

I'm also at Untethered Realms today with a short teaser from Polar Day. Visit me there for W is for Witchcraft. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

V is for Vase

“Like a graceful VASE, a cat, even when motionless, seems to flow.” ~ George Will

This is another quote that I don't have much to add to. Except that I wish I could be even half as graceful as my Nate or any other cat. 

I'm at the Ohioana Book Festival in Columbus, Ohio today so I scheduled this post and I hope I'm having a great time when it's live. I loved the Ohioana fest last year and I hope to love it even more this year. I'm on a panel again this year but unlike last year I'm not a nervous wreck about it. I hope I don't jinx myself by feeling that way LOL. 

Hope everyone is enjoying the weekend! 

Friday, April 24, 2015

U is for Universe

“Do I dare 
Disturb the UNIVERSE?" 
~ T.S. Eliot

This is one of my favorite lines from my favorite poem, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot. I first read this poem when I was in college and it's stuck with me ever since. For the narrator of the poem, the answer to the above question was no. As he says himself, "in short, I was afraid."

I've spent most of my life being afraid to disturb my own universe but embarking on this writing journey was the one time I took a leap and dared. I'm so glad that I was finally able to get to the point where I could answer yes to Eliot's question.

I have been crazy busy this week and am participating in the Ohioana Book Festival this weekend so I have fallen way behind on my blog reading and I'm sorry for that. Thank you to everyone who has come by here and commented. I will get caught up next week before we come to the end of another challenge!

Have a great weekend, all. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

T is for Try

"Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to TRY just one more time." ~ Thomas A. Edison

I don't really have anything to add to this one. :) 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

S is for Staircase

"Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole STAIRCASE, just take the first step." ~ Martin Luther King, Jr. 

This is another quote that was a mantra for me when I started this blog and my writing journey. After four + years I still can't see the whole staircase, but I'm excited to imagine what I might find at the top. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

R is for Reborn

“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is REBORN.” ~ Anne Frank 

While I certainly can't imagine the horrors Anne Frank wanted to "shake off" when writing, I can relate to the feeling of freedom and excitement that comes with it. I can shake off boredom or lethargy and be transported to other times and other places simply by sitting down with my laptop. It's one of the greatest gifts writing has given me.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Q is for Questions

"For true success ask yourself these four QUESTIONS: Why? Why not? Why not me? Why not now?" ~ 
James Allen 

I love this because I have a bad habit of telling myself "I can't" or "not now." Whenever I tell myself those things I need to remember to then ask "Why not?" There's usually not a good answer to that question. 

And I couldn't resist this picture to go along with the quote because I love when dogs cock their heads and give us this kind of quizzical expression. When Clancy does it I get the impression he thinks I've finally gone off the deep end. :D 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

P is for Passion

"There is no PASSION to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living." ~ Nelson Mandela

Before I started writing regularly I felt as if I'd spent my whole life settling. While I was lucky to have a nice job, I'd never felt passionate about it. I envied people who seemed to feel that way about their careers. While I can't say writing is my career (yet!) I can now understand how it feels to have a passion for something. And there's no question it's a good feeling. :D

Friday, April 17, 2015

O is for Old

"You are never too OLD to set another goal or to dream a new dream." ~ C. S. Lewis

While all of the quotes I've used in my challenge posts are favorites, this one is right up near the top in terms of being inspirational to me. It's safe to say I got a late start with writing and there are times I still feel like I waited too long and I'm too old. I scold myself for not starting earlier. Mr. Lewis' words are nice to have around during those times.

Happy Friday and weekend, all!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

N is for Nothing

“Tomorrow may be hell, but today was a good writing day, and on the good writing days NOTHING else matters.” ~ Neil Gaiman

There's nothing quite like a good writing day. :)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Letter M & Blog the Change for Animals

"Don't tell me the MOON is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass." ~ Anton Chekhov

I love this quote because I've always loved staring up at the moon in the sky, but it also intimidates me because it relates to the thing I find most difficult in writing. To me nothing is harder than description and while I like to think I could show the glint of light I'm certainly not confident of it. I sometimes think I should try my hand at writing a script because I love to write dialogue. If I could write all dialogue and skip description all together I'd probably be a happy camper. But I'm going to keep trying to capture that light on broken glass. 

Blog the Change for Animals is a hop that is held four times a year to raise awareness about animal-related causes and issues. Today marks the first hop since I joined the BtC team as a blogger, and I am excited to be able to share my first post for the blog. You can also see the list of other bloggers who are participating in the hop and sharing their own great causes.

I visited the Sunrise Sanctuary, a rescue for farm animals in Marysville, Ohio, this past Saturday and fell so in love with the place that it's inspired me to try to make more compassionate choices in my own life. To read about my visit, go to the BtC site here.

