Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Would your 5-yr old self be proud of you?

Someone asked me this the other day and I'm surprised at how much this question has stuck with me. I honestly don't know if my 5-year old self would be proud of who I am today or not.
I know the deeper meaning behind this question, the question that this person was really asking. It was do you still hold joy and awe with life like you did when you were an innocent 5-year old?
The trouble is, I've never been innocent. I didn't have what anyone would call a normal or healthy childhood and was forced by circumstances beyond my control to grow up very quickly. I knew things most adults didn't understand by the time I was 8.
I'd like to think that childhood me would be proud of who I was today, after all, I'm still alive. There was a point where I didn't think I'd achieve even that. There are few things I'll let myself remember about being five. One was that I absolutely wanted more than anything to have a cat. I now have 8. Another was that I wanted to be a Veterinarian and keep all the dogs and cats healthy. I'm allergic to animals and can't handle being around that much allergen in a day. I wanted more than anything to have a family, to know what it was like to have both parents together who loved and cherished their daughter more than anything else in the universe. I wanted more than anything at that age, to be a mother when I grew up. I'm married and have 8 cats. I will not have children. This still pains a small portion of my heart, but it's not something I can change. I've learned to love my cats as children and be a good aunt to my nieces.
I work hard at overcoming the pain and insecurities in my soul. My husband tries to be very understanding and he succeeds more often than not. I believe it's my cats who help me to learn and cherish innocence. Their joy and excitement at simply being able to roll around in the dirt in the backyard helps to remind me that life isn't full of stressors and pain. There's joy in the little things life has to offer.
While I wasn't the joyful, innocent, carefree child at age 5, I believe I've learned how to see aspects of life that way.
So, yes. I believe my 5-year old self would be proud of me. Would yours?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Oregano and Hives

I've had the joy (aka: miserable, horrific, AWFUL, painful; the antithesis of joy) of having chronic hives for exactly one year now. They haven't gone away no matter what I do to encourage them to leave. The only time I was rid of them for a few weeks was when I was on a very high dose of prednisone. I also ate constantly because steroids suck.
Imagine if you will, large red welts covering various parts of your body for months at a time. Then add to it the worst itching you can possibly think of. Now live every day like that. Here's the kicker- you aren't supposed to itch. You try not itching unless your asleep; then you wake up with holes scratched in your arms, legs and torso because you didn't realize what you were doing - you were asleep. Feel what it's like for just a moment to have your clothing rubbing against your skin and irritating it further until you have 1/4 inch welts along your sock, pant, undergarment, and sleeve lines. Every day.
Now go out in public. When you look like you've got the plague, people treat you like you've got the plague. No one talks to you, they run when you start down the isle, and checkers actually sanitize their hands as you leave their lane.
Even my friends shy away from me when I come close.
Hives aren't contagious. They're an allergic reaction to some allergy or stress or both. Some people just have them. They suck. You CANNOT contract them by touching them. It's impossible.
I had a brilliant (aka: stupid to the nth degree) idea in September. I love oil of oregano. It helps with any upper respiratory thing I've ever had; so I thought, "if it helps with a cold, why not hives?" I rubbed it all over my arms and legs. What did I have to lose? I already repulsed everyone who saw me - I couldn't really get worse, could I?
Here's the thing you have to know about oil of oregano. It burns like acid. Usually when I take it, I chase it with a nice tall glass of fruit/veggie juice. You can't really do that on your skin. It burns. Badly. Fruit juice just makes your skin sticky. As the tears were streaming down my face and thoughts of death by oregano flitted through my head, I scrubbed my skin clean.
It took a few hours but my skin actually looked better. It wasn't perfect, but at least people would talk to me in public again. I was cured!
Or so I thought.
The hives have spread to an extremely sensitive area that I never actually thought could actually get hives. I oregano-ed them today. Screams could be heard in the next town.

I've inadvertently discovered the best way to torture someone. One drop of Oregano Oil on a mucous membrane will have you telling secrets you never even knew you had. Cut the skin and let the oil under the surface and I can practically guarantee the end of any other torture device known to man. And - it's ALL NATURAL so doesn't actually hurt you - it just feels like you're going to die.

Monday, May 21, 2012

WriCha update

So, I started my WriCha project thinking, " 2,000-5,000 words; piece of cake! I'll have this done this weekend." Oh how wrong I was.
First of all I realized something about myself. I like backstory and describing things.
Secondly, did you know that 5,000 words is only about 16 pages double spaced TNR type?!? Ummm, that's too short for me!
I'm now completely freaking out.
I wrote the initial scene, which is always the hardest for me; and I was very surprised to discover that I loved it. I then decided to go back to do a bit more character development and wrote four beautiful (condensed) pages that lead up to the plane crash that's the first scene. I still have to write over 3 months of future events and I only have 12 pages to do it in - MAX!!!
Sigh. This really is a fun project, but it's frustrating because I've never done a challenge before and I've never had limitations set on my writing. It's exciting and annoying all at the same time. I may keep the back story in there for the time being and then cut it all out at the end. I just hope you care about what happens to the characters without really knowing too much about them. I've already passed my min word count, we'll see how much I have to cut to meet the guidelines.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

WriCha - The interview with the founder, Zoe Harrington

What promoted you to come up with the WriCha challenge? 

