Courtney S. Barr

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

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wednesday's Written Word: Beloved + Love Letter Blogfest...

My Wednesday's Written Word has been taken over by loving thoughts for the literary characters who stole my heart years ago... Frankie came up with this idea in order to honor our literary loves the day ECLIPSE premiered. It is for some to showcase Jacob & Edward and for others to give light on their favorite literary loves.

The word for today is Beloved and it is for more than one man! *GASP* yes, I am in the love triangle (really a square) so commonly found within the pages of our books, so common that it is rare to ever select a book that does not have the now expected 3 hearts where one is meant to be broken no matter the odds or actions of the others...

Yet here in my Kingdom my heart is safe, my love intact and my dreams filled with thoughts of not two but three men (I mean my husband isn't fiction but come on my heart beats for the real life humorous character who fills my days as well as the ones who fill my dreams)...
My Dearest Professor Bhaer,

It is over tea, as we both dislike coffee, that I revel in your sweet demeanor and unique wit. Try as I might to avoid running into you on my daily walks, it appears that fate has still managed to direct my hands.

You at once recognized my inky fingers for the writer I have hidden. Your kindness knows no bounds and your patience unlike any other.

It is in your sweet smile that I blush and lose all train of thought. You care not that I forget my umbrella in the rain, or run sometimes through the fields forgetting my stature. Your counseling when I need help is something I treasure.

I will never let your love for learning, your excitement for teaching those children who would not have the opportunity and your ability to make me forget everything around me when I feel your hand in mine be taken for granted.

Thank you my beloved Fritz.

Your dearest Courtney

Professor Friedrich "Fritz" Bhaer - Little Women 1868; Jo's Boys 1886; Little Men 1871 by Louisa May Alcott ( I read Little Women every summer, it has been that way since I was nine. It remains one of my favorite stories and Louisa is one of my favorite classic authors.)

Dear Colin,

At first I was unsure as to why your presence unnerved me. Your dashing good looks and loner demeanor made me suspicious. My own haven had become habit and the fear of the unknown tried to hold me back. But it was the kind heart that you tried so hard to conceal that when discovered stole my own.

You gave me a new outlook, a realization that love can see past the physical qualities that we think mar us to relationships. Instead you embraced me. The me from the inside, the soul, the spirit that yearned to be understood and wanted desperately to be seen as stronger than even I thought I could be. You saw that. You saw me and I am forever grateful.

It is your love that steered me beyond certain prejudice and opened a young mind to the idea that anything is possible, mysteries can be solved and love can remain through the test of time. Our journey through myth, legend, trust, fidelity, past lives and reincarnation planted the steps needed for my current imagination to continue creating stories.

Thank you Colin. I will love you always...


Colin McCallum- The Court of Three Sisters by Marianne Willman 1994 (This, like Little Women, is a book that my young hands read over and over and over again. The spine is worn down almost to nothing, the pages crinkled, it was a book more than likely considered a bit too old for my young mind but my heart understood every page. I still read it now at least once a year. It holds the adventure, the romance, the paranormal, the unbelievable story line that has since inspired many of my own works.)

So please visit the other Love Letters and discover new dashingly delicious hunks/ladies to haunt your dreams...

Have A Wishful Wednesday!
For other blogfest entries and other Wednesday's Written Word entries please visit my Original Works page.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Monday Memos.... Experience

"If you will call your troubles experiences and remember that every experience develops some latent force within you, you will grow vigorous and happy, however adverse your circumstances may seem to be..."
-John Heywood

Experience - the conscious events that make up an individual life; something personally encountered, undergone, or lived through (definition - courtesy of

Experience is a word that crops up everywhere in life.
To get the good job they want experience.
To understand the value of friendship it takes an experience shared.
To write a great story they say write from experience.
To truly know sorrow we experience loss.
To truly know happiness we experience love.

Which experience? Which set of events do we catalogue as experience?... All of them.

Life is a collection of obstacles, of dreams, of needs, of wants, of desires all culminating into one experience. How could we call life anything but wonderful? It is the journey & the result. It is both beginning and end.

Experience should never be looked at negatively. It should always be positive.

The traffic jam is a time to think about the day's agenda or to reflect on the shared moments from the night before.

The years spent in an office, toiling away at charts and reports should be seen as character building and a lesson in how not to or how to treat those around us.

The days spent washing clothes, cleaning house, aiding with homework, laughing out loud, shedding tears and wiping noses should be acknowledged as an empowering experience- as touching the life of your family & being touched by their love in return.

These are all experiences that crop up in books. We reach for the shelves searching for someone who has written about experiences we relate to or those that we only dream about. Every page offers one more bullet on our life resume. Though we are reading and vicariously living through a character we are experiencing the emotions all the same.

