What I’m Into: January 2014

 

 

January was a big month.

For me, it wasn’t just a month to kick off 2014, but a rapid paced, do all the things, read all things while everything is fresh and new and I have energy kind of a month. One Word

I began January with a new semester, new students, and teaching online for the first time. And because I’m an all in kind of person, I’m teaching four college online courses. What I’m noticing is how much I really do enjoy teaching in my pajamas, searching for cool interactive tools to teach literature, but I also miss the classroom, its hodge-podge of students brought together, the in person community of learners.

Of course, it never hurts to be able to read Flannery O’Connor, Eudora Welty, and Alice Munro for work and GET paid to do so. Although, I could have left William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” off the reading list because that story creeps me out. Every. Time. I. Read. It.

But January did bring some exciting news…

My short story, Three Tapes,  was published in Quaint Magazine! You can read it here.

For any writer, being published is one of the best feelings ever. Someone else loved your work and wants it. Of course, money sweetens the deal too. And it also helps that I adore the premise behind Quaint Magazine, a publication that focuses on female identifying writers.  You should read the first issue because it is amazing.  cupcake driveway

In book related nerdness:

I read four books in January. Yes, I know that doesn’t sound like a whole, but I also teach literature courses which mean plenty of my reading time is taken up by research and literary criticism.

  • The Secret History by Donna Tartt: Any time a novel breaks the rules like telling who murdered whom in the first chapter, then I’m on board. The middle of this very long book felt a bit too sluggish for me, but I really did like the overall plot lines.
  • Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple: Quirky, very quirky. Not entirely sure how I feel about the unusual presentation of the story, but I found myself thinking about long after I finished reading it.
  • Dinner: A Love Story by Jenny Rosenstrach: I love food memoirs. I love food memoirs with recipes. I love reading food memoirs with recipes that aren’t overly hard and I might be able to cook.
  • Divergent by Veronica Roth:  My closet genre of choice, my real love will always be Young Adult Dystopian novels. Please, please don’t judge. I loved the premise of the book, and its kick ass female protagonist, but it lost me somewhat when she needed a cute, brooding guy.

If you want more of my thoughts on books I’m reading or have read or want to read, you may follow me on GoodReads.

In TV watching land,

I should point out that I don’t watch a lot of television. We gave up cable a long time ago for Netflix and Amazon Prime, and I don’t miss the bazillion channels with nothing on. But I do have a few favorites:

  • The Big Bang Theory: This month’s episode with James Earl Jones was the funniest ever. It may even eclipse the episode when Sheldon becomes the crazy cat lady.
  • Game of Thrones: I’m late to the party, but damn…my favorite characters are dying left and right and I have only made it through season 1.
  • The Taste (both US and UK versions): While I don’t do reality TV, I love watching Anthony Bourdain, Nigella Lawson, and Chef Ludo bicker over food. This go around, I’m siding with Team Ludo because Team Nigella was all crazy, Bourdain’s team isn’t as exciting as it was last year, and Marcus’s team could be feisty too.

In blog land,

I have been relatively quiet on the blog, but this year, I am going to be making a effort to be more consistent with my content. I did write about my OneWord365 and how it is really hard to live out. I took pictures of my dogs when it snowed because we don’t get a lot of snow in the South and we enjoy it to the fullest.

So, what did January 2014 have for you? Share in the comments section below. Then go check out all of the other submission for Leigh Kramer’s What I’m Into Link-up.

Like what you read? Get more thoughts on writing and the writing life by subscribing to my blog!Enter your email address:Delivered by FeedBurner

Southern Snow Day

By now, you probably have heard that it snowed…in the South.

Having lived my entire life south of the Mason Dixon, I feel the need to make something clear–SNOW IS A BIG DEAL!

We don’t see a lot of the white frozen stuff. In fact, we have had entire winters in which there was snow at all. So when the almighty weatherman calls for snow, we run out to get our eggs, bread, and milk because we don’t want to be unprepared. Or we might just have a hankering for french toast.

But I digress. Since we get so little snow, I took the opportunity to romp around, to take pictures of my dogs, to enjoy the powdery white stuff until my toes felt numb and my hands were too cold to press the camera buttons. So about 20 minutes have real outside time, then it was all roaring fire, big stacks, and puppy piles for me.

Today’s blog post doesn’t have any literary significance just showing off I spent my snow day or how I took lots of pictures of my dogs which will convince my readers that I am that crazy dog lady.