 I'm still a full-time student, in my last year of school before college-- bearing in mind this is the English school system-- and I have a bunch of exams this month and next. I knew it wouldn't be right if I continued to blog whilst they were going on. Writing and blogging is like a part time job and I can't revise effectively if my mind is somewhere else.
What's this got to do with WriCha, you say?
I wanted something big for the blog to make up for lack of posts. I owe it to the readers I have. WriCha came to me quite quickly. I wanted something original, but I wanted it to work similarly to memes like NaNoWriMo and the A-Z blogging challenge. I suppose you could say the idea was born from loyalty to my readers... :-)

What authors can we expect this year for the challenge and what are they going to be writing about? 

The list of authors is on the post wich you can find on my blog here -> 
There's a mixture of writers with very different writing styles and personalities. I speak to all of them, some more often than others, and I know they all have talent. Also, they write different genres and some are working out of their comfort zone for WriCha. Their choice not mine, and I appreciate that.

Hmm, the prompts they are using vary from being stranded on an island or kidnapped to a mysterious briefcase or love down the vegetable isle! I can't really say what they're writing, because I don't know! Each prompt gives them a basic premise. The genre, style and other things are completely up to them.

Are you participating, or just promoting it?

 I think it's only fair if I participate. As much as us writers love to write, asking others to do so and sitting back to watch isn't fair. You won't be seeing my progress with the updates though! I have to start writing from mid June. Which gives me only 15 days to write, revise and edit the short story. It's a tight squeeze but I'm willing to try.

 What are your expectations for the challenge?

Expectations...hmmm. Well I expect some effort and a polished piece because this challenge has a large amount of promotion in it. If I'm promoting an author, it's best they have a quality final product because it's their readers-- and new ones-- that will see it.

I don't really know what my expectations are. My hopes are that they enjoy participating, and that WriCha is a success. I'd love to continue WriCha as a yearly meme; but that depends on it's success this time around. *fingers crossed*

Can we expect to see the short-stories in an Indie collection, and if so, when?

 Oh, Jean, you had to ask didn't you! ;-)
I AM considering putting the stories into a collection. I haven't actually approached the authors about this yet. I've been going over what the cover might look like in my head and how I'd achieve this. Take my answer as a maybe, and bear in mind it's not just up to me. It's up to all participants whether they want their story in the collection. As for when to expect it; I have no idea. Christmas? Next year? Could be anytime if it happens!

Are you working on anything else, or solely concentrating on the WriCha challenge?

  Well, excluding exams, I'm concentrating solely on WriCha. My own writing has to take a back seat, as much as I hate to say that. After WriCha, I have a heap of reviews to post so I don't know when I'll be writing again. It's like a four month writing vacation. Hell, in other words.

Thanks so much for the idea as well as chatting with me Zoe! I know I'm really excited to jump out of my comfort zone and write a short story about being stranded on an island. :) It sounds like you're having a busy time the next couple of months as well. Good luck with your story and your exams! I personally would love to see WriCha as a collection of short-Indie-Authored-stories! 
Good luck to you and all the other writers - I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with! 

Friday, May 18, 2012


My friend Zoe Harrington has come up with a writing challenge called WriCha and asked me to participate.
You can find all the specs on her blog here ->
I'm currently writing about a plane crash into a deserted island and what happens after. I'm up to 450 words and am trying to figure out how to keep this short. (this is proving to be the Biggest challenge for me!) You know it's not just going to be any kind of island - there's got to be a twist. ;) Keep checking up on her blog and mine for updates!
To all of you who are lamenting the wait for Created and Zombies, have no fear! I'm still working my tail off on those two books. I'm stuck at a difficult scene for Victoria right now and have been having muse issues with Zombies, but I'm still writing on them both every chance I get. I'm going to get them both out before the end of the year. I don't know how, but it's going to happen! :)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Emotionally charged day

Today my youngest sister gets married, my good friend has her going away party, my niece turns one and my brother comes to visit, making sure he doesn't take time off of work to do so. I remember when my little sister, Becca, was 2 and would call the Nutcracker the Quckernucket. Now she's getting married and starting her life with her own family. I remember changing my brother's diapers. Now he's got a career and a life of his own to juggle like the rest of us.
I was in Baltimore last year visiting my BFF for the first time in 7 years and meeting my three new nieces. I miss them all terribly. My friend is moving there and a big part of me wants to go with her, to be cocooned in the love of the family I chose. I miss so many people so much. It breaks my heart a little every day knowing I can't be there to love and support them like I want to.
I feel old. I don't know where the time went. It always seems that you'll have more time to watch as people grow up, more time to catch up later, more time to get used to the idea that they're growing up - just as you did.
Truth is, there isn't more time. You only have what's there in front of you. Once it's gone, it's gone.