So keep collecting things to list. Even when it seems that the experience is one that does not make you smile immediately. Remember that those experiences are the ones where we learn so much about ourselves...they are the cherished ones that show our inherent characteristics...
Experience the blogosphere...

Raquel has a great list of upcoming Blogfests! Check it out!

Congrats are in order for Carrie Harris! Her Book Bad Taste in Boys has a release date! Yep! Scoot over and don't run scared from the Richard Simmons photos!

MaryBeth poses the ultimate question: Why don't they have Summer Reading Program for Adults?

Sara is giving away

Win the Truth Teller's Tale by Sharon Shinn over on Jennifer's site! She has 500 followers - CONGRATS JENNIFER!!

Have a Magnificent Monday!

*Yes I was MIA all last week...I plan to do a post about that tomorrow - crazy experiences in my household lately but I am truly cherishing these... ;o)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Monday Memos!

Family...a group experience of love and support.
-Marianne Williamson
There are books, there are movies, there are poems, there are songs that tell us what a family is. None of them the same, none of them wrong - all of them can be right.

When I sit down to work on a project, family is something that inadvertently creeps in. I don't always recognize the familial relationships at first but then as the characters develop they become more apparent. They sneak into the friendship between a hero and a victim. They wrap around the one destined to save them all and they surprise the one who lost his/her faith in humanity. I see it between characters who society would say are too young to grasp the meaning and between older characters who had all but given up on connecting with someone else. The feeling of family is something that I cannot help but pepper into my work.

I am blessed to have two loving parents who support every avenue I want to take. My love of reading, writing and art is because they always let me know they would be beside me no matter my direction. They told me when something I created was good, when it was okay and when it was something they did not connect with. It was never bad because they taught me that so long as I am creating, putting my heart into my work then the end result is something to be proud of. It may still be something that needs work, could be improved or might be shelved; but it was worth it because I loved it at that time.

Family does that. We help each other, we call the bluffs - yet we are there when the wall crumbles down, we stand our ground, we give, we take, we endure the times when the page is blank and we feel alone but we know we are not.

My Royal Court on the right hand sidebar are people I go to when I need advice, when I need help, or when I just need to smile. There are people who are not listed over there that visit my site and provide the same support.
Each one is a member of my family:
I have a Wolfpack Leader who makes me grin every time I see her, especially if the Tiger got in the bathroom again...
A girl who feels that "shame" comes in the form of Vlogging or in a story about a gameshow...(we will find that video one day!).
A picture book author who has a knack for finding the perfect quote every day and seems to keep a permanent smile on her face while constantly dreaming of books.
A man who can spout Frost, Hemingway or Woolf - knows classical music like the back of his hand - enjoys great Vodka, writes stirring flash fiction and has a heart of gold when referencing his own immediate family.
There are bloggers who share my love of Disney, who know why Crimson & White are my favorite fall colors, who are Royalty as well, who can teach me line editing, who help with my POV. So many people who I consider family. Who I mourn with when they lose someone, who I laugh with when sharing a joke, who I cry with when they need me, who I offer support when I can.

You all make my writing better. You all make me better.
Thank you for being such a great family and for providing a Southern girl a taste of the world through the keys on a keyboard and the wonderful idea that one day, one day, I may get to meet you all. What a reunion we would have...
Some family updates...

Let Talli know what you think of Something Old...Something New... it looks great to me!

WhatWord Trick do you like? Don't know well go see Shannon O' for her take...

I think Shannon M. is trying to have as many contests as possible...and I love her for it! Go enter to win Lisa Mantchev goodies!

Simon reflects on the mind of a teenager experiencing the power of Frost and his current state of mind when re-reading a classic....check it out - it will move you, I promise.

Karen tells you togive up on her...but I won't and I know you won't either ;o)

Natalie asks: Book reviews? Love them or hate them...

Please note that on my left sidebar are my blogrolls... There are a ton of blogs worth checking out so if you get a moment, scroll through, add one to the list above and introduce yourself to my family. I promise we won't bite... unless of course you wander over to one of the horror writers...can't promise anything there!

Have a Marvelous Monday!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

My Hero...

A father is always making his baby into a little woman.
And when she is a woman he turns her back again...
-Enid Bagnold

He is my hero.
He is my friend.
He is my father.
I thank God for him every day.
Happy Father's Day!

Besides doesn't he have the best smile?

Love you dad...

Friday, June 18, 2010

Breaking the Rules Blogfest!

