Courtney S. Barr

Welcome to My Kingdom!
Join me, the Princess, on my Royal Adventures in the Land of Writing!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Awards!! Awards!! I feel so loved...

NanoWriMo has kept me so in the dark lately, but I was pleasantly surprised as I read comments on my blog!

I don't even know how to thank you all enough! I did a happydance around the living room when I discovered a few blog awards the other day!

I mean really surprised & thankful!

The first is....
The Best Blog Award!!!

Sara ( )you are just the sweetest!

I love your blog and am honored that you felt I deserved this award. I love to see your Tweets & your Blog Updates! I cannot wait to see how the purchase of the 30 Day novel guidebook goes!

And now it's MY turn to pass it on!

The rules for The Best Blog Award are:
To accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award and his/her blog link.
Pass the award to other bloggers that you recently discovered and think are great! Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award

Tracy @ Lemons & Lemonade:
Shannon @ Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe:
Frankie @ Frankie Writes:
Kate @ The NeverEnding Shelf:
Steph @ StephTheBookworm

The second one is:

the HONEST SCRAP award
This one cracks me up! I received it on the same day from two different people!

Thank you Frankie (Frankie Writes) & Steph (StephTheBookworm)! You both have such funny & entertaining blogs! I love to visit & am honored that you both visit the Kingdom!

Rules of the Honest Scrap Award: list ten honest thing about myself then pass it along to ten more bloggers

1.When I was in the third grade I wrote my first short story. After that I was hooked, everything me & my friends did became a story.

2. I love to entertain. No really, I love being the hostess "I'm always the hostess." :o)

3. I tend to relate just about everything in my life that occurs to a Friends episode (see #2) and it really does help with understanding things sometimes!

4. My new addiction is HULU.COM. I love watching old shows (*grinswhilethinkingofMAGNUMP.I.* sighs....)

5. One of the best gifts in the world is a hug from my nieces or nephews. They are all so adorable!

6. I had to take my driver's test 4 times. Yes 4. The woman was mean!

7. Cotton candy is the best flavor, sugary treat, yumminess that was ever discovered by my tastebuds.

8. I can still remember the deep scent of red clover all around me at my parents' house as a child and the cool cushion the clover provided on sunny days.

9. I made mudpies as a child and was always upset that we never served them for dessert.

10. The bottoms of my feet are like steel after 28 years of barefoot fun.

Okay My TEN recipients!
Tracy @ Lemons & Lemonade:
Shannon @ Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe:
Frankie @ Frankie Writes:
Kate @ The NeverEnding Shelf:
Steph @ StephTheBookworm
Nina @ Watson6inGa
Shannon @ Book Dreaming
Lisa & Laura @ Lisa and Laura Write
Sara @SeeSaraWrite

The third award (I know! 3!! Thank you all! I feel so blessed!)

is the ...

Thank you Shannon of (Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe:
I would like to pass this one on to the following blogs!

The Princess Bookie ( come on, she's Royalty!
Tynga of Tynga's Urban Fantasy Reviews ( great site! By the way she is having a Follower contest that is awesome right now!
JuJu of Tales of Whimsy ( Great site for honest reviews!
Mandy of edge of seventeen! ( Check out her recent review of The Maze Runner!

There are just so many sites that I love to visit!!

Thank you all for your creativity. Each stop is so unique!

Now that it is the final day of NaNo I should be coming back to the land of the living, at least in larger spurts! lol

Thursday, November 26, 2009


So here we are on the eve of Turkey Day! (sorry no ToFurkey, Frankie :o( ). I have had the weirdest last week and well, lets just say I have so many things to be thankful for.

This year is different. I am not in the Big C celebrating with my siblings or parents. I am in Ttown at my home with one of my best friends, Tracy, & her family (Mike & Isabel) hosting Thanksgiving. To be honest this was unorthodox at first for my mind to process. I mean, I am the family girl, I NEVER miss a holiday with my parents & siblings. This year though we opted to stay home. Not that there are any issues with the fam, on the contrary, we are in great spirits with our immediate families. We decided that Thanksgiving really is about being thankful. Tracy is family. She always has been. The opportunity to celebrate a holiday with her was something I did not think twice about.

Though my immediate family won't be crowded around my table, I will feel them in every recipe that I complete. My mother's dressing sits waiting in the fridge for tomorrow beneath a beautiful sweet potato casserole. I was up until midnight last night making a Whipping Cream Poundcake that my mother is known for. We plan to watch football, the Macy's parade & veg out. All the traditions I experienced growing up are built into my psyche. They travel through my hands as I add each egg to the cake batter. I feel them as I think about that Southern Cornbread Dressing. Yes my family is two hours away, but again in many ways they are right here.

