I Wish I Were a Hero

ImageNot a hero like someone who puts their own life in danger to rescue their fellow man (although I would hope I would do that if the occasion presented itself). No, I wish I were a hero like the heroes in the television show, Heroes. You know, the one that ran for four years, and I stopped watching after the first year because I was no longer into it. “They thought they were like everyone else … until they woke with incredible abilities.

I want the ability to resist fire.

I’m fascinated by fire. Oh, don’t worry, I’m not a pyromaniac. But staring into a fire is hypnotic, and it’s warm, and I like the way fire crackles and sounds.

ImageLook at that picture. It has not been photoshopped, and I swear there is a hero at the arrow. Or a monster.

Two doors down from us, a house caught fire. Everyone got out, and firefighters were quick to arrive, so the house was saved, but I was fascinated watching the flames try to claim the house for their own.

Last year, an old warehouse-type building caught fire in our town, and I couldn’t leave the scene. I’ve never seen such a large fire. The heat was intense, and the amount of noise surprised me. Noise from the fire as well as the building falling apart. It was mesmerizing.

I wish I were a hero with the ability to resist fire and some day walk through it unscathed.

Ideally, I would find out about my powers gradually. If a mean boy in high school reached across the table at a hamburger joint, and held a lit cigarette over my hand, I wouldn’t pull away. I would let him put it on the top of my hand, and I would look him in the eye until he chickened out and pulled back. I wouldn’t utter a sound, I would simply grab a sliver of ice from my coke and put it on the hole.

If I loaded wood into the wood burner, and my hand or arm banged the side of the hot burner and left a white hot mark (just about every freakin’ time), I wouldn’t flinch.

If smoking hot oil flew out of the pan when I dropped a beef roast into it, and it melted a hole in the carpet, I wouldn’t cry or fuss when the hot oil also landed on a wide area of my arm.

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Joe and his screaming chicken.

If I put chicken under the broiler in the oven, and my hand accidentally hit the heating element, I would just sigh and run it under cold water.

In our house, I’m the one who can wash dishes in the hottest of water. I’m the one with white marks on hands and arms from what should have been nasty burns and scars, but the incidents only appear to have taken the pigment out of the skin. I’m the one who can’t seem to stop burning herself with little to no pain or aftermath, and I just look at the menfolk and say, “I’m a hero.”

What hero quality do you possess?

(Carrie Rubin! You better not tell me that I have some terrible neurological disease, and I need to see a doctor right away. Don’t take my hero dream away from me. I’m going to be a firewalker some day! :-))

Weekly Writing Challenge:
http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/10/29/weekly-writing-challenge-i-wish-i-were/

Thank you to my friend, Charlie, who put me onto this remix video. As of this date, it’s coming up on eight million hits

Image(This is a fun lady, and she’s adjusting to her new-found fame well!)

P.S. – When you publish your post about fire, don’t forget about your ham and cheese sandwich in the skillet in the kitchen, or the bottom piece of bread will look like this:

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National Novel Writing Month – Why?

ImageAfter a beautiful week of near 80-degree temperatures, we dropped into the forties with rain all weekend. That kept us from doing yard work, but we managed to accomplish a few other tasks.

It was good to take the weekend away from the blogosphere. I watched a few movies, hubby and I dusted off the Nintendo 64 and played a few rounds of Dr. Mario, and I made some preparations for NaNo – as well as a pot of chili. Yum.

I wasn’t going to participate in National Novel Writing Month. I didn’t really see the point. All four of my books are in the 50k to 57k range, and the first three were all written in a three week period of time (with editing after, of course). House guests and a few other projects cropped up in the middle of book number four, but the actual writing was about four weeks with one day producing 7100 words. I didn’t feel the need to challenge myself by participating.

I’ve been enjoying reading about what others are doing to prepare. Some have everything planned down to the number of hours to write in a day, food choices, number of words to write daily, housekeeping schedules, etc.  I’m highly competitive, and the thought of being a “winner” is enticing, but that wasn’t a strong enough motive to participate.

The reason I finally decided to sign up is that I’ve been dragging my feet about writing at all. I only want to write two more Susan Hunter books, and I just haven’t been able to get started on the next book other than the first two paragraphs. I’m thinking NaNo is the kick in the pants I need.

But there are other things happening behind the scenes. Writing came out of nowhere for me this year. After seeing other people sell short stories for a dollar on Smashwords, I just wanted to see if I could write a story, too. The fact that a book – let alone four – came out still astounds me. I’ve said it a million times, my books aren’t extraordinary with fantastic plots, but they are entertaining, which is all I ever hoped for.

