Thursday, December 3, 2015

Insecure Writer's Support Group

Well, apparently the IWSG post I wrote and scheduled for publication yesterday failed to upload. But it's better to be a little late than never, right? Anyway, the Insecure Writer's Support Group is a blogging community dedicated to struggling writers where we can get together and offer each other encouragement. If you're interested in joining us, check us out here!


This month I'm thinking of a new story, one that is firmly founded in the Christmas tradition. But I can't help but wonder if that's a good idea in today's environment? Is it a good idea to write a story wrapped up in a Christian holiday, thus alienating secular and non-Christian readers? To be clear, this story has nothing to do with religion other than the holiday it springboards from. But I can't help but worry it falls in to deep a niche for a broad audience. 

December Brings a CassaStar Special

It's December! My favorite month of the year, full of twinkle lights and Christmas carols - or menorahs if you're celebrating Hanukkah. Either way, it's a the best time of the year and I can't wait to celebrate as a first time Mama. Two months isn't too young to bake Christmas cookies is it? 

Regardless of what holiday you're celebrating this December, there's a special treat coming your way. CassaStar by Amazon best seller Alex J. Cavanaugh is on sale for only $0.99! This special only lasts for a few more days, so head over to Amazon and get a copy of your very own right here. I guarantee it'll make for great cold weather reading!  

Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Best of TV's Thanksgiving Episodes

It's Thanksgiving, a day for giving thanks, eating way too much food, and doing what Americans do so well . . . watch television (whether it be football, the Macy's parade, or cheesy holiday movies). In honor of this auspicious holiday, I've compiled a list of what I consider the greatest Thanksgiving related TV episodes. 

The Best of TV's Thanksgiving Episodes:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Season 4 episode 6 - "Pangs"
Perhaps one of my all time favorite Buffy episodes ever, the Scooby gang must battle the ghosts of some severely pissed off Native Americans hell bent on vengeance. With the return of Angel and a blisteringly sarcastic Spike, it's definitely one of the series' greatest hits. 
Best line: "Bear, you made a bear. Undo it! Undo it!"

Gilmore Girls - Season 3 Episode 9 -  "A Deep Fried Korean Thanksgiving" 
Any of you other Gilmore Girls fans out there celebrating the Netflix revival of the series? I can't wait to see what they have in store for us. But can it possibly live up to one of the funniest GG episodes of all time? We'll see. Four Thanksgiving feasts in one day? No problem for this mother and daughter duo. 
Best line: "Well, you caught me at a good time, ladies. I've already gone through the five stages of grieving. Denial, anger. . .I don't remember these two, but they were served on the rocks with salt!" 

How I Met Your Mother - Season 3 Episode 9 - "Slapsgiving"
I've always loved the way How I Met Your Mother starts a bit in one season and carries it on throughout the course of the series, and no bit is more memorable than that of the slap. Marshall's hand, Barney's face. Fantastic. And the best slapisode? Why Slapsgiving, of course. 
Best line:  What is this feeling, that's put you in your place? A hot red burnin' on the side of your face. You feel the blood rush to your cheek, the tears that fill your eyes. And your lips are trembling, but you can't speak. You're tryin', oh, you're tryin' not to cry. You just got slapped, oh, across the face, my friend. You just got slapped, yes, that really just happened. Everybody saw it. Then everybody laughed and clapped. It was awesome. Wait, you just got... slapped.

Friends - Season 4 Episode 8 - "The One with Chandler in a Box" AND Season 3 Episode 9 - "The One with the Football" 
My friends and I all get together every year and have our own "Friendsgiving" in which we eat turkey and pie, and then waddle our way to the TV and laze away the rest of the day watching Friends Thanksgiving episodes. We all argue which one is the best (my friend Sami would be shocked I'm not writing about the Brad Pitt episode), but I can't ever decide between "Chandler in a Box" and "Football", so I nominate them both. Not just the best Thanksgiving episodes of the series, but possibly the best episodes of the series all-together. 
Best line: "Is everybody else seeing a troll doll nailed to a two by four?"

And there you have it, my favorite Thanksgiving TV episodes. There are many more I'd love to mention, but I'm in a food coma from everything I ate today and this was as much as I could manage. I hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Insecure Writer's Support Group

It's the first Wednesday of the month and time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post. A big thank you to Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh for starting this amazing group where writers with insecurities can connect and support one another. If you're interested in joining us, check at the IWSG here!  


