Thursday, February 23, 2017

Thirteen Thoughts and Bits of Advice on Sprained Ankles



Earlier this week, I stepped off the curb and turned my ankle. It hurt, but I figured I’d walk it off. Then, yesterday when I got up, I couldn’t put weight on my foot. It was all swollen up, so I went to the doctor. 

The doctor diagnosed my injury as a mildly sprained ankle. I guess that wasn’t too surprising. Ankle injuries happen a lot. According to the American College of Sports Medicine 25, 000 Americans sprain their ankles each day. What is a sprained ankle? Well, it’s the tearing of the ligaments, those bands of tissue that connect bones and cartilage. Usually people injure the outside ligament when their ankle rolls. That’s what happened to me. My doctor recommended the typical treatment, known as RICE. It is rest, ice, compression and elevation. She told me that I should try to stay off my foot as much as possible. Apply ice during the first day or so after the injury. Consider wrapping my ankle, and sitting in a recliner. Good news though, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons states that, “studies have shown that the sooner you return to activity, the better and typically the faster you will recover.” They advise, “If pain allows, start moving the ankle early.” Cool. I started hobbling around.

Of course, common sense had to be applied as well. Drayer Physical Theory’s blog said that it takes about two to four weeks to “regain full mobility and for the swelling to fully resolve,” when a person has a grade one sprain. 

What does this have to do with writing you might ask. Well, first, I can write while I’m applying the RICE treatment and second, this experience gives me fuel for my fiction. As Natalie Goldberg puts it in Writing Down the Bones, “Writers live twice. They go along with their regular life, are as fast as anyone in the grocery store, crossing the street, getting dressed for work in the morning. But there's another part of them that they have been training. The one that lives every second at a time. That sits down and sees their life again and goes over it. Looks at the texture and details.” 

What experiences have you had that you want to record sometime? Please share. 


Sources
http://anklerollguard.com/ankle-sprain-stats--info.html http://www.anationinmotion.org/ortho-pinion/ankle-sprains-whats-normal-whats-not/
http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/tc/ankle-sprain-overview#1
http://www.stack.com/a/how-severe-is-my-sprained-ankle
https://drayerpt.com/blog/ankle-sprains-what-is-the-recovery-time/
https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/937841-writing-down-the-bones-freeing-the-writer-within?page=2
https://unsplash.com/search/ankle tirza-van-dijk






Wednesday, February 8, 2017

IT’S COME A LONG WAY, BABY


by Eilis Flynn

Back in the mid-1980s, I got a freelance gig, copy editing manuscripts for a famous romance publisher. I was interested, because I’d read romances and I was curious about how the genre was put together and because I’d worked in a couple of male-dominated industries by then, I was also curious about how it had to feel being in a female-dominated one. Afterward, I was inspired, and so I wrote a romance. That was in 1986.

Soon after I finished and sent it in (paper and everything; it was an earlier time), I got a revise and resubmit letter the following year. I didn’t realize that was a good thing (because networking with other like authors was far, far in the future), so I had to think about how to make good on those suggested revisions. Time passed and I had to set that aside—because that was 1987 and Wall Street, where I worked, collapsed (famous stock market crash; you can look it up) and my company collapsed and in one day let go thousands of employees, of which I was one. More time passed—I found a temporary job and then another temporary job and my mother got sick and died and by then, it was 1989 and we moved across the country. By the time I actually revised and resubmitted, several years had gone by and the romance publisher wasn’t interested anymore.

Life went on. I joined Romance Writers of America, wrote other things, and then, a few years ago, I was asked by a digital publisher if I were interested in pitching a story for a graphic novella. I said sure, and trotted out the story I was just telling you about. They said sure, I wrote the script, and it was accepted. A few years passed (yes, more years. Don’t worry, I’ll get to the point sooner or later) and the publisher asked if I were interested in basing a novella on the graphic novella, which was based on the original manuscript. I said sure, I trotted out the original work once again, cut and rewrote (because I’ve been editing, cutting, and revising work for a long time, I can do this without much problem).