Since I wrote about my visit at BtC I will keep this brief, but suffice it to say that the Sanctuary is an absolutely wonderful and enchanting place that I am proud to support. I hope to visit again this summer. If you would like to learn more about the farm and the cows, pigs, goats, horses, llamas, ducks, and many others who call it home, visit their page here.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

L is for Loved

Nate & Clancy not long after they first met
"Until one has LOVED an animal a part of one's soul remains unawakened." ~ Anatole France

Enough said. :)

Monday, April 13, 2015

K is for Kindness

"The everyday KINDNESS of the back roads more than makes up for the acts of greed in the headlines." ~  Charles Kuralt

As I find nearly all headlines depressing nowadays, I really liked this quote when I came upon it. In the face of so much violence, hate, greed, corruption, and cruelty it's good to remember that there are kind and good-hearted people everywhere, in every corner of the world, just going about their lives. I've certainly met plenty of them here in blog land. :)

I'm managed to get way behind in my blog reading and commenting and I apologize for that! I am going to work to get caught up today. I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

J is for Journey

“The JOURNEY of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” ~  Lao Tzu 

This quote was my mantra when I started on my writing journey and began this blog. I was very nervous about starting the blog but I told myself, it's just one step. Try it and see where it leads.

It's amazing to look back over the last four + years and see where that single step has taken me. I am very indebted to the A to Z, as I doubt I would have kept blogging if I hadn't signed up for my first challenge back in 2011. That April made me see how many great people were out there in the blogosphere and how much fun blogging could be.

The best thing about this journey of mine is I feel like it's just getting started. I'm hoping I still have a thousand more miles to go.

Friday, April 10, 2015

I is for Irish

 “Being IRISH, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy.” ~ W.B. Yeats

My paternal grandmother was Irish, and when it came time for my DNA to be sorted out I seemed to only get her genes. My dad had quite a few of them as well, and my sister bought him a plaque with the above quote from Irish poet W.B. Yeats as a joke. 

He couldn't deny that there was a great deal of truth in the sentiment, and I feel the same way when it comes to my own demeanor. I definitely tend towards the melancholy. When I read the quote, I know there is a great deal of Irish blood in my veins. I don't think I will ever be able to consider myself an optimist. 

Earlier this year my family and I were on a roll when it came to good news. Lots of good things happened for me both personally and professionally. I mentioned to my mom that I was happy about all of it but I also felt like it was inevitable that it would all end and everything would go to hell soon enough. She laughed and said "Well don't you sound just like that quote on your father's plaque?"

I laughed and couldn't deny it. What can I say? It's in my genes. 

Do you consider yourself an optimist or a pessimist? Or somewhere in between? That's the point I hope I can get to. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

H is for Heart

"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the HEART." ~ Helen Keller

After I decided to use the Helen Keller quote for today's post I came upon this quote that fit so well with the idea that I had to use it too. Nothing wrong with two quotes, right? :)

"And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the HEART that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” ~ Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry, The Little Prince

I don't have anything to add, except that when I was younger I'm not sure I would have agreed with or understood these quotes. Now I see the wisdom of both. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

G is for Go

If you want to conquer fear, don't sit home and think about it. GO out and get busy. ~ Dale Carnegie

I am a master at sitting home and thinking, or to be more accurate, fretting, about something that scares me or bothers me for one reason or another. At the beginning of last year I spent most of my time fretting about the book events I had scheduled and the public speaking that came along with them. But a funny thing happened when I actually went out and did the events. After all the worrying, I had a great time at the events and I even enjoyed the public speaking. While I won't say I've totally conquered my fear of public speaking, I've come a long way and this year I am looking forward to the events instead of freaking out about them. 

For me at least, Mr. Carnegie's advice was right on target. I doubt that sitting home and worrying has ever solved anything. GO out and do what scares you. You may be surprised at the results.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Letter F and the Dragon of the Stars Release Day!

I will get to my F quote in a moment but first I want to say congratulations to Alex J. Cavanaugh on the release of his fourth novel, Dragon of the Stars. Yay, Alex! I'm participating in the scavenger hunt so read on for all the info on both the book and the hunt, as well as a visit from Mini-Alex himself.

SCAVENGER HUNT! Comment to win an autographed copy of Dragon of the Stars, tons of bookmarks & postcards, and a $20.00 iTunes gift card–where is Mini-Alex? Visit Alex for a list of the participants. (Open through April 11 – winner announced April 13 at Alex’s blog.)

Available today!
Dragon of the Stars By Alex J. Cavanaugh
Science Fiction – Space Opera/Adventure/Military
Print ISBN 9781939844064 EBook ISBN 9781939844057

The ship of legends…

The future is set for Lt. Commander Aden Pendar, poised to secure his own command and marriage to the queen’s daughter. But when the Alliance declares war on their world, Aden finds his plans in disarray and told he won’t make captain. One chance remains–the Dragon. Lost many years prior, the legendary ship’s unique weapon is Hyrath’s only hope. Can Aden find the Dragon, save his people, and prove he’s capable of commanding his own ship?