My insecurities this month are a bit more complicated than normal. Far from worrying about when I'll find time to write or how I'm going to get back into the swing of things, this month I'm worried about having something important to say. As F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said "You don't write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say". And I can't help but wonder sometimes if the stories I write really say anything of value. They're fun and I certainly enjoy writing them, but is that enough?

Do any of you ever wondering if what you're writing matters? If you're words have any value? If they really say anything? 
________________________________________________________________________________________

And a special note to all IWSG-ers: 
We are still trying to get the IWSG site listed as one of Writers’ Digest’s Top 100 Best Websites for Writers! Please email them at writersdigest@fwmedia.com, subject line 101 Websites, and suggest the IWSG - http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween

Wow, it feels like it's been ages since I've checked in on the blog-o-sphere. I've missed a lot in the last month while I was on a brief maternity hiatus. But I'll be back to regularly scheduled blogging in November (or at least I'm keeping my fingers crossed that's the case). But for now I'm wishing you all a HAPPY HALLOWEEN!! I hope it's spooktacular!

^^^ The reason I've been missing 
out on blogging lately. 
Too cute to be mad at, am I right?!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Insecure Writer's Support Group

It's the first Wednesday of the month and time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post. A huge shout out to our fearless leader Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh for starting this group, and for all this month's wonderful co-hosts. If you're an insecure writer looking for some empathy, check us out here!

I don't have a lot of writing insecurities for this month, namely because I haven't written anything in while and therefore cannot be insecure about it (well, unless you count insecurities about getting back to writing, etc.). So instead I want to commemorate this auspicious day, which in case you haven't already read, marks the FOUR YEAR anniversary of the Insecure Writer's Support Group and the two year anniversary of the IWSG website. It's amazing to see how far this group has come, and I'm so thankful to be a part of such a wonderful organization of writers. I've met so many wonderful people through IWSG and been offered some inspirational words of advice and comfort on my own journey as an aspiring author. 

Don't forget to head over to the website today and check out the amazing opportunity offered there today (hint hint, it's a short story contest)! And HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the wonderful, amazing Insecure Writer's Support Group!

Monday, August 17, 2015

"Feel Good" Movies: An Animated Debate

I saw this meme the other day and thought, "Wow, I totally understand the person who came up with that". Because once upon a time I watched this horrible, terrible, depression-inducing film and sustained long-lasting trauma still prevalent today. I can't imagine who could ever watch this movie and actually classify it as "feel good".

The same could be said for a number of other "children's" movies. Bambi. Old Yeller. And don't think for one second I've ever got over the Baby Mine scene from Dumbo. Seriously, who comes up with this stuff? After Disney burned me in 1988 with the delightfully depressing Oliver and Company and then moved on to the killing shot -- otherwise known as that horrific Land Before Time scene where Littlefoot sees his shadow and thinks he's found his dead mother -- my parents wisely decided to stop taking me to kids' movies featuring animals.

Now, with impending motherhood barrelling toward me, I have my own decision to make. Every parent is faced with this same dilemma. Will they let their children start watching PG-13 movies before the age of thirteen? Rated R movies . . . when is too soon? How much do we shield our beloved offspring from film and TV horrors?

My parents have often been teased or criticized for allowing me to watch The Terminator when I was seven years old. And okay, I may have gotten a few nightmares from that one. And sure, Aliens is perhaps not the most appropriate film for a nine-year-old (I think their regretted that decision in retrospect).

But the truth is when I look back at my childhood cinematic education, I've come to terms with my fear of robot uprisings and alien invasions, but the first strains of Baby Mine can reduce me to tears faster than the time it takes for Walt "Trauma Inducing" Disney to kill off an animated mother. So I ask you -- what can we really consider a "feel good", kid-friendly movie? 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Insecure Writer's Support Group

It's the first Wednesday of the month and time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group. A big shout out to Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh for starting this amazing group, and all his co-hosts of the month for their help keeping things running. If you're an insecure writer or just looking to support those of us that are, check us out here


I'm seven months pregnant and my writing inspiration has shriveled up for the summer. So instead of writing about my insecurities, I thought I'd share a few quotes about writing from sources much more inspiration than myself. Check them out: 


“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” 



“Substitute 'damn' every time you're inclined to write 'very;' your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.” 



“You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.” 



“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.” 