The publisher accepted it—but this time, we couldn’t come to terms, and so the newly updated work was back in my hands again—and I knew it was time. So, at LONG, LONG last, the novel, now a novella, is published. It’s titled His 30-Day Guarantee (original title 30-Day Guarantee), and at the moment, it’s only available in digital for Kindle (coming up) and print now from CreateSpace. But I have it in my hands; it’s real; and only THIRTY YEARS after I wrote it!

What’s the moral of this (long-winded) story? Never throw anything away. You just never know. 

Over the years, Eilis Flynn has written fiction in the form of comic books, romantic fantasies, urban fantasies, historical fantasies, and short stories. She’s also a professional editor and has been for 40(!) years, working with academia, technology, finance, genre fiction, and comic books. She can be reached at eilisflynn.com.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

An Interview with Laurel Wanrow, author of Passages


Mia Jo has welcomed me on her blog today to share my book release, but first congratulations, Mia Jo, on your release of Other Than! It’s such an exciting feeling to let your novel out into the world. Mia Jo and I critiqued together as part of the RWA fantasy chapter’s Mudpuddle group, and now how fun is it that we have releases so close together?



I’m excited to share some highlights of my writing process for Passages, my science fiction romance, and my writing in general.

1. Tell us a little bit about how you came to write Passages.
I had a dream about a fellow on the run who was trying to help his grandmother along with him. Then, she fell and couldn’t continue. She was telling him how to help her, but the words came out confused in that way things do in dreams. He should let her pass, but she wouldn’t be dying, is what I understood, just changed, but the same. It would be a passage, and the grandson would be helping her to make it. When I woke up, the word ‘passages’ was repeating in my head. I pretty much had the first scene of the novel, and asked myself, what happens next?
Many storylines boiled up from that one question, but the one that stuck was this fellow would be lost without his grandmother, because he has amnesia.

2. Is this the hero, then? What about your heroine?
He is. It took me a long time to work out Quinn’s backstory and his reason for being on this alien planet, which means it’s revealed to the reader in pieces, too. In the meantime, Eve, the heroine, had a very clear story—she died during the Great Pestilence. Yes, died, and was given a second chance to use her emphatic gifts of an electorg—a human with electronic implants—to help others. Eve’s first life helps her fit into her second as a community mediator with several other electorgs.

3. What genres do you write in? Why?

Everything I write is fantasy. My settings may change—historical to contemporary to futuristic—but the story will always have a thread of magic. Hand-in-hand with magic is mystery, every story has something mysterious going on, and a happily ever after, of course!

That’s fantasy, mystery and romance, but I have a science background and lifelong love of nature, which means my characters’ stories also reflect their connections to nature and the land. There is no ‘book category’ for that, so I’ve made up my own: ‘fantasy tuned to the magic of the land.’

4. Do you believe writers are born to write or learn to write?
I believe storytelling is innate—it’s how we passed time around the fire, the kitchen table, the TV and, now, our monitors. But one needs to learn the techniques to best present the story, and that’s different for every person. A wealth of resources is available, in books, online and in person. Two books I recommend are The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler and Save The Cat by Blake Snyder. The online writers forum I use is CritiqueCircle.com

5. If you had one take away piece of advice for writers, what would it be?
 ‘Never give up. Never surrender.’ I first heard that quote from Galaxy Quest in a motivational keynote speech by Jo Ann Ferguson. It was my 2nd RWA conference and the advice made such an impression on me that I’ve never thought I wouldn’t publish.

6. What is up next for you?
 I’m currently writing the 4th novel in my fantasy series The Luminated Threads, but I’ve toyed with a sequel for Passages. The secondary character, Evard, is such a tease he’d be a fun hero. I’ve included an excerpt with him in it, too.

Thanks for having me, Mia! 
Hi, Mia Jo here. I'm really excited about Passages'publication. I used to wait for Laurel to post chapters, so I could continue on the adventure in this story. I asked Laurel to share an excerpt, so you can see why I liked Passages.