I am thankful for that.

For Tracy, Mike & Isabel who traveled from St. Louis to Bama away from all their family for a vacation & chose us as their destination.
For my mother & father who taught me that blessings are never the items we receive but the love passed from giver to recipient.
For brothers & sisters that gather around the table to share memories of our youth.
For Marcus & his amazing acceptance of who I am.
For Peanut Butter (my dog) for his unquestioning love for me no matter how grumpy I might be. For my other sister: Stacie. A friend who has been there through so much that I wonder sometimes if we have ever really been apart even though distance reminds me we have.
For gifts intangible: my writing, my art, my perception.
For blogging: I am thankful for all my followers, for all my readers... you all make me want to check my blog constantly! ;o)
For this moment. This time to be on earth and type an entry. No matter how trite - time is precious & moments are fleeting.
For reminding me that family is always with me no matter where I am and that family is more than blood.
For the friends I have made on here & Twitter. Truly amazing people who I now cannot imagine my life without. Thank you.
For a manuscript I am really enjoying!
So now that my list is long and lengthy I leave you with this thought:
As each day rises to be met, may you meet it with an open mind and heart.
As the minutes pass may you remember the feeling, the passion, the love around you.
As the night falls around your shoulders may you recount the days' events with a smile.
As yours eyes close and dreams weave into your mind may you welcome the sweet release of sleep that comes from a day in a life worth lived.
As the night becomes the day may you welcome the new dawn with an optimistic mind, eyes ready to see the good and a heart that welcomes the new as it discovers the best of the past.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The NeverEnding Shelf's Thank You Contest!!

check out an awesome contest over at The Neverending Shelf!

So many things to win!!! Woohoo (if you don't follow her blog - you definitely need to!)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Whew moments...


One word.
One expression.
One sound made when spoken.

But a whole mess of meaning can come from that word.

I say it right now for many reasons. The past week has been one of the weirdest. I have a house full of company for the next week (it began Thursday). I also express it for the way my feet feel after cooking most of the day (with a trip to the grocery store as well).

Then it also explains the fact that sitting right now on my couch with my laptop on my knees I feel better. I say it while my chest rises and falls. The air slips between my lips and a smile tugs at the corner of my mouth. My fingers are typing on the keyboard and it feels wonderful. I am sitting here with 5 other people in the room, I can hear the Nebraska/Kansas State game on the giant television, chatter is filling the room, a dog is playing with two little girls in my dining room but my mind, my heart is here on the screen.

That 'whew' wipes out everything around me and allows me a bit of needed solitude. Yes, solitude. Whether I am clicking away at a few blogs or looking up a word on or working on my manuscript or reading another writer's wonderful WIP - It always makes me grin how when my fingers are moving across the silver keys my breathing relaxes, my mind opens and I find myself learning so much.

It can't last forever though. Other things must be done, of course, due to the fact that sometimes I have to close the lid, sleep or eat, or shop or whatever, it makes me appreciate my "whew" moments even more.

So in a few clicks I will be uploading this post but you should know that my 'whew' will last a bit longer - I have a book to write so the next hour is all about my fingers as they listen to my characters and lead them to their destiny.

Before I go, I would love to know what is your best 'whew' activity? What is it that you like to do for those few moments of chaotic solitude? Do you read a magazine, text, blog, read a book? What do you do when the day has knocked you out but you still want to DO something? Even when there are people around, what do you do?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Balancing the Internets & Manuscript Progress...

It was brought to my attention by someone wonderful & uber famous *cough*Frankie*cough* that I have been away from the Internets (Il Primo prefers the s) lately. Actually I have beenghosting the internets. You know - where you are hopping on quickly viewing your favorite sites then slipping away barely noticed. Though it would be more effective if I would quit leaving comments on blogs... but then how would I show my love for USC lessons ( ) or friends who receive famous shoutouts ( or new releases & contests ( ) or anything else that I love so much!!!!

The reason for my ghosting is actually simple. My day job has been crazy lately & I realized it is almost December! IT IS NOVEMBER 18TH!!!!!! Can you hear me as I shriek those words? My hairbrush is embedded in my hair, my eyes are bloodshot and I am sitting at a computer typing about the date! THE DATE! November is over halfway gone. It is 37 days till Christmas for crying out loud!