“The road to hell is paved with adverbs.” 



“Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” 


I hope you enjoyed the wise words (the last quote in particular hits home for me). To all my fellow insecure writers out there, keep bleeding, weeping, getting up in the middle of the night to bang away at your keyboard and generally acting like a socially acceptable schizophrenic!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Spectacular Movie Speeches

Ahhh, The Fourth of July. One of my favorite holidays, just chalk full of wonderful traditions: food, fireworks, and best of all, watching a little human/alien interaction going down in the creme de la creme of July 4th movies, Independence Day! It's a tradition I've upheld since 1996, and one I'll continue to uphold until my dying days. 

You've just gotta love that dialogue. "Welcome to Earth" (or if you prefer the phonetic version, "Welcome to Earf"). Pretty much all of Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum's interchanges. And of course, the famous presidential speech. Every time I watch Bill Pullman give that presidential address to the pilots facing down the invading alien forces, I have to fight the urge to stand up and salute. It's no small feat. 

Which makes me wonder . . . what are some other great movie speeches? I thought long and hard about this, and after some serious debate I think I've narrowed it down to my top ten favorites. Here's the movies that made my list.

Top Ten Spectacular Movie Speeches:

#10 - Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
I know my cousin absolutely hates this scene from the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie, but I always liked it. A band of pirates, coming together to face down an angry pagan god and the British Navy. A female Pirate King leading them. And an epic raising of the pirate flags in a united front proclaiming freedom. All ingredients for cinematic excellence.
Favorite line: "Gentlemen . . . hoist the colors."

#9 - V for Vendetta
I cannot say that I love the film adaptation of V for Vendetta; in fact, I think it's a gross raping of the source text, stripping it of it's original context and repackaged it for American audiences. However, the speech that V broadcasts to London does stick out in my mind as wonderfully inspirational. A voice breaking the silence, asking for others to stand with him. To no longer remain silent and turn a blind eye to the injustice of the government in return for an oppressive "peace".  It may not be my favorite film, but I cannot help but love V's speech nonetheless. 
Favorite line: "But again, truth be told, if you're looking for the guilty you need only look into a mirror."

#8 - Goonies 
In deference to my childhood, I have to make room for the great Sean Astin speech from Goonies. With one puff of his inhaler and a few well delivered lines, he rallies his troops and remind us all that even children can make a difference. That every child deserves their moment to be a hero. Sniffle.  
Favorite line: "Goonies never say die."

#7 - 300 
I have often wondered what the casting call was like for this movie. I have a sneaking suspicion that it was spearheaded by a group of women who rounded up the prospective actors and asked them to remove their shirts. And let me just say . . . effective. Now, eye candy aside, this movie offers one of the more impressive film speeches I've seen. A legion of Spartans on the eve of great battle, facing superior numbers and, ultimately, their death. Offering their lives in the name of freedom. A scene worthy of this list, would you not agree? 
Favorite line: "No retreat, no surrender."
[I also particularly love the line later delivered by Michael Fassbender: "Our arrows will blot out the sun." "Then we will fight in the shade." Delicious.]

#6 - Dead Poets Society
It still hurts to know that Robin Williams is gone. But he lives on in so many great films, not the least of which is a movie that reminds us seize the day. To live life to it's very fullest. And to make every day extraordinary. And Captain, my Captain, you will never be forgotten. 
Favorite line: "Thoreau said most men lead lives of quiet desperation. Don't be resigned to that. Break out!"

#5 - Remember the Titans
A great movie, with many powerful speeches. But none more so than the Gettysburg speech given by Denzel Washington. A speech asking for everyone to put aside their hatred and come together as one unit. A speech worth hearing once again in light of all the racial violence in today's news. 
Favorite line #1: "Fifty thousand men died right here on this field. Fighting the same fight that we're still fighting amongst ourselves today." 
Favorite line #2: "Take a lesson from the dead. If we don't come together right here in this hallowed ground, we too will be destroyed."

#4 - Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
If I were surrounded by an army of Sauron's forces and facing down death itself, I'd be tempted to crumble with fear. I'd be on the first train or horse or giant flying bird outta there. That is until Viggo Mortensen rode by in a vision of armor clad splendor, reigniting the courage of men and inspiring a last, if possibly doomed, stand in the name of fellowship. Man that guy gives good speech. 
Favorite line: "But it is not this day!"