 

Cupcake chase Ophelia

Ahh, observe the natural taunting of Springer Spaniel siblings–Cupcake and Ophelia. Can you not see the love? The tenderness? Cupcake’s crazy eyes as Ophelia runs away.

Cupcake cold

You can almost hear dear Cupcake saying: “But MOMMY, I’m cold! I promise I will sit on your lap and be your heating blanket if we go inside now.” Yeah, he broke that promise later when he flopped on to the couch and started snoring.

Ophelia runs

 

But Ophelia trots ever so lightly on the snow. Its icy crust tickling her toes as she runs toward me. Of course, she wants her belly rubbed because that is the only thing that I am good for…and putting kibble in her bowl. Priorities.

Cupcake and Ophelia run

 

“Look Mama, we’re flying!”

cupcake driveway

Never knew my dog could fly, did you?

cupcake happy

But at the end of the day, everyone is happy, tail wagging, and glad that the snow will be gone tomorrow.

Want more awesomeness in your inbox? Subscribe below!

 

Like what you read? Get more thoughts on writing and the writing life by subscribing to my blog!Enter your email address:Delivered by FeedBurner

Celebrating Summer’s Good Things

This is my 400th post.

Apparently, I’ve had many, many things to say in these past 3 years of blogging. Probably too much to say, but that could simply be my INFJ showing a bit.

But 400 posts? I will admit that this post gave me writer’s block for a month.

What would be so amazing and special and wonderful to celebrate 400 posts? I really had no idea which is why I waited so long to post anything because I’m super awesome at freaking myself out over something as insignificant as a number. We all know that post 401 won’t be as difficult to write. But I digress…

Today is for celebrating this summer.

Hatteras Beach

Back in May, I decided to take my writing to the next scary level–submitting for publication. I joined Duotrope and scoured the markets and sent my words into the void. And waited and waited…got lots of rejections and waited and waited (Funny, how movies on writer’s lives never really feature this part of the story). In June, it finally happened—

I got my FIRST acceptance!

Believe me, this is when life needs to have a soundtrack playing because I totally heard “We Are the Champions” in my head. My flash fiction piece “Stolen Cake” had been picked up by a great publication called Writing Tomorrow. 

(Click here to go to the current issue with my piece in it)

Even as I went back reread my piece, I still really love it because it represents hours of writing, revisions, second guessing, and just telling my OCD to take a hike. It most certain wasn’t effortless, but so worth it.

I celebrated 7 years with my very own Redneck Romeo.

Wedding

I don’t know where the years have gone. We’ve loved and endured and smiled and laughed and changed and stayed the same. But this is life, my life, and I wouldn’t ask for a different one. Maybe, another trip to Disney World. We headed to Charlotte, NC for a night and explored the downtown or uptown or whatever area near the stadiums. Poolside, fruity drinks, and a good book then fancy appetizers at WoodVine. The braised pork belly in phyllo dough plus triple creme cheese and Spanish wine equals AMAZING! Afterwards, we had Jimmy Johns because tapas will never fill up my Cuddly Bear of a husband. Another lesson learned during these 7 years.

IMG_1087

I got to hang in REAL life with my blogging friend Alise Wright.

During our brief trip to Charlotte, I met up with Alise. While we’ve done the Google Hangout thing a couple of times, countless Twitter conversations, and discussions on our respective blogs, meeting her in real life was a bazillion times better.

Alise and Sarah

We chatted about books and life and blogging and writing. This is one of the great things about the internets–so many awesome people to meet. But it is also one of the sucky parts too because Alise should totally live closer to me along with so many of my internet only for now friends.

So, tell me what you’re celebrating this summer? What kind of posts would you like to see in the next 400 posts?

What I’m Into June 2013 Edition

IMG_1012I’m not really sure where the month of June went… Also, I say this every June. Without fail.

But we’ve marched past the halfway marker for 2013, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the year being full and rich and crazy as the first half. Also, my birthday is now months closer. Priorities, priorities.

But, back to June. Each month, my internet/Twitter/Facebook friend Leigh at Hopeful Leigh entices us with all of the lovely things that she has found on the interwebs, real life, or some combination of all three. While I don’t always join in the fun, this month I decided to give it a go. (Note: the month of July, I’m participating in Camp NaNoWriMo and this post is just s distraction from plotting, writing, and noveling stuff).

 

Without further eloquence….