It hit me two days ago when someone doing NaNoRevismo posted about how quickly November is slipping by. They were right. I immersed myself into my manuscript and proudly resurfaced this morning with many words in and pleased with the progress. My biggest issue is holding off on major revisions - no, holding off on any revisions - until I am done. It is hard. Little things jump out at me, but I would rather free flow write & then work back through the roughest draft possible.It is better than getting bogged down revising seven chapters. It is dangerous for me to get stuck in revisions. I would have beautiful first chapters then an incomplete or crazy rough remaining chapters or the scariest possibility - lose all interest in the story as a whole.

So my ghostly visits were merely so I could focus on my 'right now work' but it hit me as I read an entry (the one about a certain friend and her famous shout out) that cutting myself off from the internets is more harmful. The release of just enjoying chatter with other writers, discussing 6 foot tall adverb killing armadillos, vegan cookies, and everything else we Tweet/Blog/Text about allows a fresh look when I turn back to my work. My mind is better rested & I seem to find my groove better after taking a break. I just have to remember it is a BREAK, not a reason to let my work slip away from me. So I just have to find the right balance.

I also realized that Il Primo gives me actual nightmares. He appeared in one last night. Talked about how if I don't get my manuscript complete their won't be need to think about any revisions... he scares me, but -

Il Primo will just have to get over it when I minimize my work, grab a snack and let my mouse click away for small increments throughout the day.

I mean unless he has a major issue and comes inside the house therefore wreaking havoc on my computer, husband and dog... he wouldn't would he?

He would.

Let's just keep this between you & me.

If he thinks I am on the internets, I can just tell him that Frankie & Shannon said something about his shell being too small & that he smells....

then he will just terrorize them...

yeah, that'll work... hee hee

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Kingdom's Sunday Scribbles...

Welcome to
The Kingdom's Sunday Scribbles!

I decided that since Sunday is a day I spend a great deal of time dedicated to my manuscript, I would start doing something called The Kingdom's Sunday Scribbles... Every week, I will post a quick blurb about how things are going & maybe some links to a few things I have found interesting. There are so many wonderful things out in the Blogosphere, Twitterverse, Cyberworld that it can be overwhelming! Granted there are a million things I miss just because not enough hours in the day to visit them all or to even learn they exist! So here goes...

1.) Bama won yesterday 31 -3 against Mississippi State ROLL TIDE ROLL!

2.) A wonderful virtual friend of mine, Frankie, whose blog has been quoted/linked by Publisher's Weekly! GO FRANKIE! To read her account and see how amazing she is click here: Oh & be ever so jealous as you read her account of the awesome author event she attended!

3.) Have you met Ninjadillo yet? You haven't? Well be prepared for a possible attack if you are an adverb lover like me! Head over to Shannon's Blog for his video debut!

4.) CONTESTS!!! Woohoo at the books to win:
a.)Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stone! This book sounds awesome! Via the Reading Nook! enter to win here:
b.) ARC of FALLEN by Lauren Kate via Frankie's blog:

c.) Signed copy of Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler over at Laura's Review

d.) TONS of SWAG & BOOKS over at Michelle Zink's site:

e.) Palace Beautiful by Sarah DeFord Williams :

5.) ALWAYS check RKCharron's blog - talk about keeping you up to date on book releases, contests, everything!! It is wonderful! Some great articles & tips too! (There is one she posted about Imagery & the Third Eye by Stephen King that is AWESOME)

5.) A great article/reference on the need or not need of Literary Agents on Distraction 99 blog (Nova Ren Suma author of the awesome book Dani Noir) Also just peruse her blog - she has some great honest entries about being a published author!

6.) A fun & good blog about all things Literary Management! Check out Dystel & Goderich's blog:

Progress Report: My manuscript is going well, I cringe at when it comes time for revisions, but I am pleased with my direction so far. You should know that these characters are so much fun to hear! Granted many arguments in scenes have occurred, but overall I think they like where they are going.

I also want to thank so many other bloggers/followers out there that post comments on my blog. You all are so wonderful & supportive. I love hearing from all of you & cannot wait to meet everyone new that stops by!

Okay whew! The Kingdom is full of craziness & fun this week. The sites listed are just a hand full of the ones I visit. There are tons more, but these stood out the most as I thought about this week's entry. (By all means run through my blogroll on the left to find even more fun places to visit) So go on, click on some links, enter a few contests, read up on the publishing world, follow some Tweets & stop by the Kingdom anytime!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My Right to Write: Veteran's Day

My right to write.
Funny play on words isn't it? This blog is a beautiful example of being blessed. I live in a country where we argue over healthcare, stand up for education, protest in favor of our beliefs and it is all because we are free. Sure you can argue that our government can sometimes oppress ideas or that we as a people judge each other like crazy; being human is hard to avoid in life.