#3 - Gladiator
Still one of the greatest battle films of all time, I never get tired of watching Russell Crowe take on hordes of angry foe. But by far the best scene in the film is his spectacular speech delivered on the knife's edge of obliteration, rallying the gladiatorial forces into a deadly unit reminiscent of the Roman legion he once commanded. Is it any surprise that this made #3 on my list? 
Favorite line: "Whatever comes out of these gates, we've got a better chance of survival if we work together. Do you understand? If we stay together we survive." 

#2 - Braveheart
Well, Mel Gibson may have become something of a controversial figure in the film world, but no one can deny that he played an excellent William Wallace. And his speech . . . well, it goes down as perhaps the best film speech in cinematic history. It reminds us that some things are worth dying for. And to this day, every time I heart that speech, it makes me want to run out to buy a kilt, slater some blue pain on my face, and head to Scotland. 
Favorite line: "They may take our lives, but they may never take our freedom!"

#1 - Independence Day
As I mentioned before, this speech was the inspiration for my blog post. It is therefore fitting that it should make my list of Top 5. It's the speech that turns an American holiday into a celebration of a world united, joined together in their fight to survive extinction. Annihilation.
Favorite line: "We can't be consumed by our petty difference anymore. We will be united in our common interests." 


And there you have it. My list of the Top 10 spectacular movie speeches. I'm sure there are plenty who might argue against my choices, but hey, that's what the comment section is for. So what about you guys? Any favorite movie speeches? 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Insecure Writer's Support Group

It's the first Wednesday of the month and time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post. A huge thank you to Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh for starting this group, and all this month's co-hosts for all their hard work. If you're an insecure writer or just looking to support those of us that are, check us out here!

My concern for the month centers around writing with a partner. I tend to be a solitary writer, territorial of my work and locked away for hours on end (preferably in the middle of the night) while I write. But for the first time I'm thinking or working on a new piece with another writer. And for the life of my I'm not sure how this is supposed to work. Do I write a chapter and they write a chapter, and review each other's pages? Do we write them together? How does this go? 

Are there any of you out there who've done the co-writing thing before? How did you go about starting? Did you like it better or worse than solo-ing it? Any tips, tricks, or pieces of advice? I am all ears.  

Good luck to all you other insecure writers out there, and as always, happy blogging!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Sway by Melanie Stanford Cover Reveal

Today is a special day. Melanie Stanford from Daydream to Writer is revealing the cover of her soon-to-be-published novel, Sway. A retelling of my favorite Jane Austen novel (and the inspiration for my blog title), Sway will be released this coming winter via Samhain Publishing. Check out the cover and book blurb:

Ava Elliot never thought she’d become a couch surfer. But with a freshly minted—and worthless—degree from Julliard, and her dad squandering the family fortune, what choice does she have?

Living with her old high school friends, though, has its own drawbacks. Especially when her ex-fiancĂ© Eric Wentworth drops back into her life. Eight years ago, she was too young, too scared of being poor, and too scared of her dad’s disapproval. Dumping him was a big mistake.

In the most ironic of role reversals, Eric is rolling in musical success, and Ava’s starting at the bottom to build her career. Worse, every song Eric sings is an arrow aimed straight for her regrets.

One encounter, one song too many, and Ava can’t go on like this. It’s time to tell Eric the truth, and make a choice. Finally let go of the past, or risk her heart for a second chance with her first love. If he can forgive her…and she can forgive herself.


Melanie Stanford reads too much, plays music too loud, is sometimes dancing, and always daydreaming. She would also like her very own TARDIS, but only to travel to the past. She lives outside Calgary, Alberta, Canada with her husband, four kids, and ridiculous amounts of snow.

@MelMStanford
Congrats to Melanie on her big news! The cover looks fantastic and I can't wait to read all about Ava and Eric this coming winter. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Insecure Writer's Support Group

It's the first Wednesday of the month and time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post. A huge shout out to Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh and co-hosts of the month for all their hard work! If you're an insecure writer or looking to support those of us who are, check us out here


My insecurities for the month are simple. I'm moving. I'm so excited to be fleeing my tiny apartment and setting up camp in a wonderful house with my husband just in time for my baby to make a big debut, but it's hard work getting things all set up. It takes away from other important activities like writing and, you know, my sanity. 