Excerpt:
Eve shoved him aside and pulled me against her. “Evard, you’re scaring him. Intimidating, threatening…don’t.”
Her reprimand hardly registered, since it wasn’t for me. I had the woman pressed to my side. A first in my fractured memory. Everything about her was soft and warm—her arm around my waist, the swell of breast at my ribs, and the curve of hip against mine. Each point of contact was duly noted and registered like a brand upon my brain.
Scents of leather, the musty books and a hint of lilacs wafted to my nostrils. I couldn’t say how it happened, but my arm lifted, draped around her shoulders and brought her even closer.
Her wide gray eyes snapped to mine. Her lips parted around my name, and at the warmth of her breath, my muscles tightened. “Evard is just excited.”
“Just excited!” He tugged at her arm, cutting through my daze.
It was as he’d said earlier. She knew both that I was startled by Evard’s gesture and that he meant no harm. Of course, the signs were all there—expressions, intonations, physical cues—but she’d “read” them instantly, eerily so, but not entirely out of the realm of scientific believability.
“Evy, you don’t understand. He’s living on Edge. This is so much more than exciting. An adventure in the making—”
“No! No discussing it, not now. Quinn, go shower.” She rotated neatly from under my arm and shoved the jumpsuit to my chest. Her firm hand directed me to the door while she squabbled with Evard to force him back to work.
I lingered to watch them, reveling in the memory of Eve’s softness pressed to me. Eve had hugged me. Never mind that she now focused on her run-mate, holding him by the chin and then the ear, like he was a toddler whose attention she had to refocus from an unattainable toy. I grinned at his predicament.

Follow the Passages Blog Tour to read more science & fantasy tidbits!

Blurb:

“Find someone you can trust.”

For decades, Eve and her fellow electorgs—part human, part machine—have worked on the quiet planet of Aarde, beating back toxic spores that threaten to poison the native people. When the new commander halts work right before a deadly spore release, Eve frantically plots to protect the villagers she considers friends and family.

On the run after an ambush, Quinn holds a secret that nearly got him killed. If only he knew what it was. Though the attack scrambled his memories, Quinn is sure of one thing—he can’t trust the electorgs. But they know information he desperately needs to puzzle out who wants him dead, and why.

With the fate of life on Aarde in the balance, the logic of joining forces with Eve overrides Quinn’s fears…and erupts into an attraction that could prove fatal for both of them.

Because the planet’s commander might just be Quinn himself.

Passages is on preorder & sale for .99 through February 5th.
Add Passages to your Goodreads shelf!





Author bio:
 Before kids, Laurel Wanrow studied and worked as a naturalist—someone who leads wildflower walks and answers calls about the snake that wandered into your garage. During a stint of homeschooling, she turned her writing skills to fiction to share her love of the land, magical characters and fantastical settings.

When not living in her fantasy worlds, Laurel camps, hunts fossils and argues with her husband and two new adult kids over whose turn it is to clean house. Though they live on the East Coast, a cherished family cabin in the Colorado Rockies holds Laurel’s heart.

Find Laurel at:






Below are the bloggers participating in the Blog Tour for Passages. Each stop will have excerpts and tidbits about the science & fantasy, and a chance to win the tour prizes: a $10 Amazon eGC or a sign paperback of Passages. (Giveaway open to US/CAN)

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway!

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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Do You Binge Watch?




Yesterday, I didn’t get much done. Instead, I binge-watched Rick and Morty with my son. It’s an animated sitcom about the adventures of a granddad and his grandson; however, it just so happens that the grandfather is a brilliant scientist and a sociopath.

Rick and Morty isn’t the first series of binge watched. Over thanksgiving, my friend and I spent a day learning about the good people of Coal/Hope Valley in When Calls the Heart.