What I’m Into June 2013:

Books(some books may have been read in May but really doesn’t matter at this point):

  1. I’ve stopped reading a lot of blogs so I could get stuff done.  IMG_1011
  2. I read all of Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea Cycle. Written about the same time as Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia, the magical worlds felt familiar and lovely. I loved her Left Hand of Darkness novel, and this series was also terrific as a whole. My favorite books were the 2nd and 4th because they featured a strong female character, and I’m drawn to those. 
  3. I’m  sorry that I wasted my time on Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. I hate all the characters, the ending did not ring true, and I should have just left the book unfinished. Meh…
  4. I’m currently working through my 11 books from My Read Your Shelves challenge. Working slowly through East of Eden, Kitchen Confidential, and Sinners Welcome. I am loving ALL of these.

Television/Movies/Video Games:

  1. I haven’t really watched any movies this month. Not a single one. 
  2. I tend to watch my favorite shows repeatedly. This month, I re-watched ALL of The Big Bang Theory’s 6th season because y’all, I’m still hoping Raj finds someone soon or he steals Amy away from Sheldon. Leonard was way too whiney, and Penny’s kinda bossy. I watched some Dr. Who episodes sporadically. But I adore Anthony Bourdain’s new show Parts Unknown. The Congo episode was freakin brilliant.
  3. I tried playing some more video games because I buy them and don’t play them. I beat several cave trolls, a big ass orc, and a barrow wight in Lord of the Rings: War in the North. I’m now up to Level 10…this never happens to me.

Writings/Other Musings:

  1. I finished another short story for my collection and feel pretty damn good about how it turned out. I love the characters, and I can neither confirm or deny that I cried when I killed this character off at the end. 
  2. I got really brave and started submitting stuff for publication.
  3. I got really sad when I got rejection emails saying that various magazines didn’t want my work.
  4. I got super excited when I found out a magazine DID want my work…I danced like a happy hippo and didn’t even care.

Real Life Adventure Time: IMG_0965

  1. Paddling around Jordan Lake because the water was lovely, the sunshine, and looking for Bald Eagles.
  2. Hanging out with my writing group because even an INFJ like myself needs to be around other people too.
  3. Good pizza, good wine…there is no explanation required for sitting down at the table to eat well.

 

 

What are you into this past June?

What I’m Into November 2012

To say this November didn’t happen exactly like I had planned would be an understatement.

Believe me, when I tell you that I spent most of it in a hazy, snotty tear-filled fog, and I simply can’t write about it yet. Yes, I floundered again on my NaNoWriMo commitment and spent far too much time away from my writing and blogging and poetry. Sometimes, silence really is the only why to knit together the small heart pieces unraveled by life.

But…….

November did afford several good things. Things I would love to share with all y’all(plural form of y’all for you non-Southern English speakers). I’m joining my friend Leigh Kramer and presenting my What I am into in November 2012.

What I'm Into at HopefulLeigh

 

Television, movies, and what not….

I will always and forever love The Big Bang Theory. Any show that can incorporate Chaucer’s The Miller’s Tale in Middle English, Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, and pick fun at T.S. Eliot….well, that’s my kind of show.

My other obsession is Elementary, and I’m coming around to the idea of Dr. Watson being a woman. I think the characters will need fleshing out a bit more, but there is still a lot of TV viewing time left.

And of course, I’m behind on Once Upon a Time, Downton Abbey, but I’m okay with catching up over Christmas break.

On the movie front, I finally saw Love Actually…and loved it! Best in Show mocks the craziness of dog shows(FYI: my Thanksgiving day traditions include: eat, watch the parade, watch the dog show).

Books and writings and things….

For my birthday, I bought Anne Lamott’s Help, Thanks, Wow. She discusses prayer without overly religious jargon, and it was the best book on prayer that I have read in ages.

I finished reading Mary Karr’s Lit. While I love her luscious writing, parts of the book felt too slow. I struggled to stay interested about midway through the book. I did find her book of poetry Sinners Welcome stunning and raw.

Right now, I’m reading Susan Cain’s Quiet, Barbara Tiller Cole’s Ebenezer Fitzwilliam Darcy (a mash-up of A Christmas Carol and Pride and Prejudice),  Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, and Mary Oliver’s A Thousand Mornings.

Blogs and internet fun times…. 

As any good dog lover should know, our dogs do some wretched things…mine have taken to 3 am potty breaks, complete with me taking them outside. Hence, my fascination with DogShaming.com . Owners make signs telling the whole world how bad their bad dog truly is.

On my own blog this month, I opened it up to 3 guest poets–Grace, Mary, and Veronica.

I broke open a tiny morsel of my pain from this month, became a bit more hand-waving poetry as worship type too.

 

What are you into this month?