On the other hand, I get an office. A real life, all to myself office. No squeezing my desk in a corner behind a couch or in a dark area of my already overcrowded bedroom. For the first time in my life I get to set up a space JUST for writing. And that makes all the chaos of moving totally worth it. 

So I guess maybe my monthly insecurities can -- for once -- be considered less substantial than my celebrations. Yay for June!

What about you guys? Any insecurities weighing you down this month? 

Friday, May 29, 2015

Tomorrowland's Borrowed Plot

My friends and I went to see Tomorrowland the other night, and while I'll admit my expectations were fairly low to begin with, I found it better than anticipated. Not a movie I'd run back to a second time, but certainly a decent Wednesday night break.  

However, something became startlingly clear as the movie progressed; every aspect of the plot I found interesting was essentially borrowed from preexisting stories. 

Warning: SPOILERS AHEAD

I'll begin with the most obvious -- the futuristic world of Tomorrowland. A place where thinkers, inventors, and dreamers are free to immerse themselves in creativity without restriction or hinderance. Sound familiar to anyone else? For anyone intimate with the work of writer/philosopher Ayn Rand, it will definitely ring some bells. Tomorrowland is reminiscent of Atlas Shrugged's Galt's Gulch, a safe haven for the great minds of the world away from the oppressive majority. And apparently I'm not alone in making this connection. Brad Bird, the movie's director, has been cited numerous times for his objectivist tendencies (links to a few of these articles here and here). Still, borrowed or not, you can't discount that it made for some interesting visuals. 

Moving on from some decidedly Rand-ian concepts, I'd next like to point out the film's technological device that shows the future. Afraid of the doomsday images he sees there, Tomorrowland's Governor David Nix broadcasts these images to the people on Earth, hoping to frighten them into enacting change. Instead it acts as a self-fulfilling prophecy and world rushes toward it's own destruction. Again, you might recognize this plot device from other stories, most notably Philip K. Dick's "Paycheck" and it's 2003 movie adaptation. It's your basic "seeing the future creates that future" concept, and far from original. 

Last but not least, the Audio-Animatronic robot, Athena. A scout in search of new Tomorrowland recruits, she befriends a younger Frank Miller (aka. George Clooney) and forms complicated feelings toward him which she attributes to a glitch in her empathy matrix. Okay, now come on. That's just a Disneyfied repackaging of the "I know now why you cry" scene from Terminator 2: Judgement Day. And no one can tell me any different. 

Like I said in the beginning of this post, it wasn't a terrible movie. I just couldn't help but feel that 90% of it came from other stories. But hey if you're going to commandeer concepts from other books and movies, at least Brad Bird chose some of the greats, right? 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Blood, Boobs and Carnage Blogfest

Alex J. Cavanaugh and Heather Gardner are hosting a blogfest today, yay! And it's possibly the best title I've ever heard of . . . the Blood, Boobs and Carnage Blogfest. So if you haven't already signed up to participate, just click here and share your favorite movie, TV show and/or book that falls into the blood, boobs and carnage category.


Call me crazy, but some of my all time favorite books, shows and movies fit perfectly into this genre. It's going to be a challenge for me to pick just one of each, but I think I've narrowed it down to the best of the best.

Starting with one of the best shows on TV, Strike Back. A co-collaboration between the British Sky1 channel and America's Cinemax, it's an action-packed series following Section 20 agent Michael Stonebridge and ex-Delta force member Damian Scott as they hunt down the world's most dangerous terrorists. Between the many bombings, gunfights, and hand-to-hand combat scenes, the show does not lack for blood and carnage. And I doubt there's a single episode where you don't see Damian Scott (aka. actor Sullivan Stapelton) and his many conquests going at it in various states of undress. In fact, we see Stapleton's ass so many times I read he banned his mother from watching the show. If you haven't seen it, I recommend you get started NOW. You will not be disappointed.

For my movie entrant, I had a terribly hard time whittling my list down. I mean, just about any vampire movie would have worked (Underworld 2 immediately springs to mind), and of course there's the very blood and boob-a-licious Sucker Punch, Catwoman, Species . . . the list goes on and on. But in the end I decided to go with movies based on the work of Frank Miller, most notably Sin City and The 300. Lots of carnage and sex appeal in those films!