No matter what my right to post my opinion, my right to wear Crimson Tide colors, my right to go or not to go to church, my right to choose my future children's school, my right to express my thoughts about fashion/art/literature/sports/entertainment, my right to love who I want, to dislike someone, my right to drive a car anywhere in this nation is my right.

Not a day goes by that somewhere in the hours I am awake or asleep is there not a symbol of freedom. The fact that I close my eyes at night and hear crickets rather than bombs reminds me of my freedom. When insomnia comes storming through the window we watch any channel on the television. In fact I can choose a channel that spouts liberal ideals or conservative views! Picture in Picture lets me see both at once (quite humorous by the way when they are on the same topic)

My husband works for Veteran's Affairs (financial sector) his main office sits within one of the hospitals. There are few weeks that go by without him mentioning a Vet that he talks to on lunch or when he is in the halls. He hears stories of families who have just left the men or women to the system. Visiting only when they have to or when the guilt becomes too much. These veterans watched friends die, held the heads of comrades on their knees and prayed to whatever God they needed to in order to find comfort. These Veterans hail from everywhere, not just the South. Some seem as normal as you and me while others are still replaying hellish nightmares from years ago. Not everyone is forgotten by their loved ones but it is difficult the number of veterans who are.

Then there are those that are my age. Twenty-eight years old and have seen darkness that makes fantasy literature look like See Spot Run. They volunteer to leave friends, family, homes, pets, secure stable jobs to crawl on their stomachs in the desert knowing that a trip wire could be hidden anywhere. They build schools, churches and businesses for countries that have the exact opposite of their own beliefs. They come home with new perspective of what the world is like. Yet the ones that I know will tell you of the fear & craziness, but then you will hear the hope. The stories of children who see that people come from a country that allows a woman to walk alone on a street, a country that lets you buy land and build something that you call your own, a country that recognizes a hero not just on a movie screen. It is then that a soldier understands why they do what they do.

Veteran's Day reminds me of why writing is important to me. It is a dream of mine, it is a passion of mine, it is a comfort, it is a way to share something I love, but most importantly it is a right that someone else paid a price for me to enjoy.

I have never been in battle,
I have never sat eating a picnic lunch while friends fought to kill on my back lawn,
I have never been on a ship that sailed with dreams of freedom from monarchy,
I have never stood on a beach ready with guns to attack an enemy,
I have never stood in line protesting a war of politics,
I have never sat in the silent desert waiting for the enemy to spring
I have seen the placards stating a capitol burned,
I have stood on a battleship that is now a museum in awe of its size & power,
I have studied paintings of soldiers defending a new land/new promise,
I have watched movies/documentaries/shows depicting epic battles,
I have read names on stone structures lost throughout time,
I have chosen what to wear each morning,
I have chosen what foods to eat,
I have bought whatever book I wanted,
I have decided what I want to do in life,
I have married who I love rather than who was chosen for me,
I have cried tears as a brother I love left for sandy deserts
I have cried tears of joy when my brother returned safely,
I have hugged friends returning from cold nights far across the ocean,
I have stood at the foot of the Lincoln Monument in awe of such greatness,
I have been to Arlington Cemetery & cried for people I never knew,
I have felt that unexpected pull of pride when I see the American flag waving,
I have sung the words to our National Anthem,
I have pledged my allegiance to the flag using all the original words,
I have read the Declaration of Independence,
I have found myself crying when I see a soldier return home to hugs in an airport,
I have learned that Freedom comes with a price and that those who pay it every day & those who died for it before this moment & will die from this moment on deserve my respect, my love, and my thanks.
I am proud to be an American.
Thank you Veteran's for all my haves & for all my have nevers because without you my life would not be possible. I do continue to love this country and everything it was built upon.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Patience: Scene changes & arguing with a character

It is Sunday everyone. We (Bama) beat LSU yesterday so my morning was blissful at wake up. Beautiful day, no clouds, nice breeze, leaves falling and November is gorgeous in the South. Perfect day, right?

Fast forward to late afternoon.

I had worked on my manuscript this morning, reading my current pages and tweaking a few scenes. Content with the progress and needing to take my husband lunch (he had to go into the office today) I decided to scoot by the mall. I do so, discover an adorable outfit within my budget, see hubbie for a moment then head back to the house quite happy with the outing.

After spending some quality time with iTunes I stop to listen to a new selection. You see this is my inherent problem and solution all balled up into one. Music is essential when I write. I love to listen to music that applies to the scenes I am working on. I tend to write visually whenever music plays. This can be wonderful and it can be confusing. A simple scene that is not meant to turn heated between characters might if the sound system is carrying the right/wrong tune. Thus leading to magic or deletion.