If this next book goes well, and I enjoy writing it as much as I did the others, I’ll keep writing. (I’m kind of afraid it will all disappear as fast as it showed up. Or my shades of ADD will kick it to the curb for something else.)

I did manage quite a bit of research and preparation over the weekend for the official start on Thursday: ImageFrom right to left:

-My notebook with my original thoughts on scenes, characters, and how I want the story to unfold.

-More scribble notes with a scribble map of where I want events to take place.

– Printout of a Google street map in Chicago. I’m having Susan and Darby stay in a condo where I once stayed. The building and the surroundings are familiar to me and will make writing the story easier.

– Notes from a pulp fiction story that is in the public domain. It has the elements I want to use for a sub-plot in the condo.

– Another map outlining crime areas in Chicago. I can’t very well have Susan walking around in areas that are noted as high crime areas.

– Scribble notes with research needed for Susan personally, and I also jotted down some things that came to me for the opening scene at a gas station.

-Obligatory dish of m&m’s for research and writing.

– The typed pages atop my scanner are other details I previously worked out for the book, as well as all of my research into cooking contests.

I still need to do a bit more research based on the criminal element of the story, and then I’ll be ready to start writing. If I don’t make it to 50,000 words by the end of the November, that’s ok. If I do, I’ll be editing like crazy around the clock so I can publish right away. It would be awesome to have a book with a Christmas theme published in time for Christmas.

I wish everyone good luck and joy as they write during National Novel Writing Month.

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Step Away From the Blog

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Do people from the blogosphere infiltrate your day? Not while you’re online and actually reading blogs, but as you go about your daily routine?

I’m on the interstate quite a bit. It’s easy access to the few towns near us as well as to civilization north of us. Today, instead of taking the back roads, I hopped onto the interstate to run to the bank one town over.

As I neared the end of the on ramp, I checked my mirrors once more before merging into traffic, and someone popped into my head – John the Aussie.

A man in Australia is suddenly with me on my little stretch of road in Ohio, and it’s not the first time. I see his smiling face in my mind, and I quickly check to be sure I’ve flipped my turn signal off. Crikey and blimey, is this a forever thing? Is this one of those things that you never shake – like the time a truck full of guys from school drove by and threw tomatoes at you when you were mowing the grass? I haven’t mowed grass since then, and I still see those guys standing in the bed of the truck whipping their tomatoes at me when I see someone else mowing grass. For crying out loud, I have three brothers, why was I mowing the grass in the first place? I blame my dad for that, but maybe he was the one laughing the hardest. Focus, Maddie. Get back on topic.

Yesterday, I ran through a Steak ‘N Shake to grab a quick sandwich while I was out. Of course, I saw Imagethe milkshakes on the menu, and I thought, “Kate would have a caramel one.” A fabulously funny girl in New Zealand is causing me to think about milkshakes!  For the record, I didn’t get one.

I turned my television on two nights ago, and it came on to the World Series. The announcer said, “Detroit,” and my mind instantly thought, “I bet Tim is all hunkered down to watch this.”

Plus, there are the blog things I have to share with my husband. Because I go to bed so late, I usually wake him on the sofa, and by the time we get settled into bed, we’re usually awake, talking, and laughing about something. At 2:00 a.m. one night, we were giggling like little school girls when I told him something Ruth said about her husband that was so sweet, and we could relate, but it struck our funny bones.

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Embellishment includes lighted appendage. Cartoon: http://holleygerth.com

Christopher is known to my mother, our friends, and my sister because of his fireflies story, and the embellishments my husband has added after we tell the original version. We should probably pay Christopher some royalties.

So, when I walk into the bathroom the other day, and I see an empty roll of toilet paper sitting on the counter, and I remember a blog post about empty rolls of toilet paper, I think I might need to step away for a bit and give my mind a breather.

The Weekly Photo Challenge this week is: Foreign. The very first thing that popped into my head was CLEANING SUPPLIES (see photo submission above). No kidding! These objects are completely foreign to me these days. This blogging gig has left our home woefully unkempt. To clear my mind from the blogs and bloggers who are continually running around in it, flicking at my synapses, I’m going to take the weekend off and step away from the blog.