I’m a fan of this quick, extreme viewing practice. Watching an entire series in a short time allows the viewer to see the character arcs clearly and there’s no problem remembering the details from one episode to the next.  A couple of years ago, I got into Breaking Bad. I borrowed the DVD of the first season from the library over the weekend and loved it. I requested the next seasons and I still remember waiting on pins and needles over the next weeks for them to come in. I had so many questions. Would Skyler and Hank catch Heisenberg? Would Jesse find love? Would Gus finally get the better of Walter?  Yep, I truly was a binge-watcher. I still am, and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this. The Statistics Portal, a site that claims to report statistics and studies from more than 18,000 sources, states that, “according to a 2015 survey, some 86 percent of trailing Millennials and even 33 percent of those over 69 years old engage in binge-watching TV series.”



Are you, like me, one of these people? What have you watched? What do you want to watch? Here are thirteen shows I have watched.


1. Breaking Bad
2. Friends
3. Sherlock
4. Downton Abbey
5. When Calls the Heart
6. Buffy The Vampire Slayer
7. Doctor Who
8. Parks and Recreation
9. The Walking Dead
10. Game of Thrones
11. Orphan Black
12. Firefly
13. Rick and Morty

I guess marathon-viewing might be a bad thing if a person allows it to get in the way of his responsibilities or his interaction with loved ones., but it could also be a good thing. An article on the Readers Digest site says, “if you get into a show with your partner or pals, experts argue it could bring you closer.” The post goes on to say that talking about a show and the characters in it can help an individual start conversations and express her opinions about life.  Let’s do that currently. What shows have you watched? What series have I missed? Do you have any suggestions?



Sources
https://www.buzzfeed.com/tahliapritchard/brb-watching-tv-forever?utm_term=.xwyn7N58rM#.vk2m29z5LJ
http://www.ranker.com/list/best-tv-shows-to-binge-watch/ranker-tv
http://www.rd.com/culture/binge-watching-unhealthy/
https://www.statista.com/topics/2508/binge-watching-in-the-us/


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

New Year Wishes and Thanks



Hi! I'm grateful to have enjoyed 2016 with you and I'm looking forward to sharing 2017 together. I've some good news to share at http://www.miaceleste.com/?p=694.

I invite you to visit and find out what it is.


I wish you all the best in 2017!

Echoes of the Past, in the Present and the Future



by Eilis Flynn

Recently—very, very recently, even though I should have read it months ago, but then I got very, very busy—I read Heather Hiestand’s If I Had You, her introduction to the Jazz Age, with vague threads to her Redcakes series. It’s a fun book (with the sequel coming up in February 2017), so I won’t spoil it for you, but I can tell you that the subplot deals with the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, when the disenfranchised Russians poured into Europe, running from the savage revolutionists and those who glommed on and began gleefully pillaging whatever they could. What happened to those fleeing Russians, trying to forget the horrific murders and executions, all too often having occurred because someone coveted a piece of jewelry or a plot of land and decided that informing on someone was the way to get it? That there was blood spilled of the innocent wasn’t their concern.

Because historical romances so often pay short shrift to anything other than the romance (don’t get me wrong; it’s the heart of the story, but there has to be something other than heart to keep the entire thing alive), this subplot with ousted Russians seeking revenge is both fascinating and insightful into the Britain of the 1920s. Of Europe in the 1920s, come to think of it. Our hero and heroine meet in London, both fish out of water—she’s from the countryside, and he’s from out of the country (yes, Russia! How did you guess?)—and they’re both running from their past. The Great War scrubbed both of their past (her parents perished on the sinking of the Lusitania; his parents were executed because they had property a cousin wanted, and his older sister executed because she was a conspirator) and now, they have to create their own future. When better than the Roaring Twenties? (Because of my many years working on Wall Street, I’ve long had an interest in the end of the 1920s, so what led up to 1929 always interested me too.)

Anyway, the themes that Hiestand used here are universal, so as I was reading away, hoping for more and more details about 1920s Britain (the details she used for her Redcakes series, about the well-to-do Victorians, really described the rise of the society), it occurred to me that the parallels to modern-day society were pretty clear, and it also occurred to me you could build another society in the far-flung future, using the same themes of loss and revenge and rebuilding.