Amazon - Kindle ~ Print

Congratulations again to Alex! 

And now for my F post: F is for Fail

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. FAIL again. FAIL better. ~ Samuel Beckett

I like that this quote gives a new perspective on failing, something I have plenty of experience with. :D 

I'm also at Untethered Realms today with F is for Flames. Visit me there for a teaser from Polar Day. 

And don't worry, I didn't forget about Mini-Alex and the scavenger hunt. I was saving the best for last. 

Thanks for coming by, Mini-Alex!

Monday, April 6, 2015

E is for Explore

Today's quote comes from one of my writing idols, Joss Whedon.

“I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to EXPLORE all the things I'm afraid of." ~ Joss Whedon

I love this quote but it also makes me laugh a little. I've always been such a chicken that if I explore all the things I'm afraid of it's safe to say that I will never run out of topics. :D 

In all seriousness though I do relate to the quote and I'm grateful that writing has given me the outlet to do all of these things. 

I hope everyone had a good weekend and has a great week ahead. 

Friday, April 3, 2015

C is for Clock, D is for Dare, and the That Book Place Authors Fair

"Don't watch the CLOCK; do what it does. Keep going." ~ Sam Levenson

I don't have anything to add to this quote, I just liked it when I read it. :D


When I was putting together this post for dare I couldn't resist sharing these lines from one of my favorite movies, A Christmas Story. My family and I can basically quote this entire movie and I love watching it every Christmas. 

But since my theme is supposed to be favorite quotes I'm going with a different one for dare, regardless of how much I love Ralphie.

“I believe the most important single thing, beyond discipline and creativity is daring to DARE” ~ Maya Angelou 

This quote inspired me when I first started on this writing journey that has come to mean so much to me. Lots of amazing things happened when I dared to dare that I could do it. 

I doubled up today because I will be at the Authors Fair in Madison, Indiana tomorrow and won't be able to blog. I'm really excited to be part of the event as close to 100 authors will be participating, including my book fest buddy Tara Tyler

Hope everyone has a great weekend and, to those who celebrate, a Happy Easter! 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

B is for Become, Becoming, and Buffy

Buds becoming flowers (Source)

"What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you BECOME by achieving your goals" ~ Henry David Thoreau 

I just discovered this quote while looking for material for the challenge and it really spoke to me. It's not an exaggeration to say that I've become a different person since I started blogging and writing regularly. The whole experience has enriched my life in ways that mean more than any monetary reward ever could, and I would never want to go back to who I was in the past. 

When I decided to do this challenge with favorite quotes I didn't intend to use more than one quote per letter or to include things like favorite lyrics or tv quotes, but when I set out to write this post it reminded me so much of one of my favorite Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes that I couldn't help expanding the post a bit. 

I've mentioned before that I absolutely loved Buffy and it's the reason I fell in love with the mythology of vampires and wanted to write a vampire novel myself. So how does that fit in with this post? 

I think some of the best episodes of the series, and honestly some of the best episodes of tv I've ever seen, were the second season's final two hours, entitled Becoming Part 1 and Part 2. The episodes also have some of my favorite quotes, which both relate to the theme of this post. 

WhistlerThe big moments are gonna come, you can't help that. It's what you do afterwards that counts. That's when you find out who you are.

Angelus: No weapons... no friends... no hope. Take all that away and what's left? 
Buffy: Me

That last one is one of the best "you go, girl" scenes that I've ever seen. :D 

Have you experienced defining moments or achieved goals that have helped you become who you are? 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

IWSG and A is for Animals

It's April and the start of another A to Z Challenge. This is round number five for me and I'm excited to kick off my A to Z of favorite quotes. I'm also happy to start the alphabet with one of my favorite subjects. What else could I pick for A but animals?

"Animals are such agreeable friends - they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms" ~ George Eliot 

This has long been one of my favorite quotes even though I'm not sure how true it is. My Clancy has no problem being critical, and letting me know just how he feels, when I keep making him sit to have his picture taken. 

And as for Nate, being a cat, passing criticisms is basically part of his DNA. ;) 

Still, the quote captures the beauty of our relationships with our animal friends and just how lucky we are to have them in our lives.

We are also doing the A to Z Challenge over at Untethered Realms. Stop by there all month for quick and fun teasers from our books!

Of course, the first Wednesday of the month means it's also IWSG day. IWSG is the brainchild of Alex J Cavanaugh and gives all of us a chance to air our insecurities or lack thereof each month in a supportive and encouraging environment. If you're not already a member and would like to join in, just click here and add your name to the list!

I'm happy to be able to say that I am not really struggling with any insecurities this month. A total miracle! But I am still feeling excited about writing and blogging again and I think my months-long slump really is over, so I'm happy about that. I think April is going to be a great month. :) 

Happy April, all!