NaNoWriMo starts next Thursday, and I’m going to take some time this weekend to put some thought into how I want to approach my writing. Hubby and I still have to clean up the tree mess from the storm, and someone really needs to buy some proper groceries. But mostly, I want to use some of those foreign products and do some cleaning. I don’t even know where the vacuum cleaner is.

Now, don’t leave me hanging out here like a freak. Bloggers get into your brain, too, don’t they?

Pass the Tissues, She’s Crying Again

ImagePinocchio saved Geppetto from the whale, Monstro. When they washed up on shore, and it appeared Pinocchio had died, I cried. I was an adult.

When my husband told me of seeing an old man crying as he took his dog into the vet to be euthanized, I cried.

When our son broke up with a girlfriend, I saw her face as she left our home. It was the right decision, but I felt her pain, and I cried.

I remember feeling things deeply as a child. I laughed hard; I cried hard. When I would read books, I felt what the characters were feeling, and it was not unusual to find me crying over a book. I still cry when I read books. Even my own, silly as that may seem.

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Buddy

I cry watching movies and television shows. I cry at weddings. I cry in church, especially from the music. I can’t watch those heart-wrenching commercials on television about dogs that need help, because they’ll turn me into a blubbering mess.

When I see someone who is hurting, I know how they feel. It’s painful at times.

This isn’t something I can control. I’ve tried. I fight tears. I try to think of something else, but the feelings are too strong.

Most people can sympathize with others and situations, but empathy is a feeling of another’s true emotions. An empath will deeply feel the emotions of others. It is suspected to be genetic and in our DNA – something passed from generation to generation.

There have been times when I wished this would go away, but I think I’m much more forgiving and understanding of people because of empathy.

I hope no one would ever say I am uncaring.
What’s the one thing you hope other people never say about you?
http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/10/24/daily-prompt/

Q: Why Was the Photographer Arrested?

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ImageThis is a picture I took of my mother in the A Christmas Story house in Cleveland, Ohio. She is standing next to the famous leg lamp. You can see I have a talent for photography. /sarcasm

I’ve always had a fascination with cameras. My first camera was a Kodak Instamatic, and I went through flash cubes like some people I know go through chocolate (you know who you are). There was great anticipation as I waited for the prints to come back from wherever they were sent. I think I was always a little disappointed in the final results, but there were usually enough pictures to delight me to make it worthwhile.

In my early twenties, I finally bought a 35 mm camera. I forgot to change a setting once, and my one and only trip to Disneyworld was forever overexposed. The camera certainly wasn’t as easy to use as an Instamatic, and my picture taking dropped dramatically.

I finally took a continuing education class in basic photography. I learned how to use my camera, and we even did some developing in a darkroom.

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The McKinley Monument has 108 steps. You run to the top and act like Rocky.

We were eventually sent out to shoot pictures, and we had to bring ten slides with us the following week to share with the class. I picked out my favorites. As more and more slides were shown that evening, I slid down in my chair hoping to go unnoticed. Most of the pictures were of the well-known landmarks  around the area (they all seemed to have the McKinley Monument) or beautiful pictures of flower gardens and streams.

I almost got away with it, but the teacher spotted me just before he went to turn on the lights. There were some chuckles and snickers as they viewed my picture of cows on a steep incline, slivers of the last rays of sunshine slipping between black trunks of skinny trees onto an even blacker swamp, and a sunset behind a dilapidated barn which was set to the left of my frame rather than the right. I don’t remember my other pictures, but they were equally odd and different from all of the others.

I’m sure my face and neck were red when the lights came back on.

Imagine my surprise when the teacher used my slides to show/tell everyone why their pictures were boring and uncreative while mine were not. After class, he suggested I sign up for the next, more advanced class. He thought I had an “eye” for photography and could do something with it someday. I didn’t pursue it. I just wanted to learn how to use my camera. It was stolen within the year when my apartment was broken into. I never replaced it.

I find myself following quite a few photographers here at WordPress. My love for photography has definitely surfaced again, but I don’t have a camera. Well, I do have a digital Sony Mavica, but it’s not what I want.

Yesterday was a pretty, sunny day. I charged the Mavica and asked hubby to take me for a drive, so I could take some pictures. I told him I’d make a great blog post with my photographic skills. We both laughed.

We weren’t very far from home when he saw two horses, a white fence, and a barn. Not what I was looking for, but he whipped off the road and pulled out his camera phone. He was shooting pictures so fast you would have thought there was an underwear model out there. I looked around. We were next to a dried up corn field. I spotted one yellow ear peeking out. I snapped a picture – just to get started as this wasn’t what I had in mind. The sky above the field was a beautiful blue, and although not special, I snapped the picture anyway.