Anyway. I have to add that I’ve known Heather for many years, but I always make a point of buying her books. Interested in relatively modern history? Interested in how the past always, always informs the present and the future? You’ll like If I Had You.

Elizabeth MS Flynn has written fiction in the form of comic book stories, romantic fantasies, urban fantasies, historical fantasies and short stories, a young adult novel, and a graphic novella (most published under the name of Eilis Flynn). She’s also a professional editor and has been for 40 years, working with academia, technology, and finance nonfiction, and mystery, science fiction, fantasy, and romance fiction. If you’re looking for an editor, she can be found editing at emsflynn.com and reached at emsflynn@aol.com. If you’re curious about her books, check out eilisflynn.com. In any case, she can be reached at eilisflynn@aol.com.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Need a Christmas Movie? Thirteen Suggestions

Merry Christmas! If you’re like me, you're planning to fill your home with company and after meals and bedding have been figured out, you're thinking about entertainment. For my family, a movie is essential.

 I like holiday movies, but I’ve seen It’s a Wonderful Life and Christmas Story, so many times I can recite the lines with the actors. Don’t get me wrong. Both are classics and truly wonderful, but I want something different this year. You might, too.


Here are thirteen other holiday-themed choices.



1. Miracle on 34th Street 
2. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
3. Home Alone  
4. The Muppet Christmas Carol
5. Jingle All the Way 
6. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang 
7. Mixed Nuts 
8. Love Actually 
9. The Bishop’s Wife
10. Elf
11. The Nightmare Before Christmas 
12. A Charlie Brown Christmas
13. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians 



This is only a partial list. There’s a lot of great and not-so great movies out there. I tried to pick a mixture of genres and moods, but I’m open. What have you seen and liked? What do you suggest?

Sources
http://www.nerve.com/entertainment/ranked/ranked-the-100-best-christmas-movies-of-all-time
https://www.amazon.com/Miracle-34th-St-Edmund-Gwenn/dp/B00000K3CK
http://movieguy247.com/iMovies/index.php/blog/holiday-movies/788-santa-claus-conquers-the-martians
http://zeusexcuse.blogspot.com/2006/12/thursday-thirteen-edition-18.html (Thursday Thirteen)

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Celebrating Crossing the Fifty K Mark in National Novel Writing Month

Every November, writers all over the world put their fingers to keyboards in hopes of piling up 50,000 words in thirty days. I’m one of those authors and I’m pleased to announce I completed the challenge!



But I didn’t do it alone. I was a member of From the Hearts Romance Writers Nano squad dubbed The Racing Hearts. To thank my friends and fellow writers I’d like to post some of the daily quotes our leader Wendi Sotis shared.




1. Writing is the painting of the voice! ~ Voltaire

2. But when people say, Did you always want to be a writer?
I have to say no! I always was a writer. ~ Ursula Le Guin

3. Write. Rewrite. When not writing or rewriting, read.
I know of no shortcut. ~ Larry L. King

4. The beautiful part of writing is that you don’t have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon. ~ Robert Cormier

5. And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. ~ Sylvia Plath

6. Write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules.
Not ones that matter. ~ Neil Gaiman

7. If a story is in you, it has got to come out. ~ William Faulkner

8. The worst thing you write is better than the best thing you did not write. ~ April Young Fritz

9. Every writer I know has trouble writing. ~ Joseph Heller

10. A writer needs three things, experience, observation, and imagination, any two of which, at times any one of which, can supply the lack of the others. ~ William Faulkner

11. There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. ~ Ernest Hemingway

12. The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes. ~ Agatha Christie

13. In order to write you must have confidence in your own experience, that it is rich enough to write about. ~ Natalie Goldberg

Do any of these quotes ring true to you? Or do you have a favorite quote you’d like to share?





 
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