And last but not least, books. I thought long and hard about which book to post about, and briefly considered mentioning the Game of Thrones series. But since just about everyone has at least heard of them (and I suspect many of you will mention them during today's blogfest), I decided to go for something a little different. Instead I want to feature a book I fell in love with when I was probably much too young to read it, Anne Rice's The Witching Hour. Most people are familiar with her Vampire Chronicles, but I think her witch series is actually much more interesting. It chronicles the lives of the Mayfairs, a family of witches with a dark past, a penchant for incest, and a spirit with malevolent intent haunting their bloodline. This series definitely gets checks in the blood, boobs and carnage categories!

And there you have it, my favorite examples of blood, boobs and carnage. I can't wait to check out what books, movies and TV shows everyone else picks for today's fantastic blogfest! 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Teleportation and Gibson's Vision of a Beige World

I've travelled a lot this year and, unfortunately, I've got several more weekends of planes and car rides ahead of me until I hit my third trimester and mercifully get a doctor-approved break. And as much as I love traveling, I have to admit I find all this back and forth fairly exhausting. To those of you out there who travel weekly for work, God bless you. I can't imagine trying to keep up this pace on a regular basis.

As I sat down to book yet another series of flights and hotel rooms, I couldn't but but speculate how much simpler life would be if I only possessed a teleportation device.

Think about it. It would eliminate the need for airports and road trips (at least road trips that are not of the recreational sort). No more pulling out your laptops and liquids for TSA inspection, or holding it until you drive past a decently clean and/or safe looking bathroom. You could zip across the country in the blink of an eye. You could save hundreds and hundreds of your hard earned dollars by eliminating the need for hotels. Who needs a reservation at the Marriott when you can hop to Paris for the afternoon and be back home before bedtime? Not to mention the effect it would have on long distance relationships and the job market. No need to move to a city that caters to you chosen profession. Live in Chicago but dating someone in San Francisco? No problem! With a handy teleportation device, all your geographic troubles disappear. 

Ideal, right?

But as I fantasize about the benefits of teleportation, I can't help but think about William Gibson's Neuromancer. He wrote of a completely homogenized world, one where countries bleed together and cities around the world are practically indistinguishable. And I can't help but wonder if the lines between cities and countries become moot, would the world's most recognizable and treasured cities all meld together? Would we wind up with a beige world, stripped of what made different places around the globe unique?

Imagine stepping out of a teleportation device and not being able to recognize if you're in Bangkok or London. Of taking a trip to Tokyo and thinking how similar it is to Milwaukee. The very thought of it makes me think a little more favorably of planes with screaming babies, endless miles crammed in a car, too-firm hotel beds and even the dreaded TSA. 

What about you? Have you ever wondered what life would be like with teleportation? 


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Insecure Writer's Support Group

It's the first Wednesday of the month and time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post! A big shout out to Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh for starting this group, and this month's co-hosts for being such a great support! If you're an insecure writer or just looking to support others who are, join us here

My writing insecurities this month are caught up in my personal insecurities -- I'm going to be a mommy. My husband and I are beyond thrilled (especially now that the morning sickness phase has passed), but as a writer, it's instilling within me many of fear and doubt. Will I have time to write after the baby comes? I barely have time to write now, let alone when a tiny person is dependent on my constant love and attention. I write Middle Grade fiction, so a part of me hopes that my soon-to-be bundle of cuteness will inspire me in new ways. But it's hard to know what my life will be like five months from now. 

What are some of your writing insecurities this month? Any other writing mothers out there with advice for me? 

Monday, May 4, 2015

A to Z Reflections

It's always sad when April gives over to May and the Blogging from A to Z Challenge comes to an end, especially since this year was such a blast. I find I have so much more time on my hands now and absolutely no idea what to do with it. (I guess I'll have to start working on my writing again . . . ugh.) I hope all of you had as great a time with the challenge as I did!

For those of you interested in giving us some help making next year's challenge even more of a success, now is the time! The Blogging from A to Z Reflections blog-hop will be open from today until May 8th. We'd love to hear about what you did and didn't like about the challenge, how you thought we did as hosts, what could be improved, cool bloggers you met or new blogs you're excited to follow, how you dealt with writing 26 posts in one month, and anything else you'd like to share! Write a post about your experience with the challenge and then add the link to your post to the Linky List below. Make sure to add the link to your reflections post and not the URL to your blog itself. 

For my reflections post, I'd like to start by saying how much fun I had catching up with all the bloggers I found during last year's challenge. It was so great to see so many returning bloggers taking on the alphabet once again. And I found so many new blogs to follow. Nerd blogs and literary blogs, blogs about writing and so much more!