So here I am just listening to some music that reminds me of a scene I worked on this morning and then it happens. My character's voice rises above the song. It seems she thinks that scene just did not feel right, aggravating as it is, I think it over. At first I quickly dismiss the thought and find myself arguing with her in my head. Then I discover that it might need to be considered. She is right. Yep. I open the file, turn the song down a little to more background audio and find myself three hours later having completely rewritten the scene and having to piece a few chronological changes together.

I cursed, grumbled and typed. It is amazing how allowing the idea of a new layout affects the scene. Humor found its way into a tight situation and does so without being campy. I can almost feel the smugness of the character.

My style of writing is one that tries my patience but seems to teach me every time I let the story flow. There are many occasions where I resist the impulse to change something just because I am stubborn or because I feel I know better than the character. More often than not the end result is much better when I just relax, trust my characters and let my fingers walk.

So again, patience is a virtue. Don't we all know that one? I just wonder if the author of that line ever thought about patience being applied when an imaginary person you created is arguing with you...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

WHO WON? WHO WON??? Drumroll please....

Okay it is 10 minutes after Midnight on Friday, November 6, 2009. The air is crisp and cool in the southern town of Cottondale. I am sitting in my living room with my husband who is going to pull the entry from his BAMA hat. Seriously.

I was going to do random generator after assigning a number to each entrant, but then I decided o'l school selection would be more fun!
So after writing, snipping and folding your entries the sexy, blonde, hilariously funny, southern gentleman who married me is going to draw a name...

Here we are, the drumroll has begun, we need a name...

Fumbling with the paper...

Unfolding the many folds....

Looking at the name...

Oh good for you! Glad you are my first winner. Oh wait, did I not say who won, well, heavens to betsy! How silly of me!


You chose IMPOSSIBLE by Nancy Werlin!
email me your info at

I want to thank everyone for entering my very first contest!! Please note that I will be hosting another contest starting the end of next week that will be open to US & Canada...
I still have some doubles of certain books & who should get them.... hmmmmmmmmmmm... you will have to find out!! ;o)

Friday, November 6, 2009

RKCharron is giving away UNDER THE DOME by Stephen King

Just popping in to mention another great book event! RKCharron is giving away a copy of: UNDER THE DOME by Stephen King on the blogosphere! It is the first of hopefully even more fun & successful giveaways! Ahh the spirit of 1st contests this week has been wonderful!

@RKCharron My 1st Giveaway: UNDER THE DOME by Stephen King

So click on the link & enter to win!!! Hey even if you don't enter, wander around the blog - it is such a fun site to stop by! Add it to your blog roll, follow on twitter @RKCharron!

Just have fun & good luck...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Here There Be Dragons - Read online!

Just popping in to tell you about something really cool....

Read: HERE THERE BE DRAGONS by James Owen COMPLETELY ONLINE FREE!!!! Yep, you heard me! It is only for a limited time though!

Until Monday, November 9 you can read the complete book online! I LOVE this series. I had the pleasure of meeting James Owen back in April & I can tell you he is not only an amazing author but a genuinely nice person.

So go ahead, read a book, get interested in the series because the newest book in the series (Shadow Dragons) was just released & you have some catching up to do! ;o)

Click on the link to be taken to your online reading experience:

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Okay since NaNoWrimo began today I figure regular blog entries will be few & far between.
Well in the spirit of writing I wanted to have my first contest! *the crowd goes wild*
So if you would like to win here are you entry possibilities:
+1 comment on this blog
+1 Follow my blog
+2 TWEET about the contest (be sure to leave me a link or Twitter username)
+3 Blog about the contest! (be sure to leave a link to your blog)
So those are the rules... what do you win, you ask? Well, I am taking a cue from Shannon over at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe ( )
Option#1: impossible by Nancy Werlin
Description: A young girl discovers that her bloodline is part of a curse that dates back centuries and worlds... she must complete the tasks so that true love can save her....
Okay this book is wonderful, weird, exciting, sad, heart wrenching and even funny. I read it in five hours sitting in a hotel room on a business trip. It is a National Book Award Finalist and for good reason.
Option #2: Dreaming Anastasia by Joy Preble
Description: Who doesn't know of the Romanovs? Czar family gunned down. The world believed one child escaped: the elusive mystery of Anastasia. Joy takes you on a magical ride as you explore a new explanation for the Romanov mystery. It is fantasy at its best & definitely explores the power of dreams! It is told in multiple POV and allows the reader to get to know various characters during their journeys. It might even make you google the story just to remind you of the history!
Be sure to leave which one you want when you comment! (open to US residents only - sorry :o( )
GOOD LUCK! *winner will be chosen at random on November 6*