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Then my camera died. Two freakin’ crappy pictures and my camera died. My enthusiasm was gone just like that. But not hubby. Oh, no. He drove on down the road to the winery and took a million pictures there with his phone. I whined and dragged my feet as I watched him be the photographer. Sigh.

Here are a few photographers I have more recently followed and have really been enjoying:

http://pamtanzey.wordpress.com/ – Pam is an artist, and I love her artwork. She frequently posts photos, and her close-ups of her horses are wonderful. Her recent dog photos made me want more dogs.

http://arnoldthearmadillo.wordpress.com/2012/10/19/leafy-drive/ – Glenno has a new blog, and this link will take you directly to one of his photographs that I just love.

http://disperser.wordpress.com/ – Emilio’s shots of bird, bugs, flowers, and much more are wonderful. His recent post of tree swallows feeding was great.

http://barrycreative.wordpress.com/2012/09/23/a-shore-thing/  – I first found Barry with the post at this link. I was hooked by his visuals and his stories.

And here are some of hubby’s camera phone pictures so he doesn’t feel left out:

ImageImageImageImageAnswer to the title of this post: Because he shot people.

Do you have an interest in photography? Do you share your photos on your blog?

I Adore My Husband (Part Two)

ImageMost people would say their husband is their best friend. I would say that, too, but my husband is my best friend and best girlfriend all rolled into one.

We chat about everything. He has been known to crimp my hair and enhance the color. He proudly wears pink and yellow. He shops. We were in a fabric store not too long ago, and he was oohing and aahing over fabrics while I was whining, dragging my feet, and wanting to go home. He sings the female backup parts to songs. He sheds tears when something touches his heart.

The flip side is that he is a manly man and is comfortable in flannel. He can fix anything, build anything, and solve any problem – at least in my world. He used an employment service the last time he looked for work. He had to take a test so they could pigeon-hole him into a few types of jobs. The workers said the test results showed he was one of the rare people who could literally do anything. I believe it.

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Single malt, no rocks for hubby.

I don’t mind that he smokes cigars and drinks an occasional Scotch. There’s something about those skinny cigars and a glass of Scotch neat that makes him too sexy for his pink shirt.

Women love him; men appropriately like him (although I recall a few men who would have liked to have loved him). He has a wonderful sense of humor, and not a day goes by without him making me laugh in some way.

Which brings me to today. Today I decided to delete old email and text messages on my computer and my phone. Of course, I first had to look for the gems he has sent to me since the last time I did this and embarrassed him back in August. Here we go …

There are still sweet greetings:

Good morning, honey pie.

Good morning, princess.

As well as some news from the overnight, and before he actually starts work:

Did you have fun punching me in the face last night?  What did I do to you?

Pete had a three-pooper this morning. Yippie.  He was a proud beagle.Image

I love you. I hope you’re still snoring and making spit bubbles.

Comments regarding his day at work:

Everyone who comes into my office today has commented on my banana.  They want to touch it.  I understand Debbie and Sue wanting to, but Steve and Bob?  Not so much.

Sometimes a random thought comes through:

Humpty says “Grab ‘em in the biscuits.”

We frequently talk about food as we try to eat healthier:

I’m starving. I’ll have bread and water for supper.

I want to run uptown and have a margarita, chips and salsa. Then go Imageto Wendy’s for a large chili and a single with everything but cheese, and wash it down with a large frosty. Then swing over to Taco Bell for an enchirito and a couple choco-taco’s. On the way home, stop at the gas station and pick up chocolate peanut butter cup ice cream for a light snack.

 

After I asked what he wanted from the Chinese place:

I guess the chicken with the big black snotty fungus flaps.

Some days he’s in a hurry to come home:

Just over an hour before I can leave to come home to my bride. I CAN’T WAIT.

Papa’s comin’ home, and he’s NAKED. I hope I don’t get pulled over along the way.

After I sent him the video of Greenback Boogie, which I liked:

Now there’s five minutes of my life that I’ll NEVER get back.

When I asked him to help me with the bacon limericks:

You want a dirty or a clean limerick? Dirty I can do in a flash. Clean may take me a few weeks.

Bacon peppered, smoky and thick,
Frying it fast is part of the trick.
Along with some eggs,
Or eaten alone,
Rub on your ears and use as cologne.