This year was a little different for me because it was my first time acting as one of the co-hosts. I was nervous that I would get so caught up in my "hosting" duties that I wouldn't have time to actually enjoy the challenge, but thankfully that wasn't a problem. In fact, I think I had even more fun this year, and that was due in large part because of all the amazing participants. You guys were wonderful and encouraging, and just flat out awesome!

And a HUGE shout-out to my Minions, Michael at Michael Abayomi, Carrie Ann at Carrie Ann Tripp, Susan at TheArtofNotGettingPublished, and Stepheny at Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin. You guys were such a big big help and I want to thank you for making my job so easy.  Seriously, you guys rock!

I also want to thank everyone who voted in my A to Z Movie Smackdown. Some of you even went the extra mile and voted for every single match-up. WOW! You guys are the best! And what a great time I had tallying up all the votes. As a part of my reflections post (and upon a few requests), I thought I'd go ahead and post the results of all the voting. So without further ado . . . 

A to Z Movie Smackdown Winners:

A is for Angel Apocalypse winner: 
Constantine 
  - with several write-ins for Dogma (I seriously regret not having made this one of the choices) 

B is for Bygone Battles winner: 
Gladiator 
  - with a TIE between King Arthur and Braveheart for the alternate pairing

C is for Clones winner: 
The Island 
  - with several write-ins for Never Let Me Go and Multiplicity

D is for Disasters winner: 
Armageddon 
  - with several disgruntled write-ins for 2012 (I clearly made a mistake leaving this off the list)

E is for Espionage winner: 
Bond 
  - with Red winning the alternate pairing and one write-in for Austin Powers

F is for Film Noir winner: 
The Maltese Falcon 

G is for Grand Theft Auto winner: 
Gone in 60 Seconds by ONE vote

H is for Hitman winner: 
The Professional 
  - with several write-ins for Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Pulp Fiction (I totally approve!) 

I is for Island Isolation winner:
Cast Away 

J is for Jailbreak winner: 
Shawshank Redemption 
  - with many votes for my personal favorite, O Brother Where Art Thou, and two write-ins for Stir Crazy

K is for Kung Fu winner: 
Enter the Dragon 
  - with Kung Fu Panda winning the alternate pairing

L is for Libraries winner: 
The Librarian 

M is for Mice winner: 
The Rescuers 
  - with several write-ins for Stuart Little

N is for Nicholas Cage winner: 
Con Air came in FIRST with 13 votes
National Treasure came in SECOND with 11 votes
The Rock and Face/Off tied for THIRD with 10 votes
  - This was probably my favorite Smackdown of the challenge!

O is for Outer Space winner: 
Gravity 
  - with two write-ins for The Last Starfighter

P is for Prom winner: 
10 Things I Hate About You 
  - with Never Been Kissed winning the alternate pairing

Q is for Quest winner
Monty Python and the Holy Grail 

R is for Robin Williams winner
Mrs. Doubtfire 
  - with my personal favorite Jumanji coming in SECOND and Hook in THIRD 

S is for Sharks winner
Jaws 
  - with a write-in for Deep Blue Sea

T is for Trials winner
A Few Good Men by ONE vote

U is for Under the Sea winner
Finding Nemo 
  - with write-ins for Splash and The Abyss 

V is for Vampires winner
Underworld 
  - with write-ins for Interview with a Vampire and Bram Stoker's Dracula

W is for Westerns winner
Tombstone 

X is for eXtraterrestrial eXterminators winner
Men In Black 
  - with Edge of Tomorrow winning the alternate pairing (It would certainly get my vote for winner)

Y is for Yuletide winner
Home Alone 
  - with my most hated A Christmas Story Coming in SECOND and my most favorite How the Grinch Stole Christmas in THIRD (how sad) and several write-ins for White Christmas

Z is for Zombie winner
World War Z by ONE vote 
  - with a TIE for the alternate pairing of Zombieland and Shaun of the Dead (unless you count MY vote, in which case Zombieland won) 

Well there you have it, the results of all your Smackdown voting. Any surprises? I know there were a few winners I just did not see coming. And there was not one, not two, but three Smackdowns that came down to just ONE vote . . . wow! What a nail-biter. 

Well, I can't wait to hear all your challenge reflections. Until next year A to Z Challenge! And as always, happy blogging!