The day he needed to get something off his chest:

Our town’s finest was out in front of the house last weekend talking to the “Kettle Kids.” I figured he told them to stay away from the road and not play there. You know, doing his civil duty. I just mowed the grass, and I now know why the cop stopped. The Kettle’s were out there busting hell out of our slate sidewalk. There are enough slate chips out there to arm the entire Sioux Tribe with arrowheads for the next friggin’ ten years.

Just this week, after a wind storm ripped the power lines away from our house, and the surge fried our microwave:

I’m taking my dish of leftover spaghetti to the Circle-K. They have microwaves over there.Image

There are still sweet closings:

Hugs ‘n smooches

I love you, my princess.

I Adore My Husband (Part One)

♫ Tan Shoes with Pink Shoelaces ♫

We’re singing again. Dodie Stevens this time, because the song crossed my mind while writing this post.

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Steve Harvey of Family Feud

One day each week, I head thirty miles north to visit with my mother. I take her to the grocery store, shopping, for occasional doctor visits, and four times a year, we gripe and complain on the way to our accountant for our quarterly taxes. We generally have dinner before heading back to her house to gossip visit some more and watch the Game Show Network. I run up and down the stairs during commercials to do her laundry.

Yesterday, I was treated to a gorgeous drive on the way up. The fall colors are nearly at their peak now, and with the sun shining, it was miles upon miles of aurulent, melichrous, coccineous, vitellary, badious, and rubious leaves.

The color show reminded me that the Weekly Writing Challenge this week was to incorporate a splash of color into your post. I thought of my favorite color, yellow. It’s a cheerful color. We live in a yellow house, but I don’t want to write about my house. I’m mad at it right now because it allowed a power surge to wipe out my microwave and a television this week. (Public Service Announcement: Buy good Imagepower strips. Most of our electronics were plugged into heavy-duty power strips, and although four of them were fried and off to a dumpster today, the items plugged into them survived.)

I do have this love affair with pink. I have a fabulous, double breasted, pink jacket with a high collar. It’s quite retro. Pink shoelaces show up in my books.

Aha! That’s it! Color in writing.

Do you give a lot of thought to color when you write? Beyond the fact that a room was blue, the tablecloth was white, or the villain was wearing all black? Do you use color stereotypically?

This is something that probably comes up in Writing 101, but we all know I didn’t take that class. I searched one of my books and found references to colors that work just fine in their context, but had I given more thought to color specifically, I may have tried some other words and descriptions.

As my mother was TWO HOURS in the eye doctor’s office yesterday, I spent the time searching and reading on my Nook about using color in your writing. That explains the obscure color words I used above to describe the leaves. I was surprised to find that these words are also considered obscure:
Chartreuse – Humph! I put a guy in a chartreuse thong in one of my books.
Beige – What? Surely you’ve owned a pair of beige pants.
Hoary – I’ve heard my husband use this word. Oh, wait. Maybe not in reference to a color.
Indigo – Everyone knows this color, don’t they?
Khaki – More pants, usually with too many pockets.
Maroon – Come on. Obscure? Bugs Bunny uses this color word often. Image
Violet – Didn’t your grandmother have a little pot of violets in her house? You know this color.

Colors can show mood in your writing. Every color suggests a feeling. Red denotes passion and action; blue is trust and peace; yellow for wisdom and happiness; green for balance, growth, and nature. There are many sites that will give you a wide range of colors and their meaning/perception.

Colors can help to set the tone of your scene, and by adding strong adjectives, you can set a powerful stage with wonderful imagery.

There are thousands of colors across the spectrum for you to choose from when describing objects. Once you’ve decided upon your base color, change it to a color from the same family that will give your writing more vigor. Instead of a red sweater, choose a scarlet sweater, or even a ruby red sweater.

Many writers use similes and metaphors with color. The walls were a putrid green like a zombie Imageskateboarding toward me to devour my flesh.  They can be a great way to convey color images.

I’ve finally thrown my hat into the ring for NaNoWriMo. I think it will be a good kick in the pants to get me going strong. I only have two paragraphs written so far for my new book, and I don’t have to use them at all toward my novel/word count in November. As my setting will be Chicago at Christmas, I’m going to pay more attention to color in my writing this time.

Do you use color in your writing? Do you rely on it to set mood, tone, and feel?

P.S. – If you missed it, that crazy Stairway to Heaven post last week was Freshly Pressed. A lot of people stopped by to leave creative poetry and/or fun comments if you’d like to take a look.