The wonderful Elizabeth Mueller is hosting a blogfest focused on the rules...well actually focused on breaking the rules...
Yep this is no ordinary blogfest. She has asked us to post something from before we understood certain rules to fiction (course I still like to break a few, like, completely, absolutely break some.. love me some adverbs; seriously ;o) ) Please enjoy a snippet from a story I wrote in the 5th grade (1992)...yep... went into the basement and selected a few journals to peruse. I used to love to buy blank journals and write my own 'novels' in friends & family thought it was so cool. In a way this post is in honor of their support. I would not be blogging today or working towards publication if it weren't for all the rule breaking writing I used to do.
So visit the other bloggers participating here and go find some writing of your own before you became aware of punctuation, adverbs and structure - you may even discover a character or two that you still love!
A breeze lightly touched Anastasia's skin as she walked through the courtyard. Her morning ride on her favorite horse, Whispers, was what she looked forward to every day. She hastened her steps and soon reached the stables.
Quietly she clucked her tongue and to her delight a soft whinny called from one of the stalls. Whispers always answered her with a soft, loving whinny then eagerly would nudge her pockets for a piece of apple or sugar.

"Oh, you've gotten smart. Now you know exactly where your treats are." Anastasia said teasingly.

Quickly she lead Whispers out of her stall, warmed her up with a short walk then adjusted the tack.

By quickly mounting, she eased into the saddle. The two began a brisk walk, then began a full gallop towards the woods. As she neared the trail, Anastasia noticed a small blue scarf-like object on one of the branches of a nearby oak tree. She picked it up, thinking perhaps she would find the owner.

The familiar trail wound around an area of land that opened to a large meadow that was beside a brisk, flowing stream. Whispers knew the trail by heart, so Anastasia slowly slackened the reins and let her go.

Soon the two were at the stream. Beautiful daisies, buttercups, and any other such wildflowers grew bountiful in the meadow along the stream. This was the one place Anastasia relaxed at.

Bringing Whispers to a halt, Anastasia dismounted and slipped out of her boots. Tying Whispers to a nearby tree so she could obtain water freely.

Suddenly the sound of hooves pounding the ground was heard. Curious, Anastasia began to look and see who it was. Worry began to seep into her body. The land she was on was private property. Owned solely by her father, a well-known nobleman.

Fearing that some hunters might have gotten on the land she quickly untied Whispers and led her to a busy area where the two could be concealed. Another frightening thought struck Anastasia, thieves sometimes used thick forests to hide out.

The pounding of the hooves got louder as the horses got closer and closer. Now Anastasia was positive of the fact that there were many horses headed her way.

Anastasia's heart was pounding like a drum against her chest, as the first equestrian appeared before her.

A man of around mid-thirties with red hair and beard, rough looking as of a seaman from the wharfs. Another equestrian of early forties, with a deep brown complexion, short and stocky. The two dismounted beside the stream and before the two conversed, they drank from the stream.

Eager to learn what the two were doing, Anastasia crept quietly towards them.

"Well, Jameson, looks as though we came in undetected," said the red haired man.

"Sure did Curland. Maybe the old guy who owns this land doesn't visit here often." replied Jameson.

"I've heard he's exceedingly wealthy. A nobleman, he is. Oh well, I'm sure the lout will allow us to rest." Curland informed Jameson.

"By the way Curland where are the others?" Jameson asked in an impatient tone."They've got the loot. If they backed out, I'll have their heads!"

"They didn't back out. They know they won't get paid without us." Curland said laughing.

The two stopped talking to get another drink of water. As they were finishing four young men on horseback appeared.

"Well, well, hello!" one young man of his early twenties said to Jameson and Curland.

Anastasia was struck by his good looks. Tall, gallant, muscular, not the type to be a common thief at all! At least not to Anastasia's knowledge. They were always rough, unattractive and burly, like Curland.

"Why, Brontein, didn't know you'd joined our brigade." Curland said sarcastically.

"Well, I just thought joining your little venture might create an interesting time."

"We best be going anyway you two, we'll return tomorrow." Jameson said to Curland and Brontein as he remounted.

Curland, Jameson, and Brontein rode away from the stream.

Anastasia crept quietly out of hiding. Now being able to breathe normally she led Whispers out of the bushes. She kissed her on the nose and said thank you. It amazed her that the horse had remained quiet.

She decided to walk Whispers a little ways on the way home. But she then decided against it. She was too curious as to where the thieves came from. The one called Brontein was still fresh in her memory. His lips, the way his deep blue eyes danced, his muscles. The blue tantalizing eyes played over and over in her mind.

"Augh! I don't even know him! He's a thief!" she reasoned with herself."Just forget him."

She walked towards the area Brontein had gone, a nagging instinct told her to leave. But womanly curiosity urged her forward.

Right then a twig cracked behind her.

Before she could blink the young Brontein was in front of her.
Yep. Forgive my young love of big words and handsome men. lol I hope you enjoyed this - I got a good chuckle typing it exactly as I wrote it. The urge to correct, erase, and burn was deep. My love for my 11 year old self is too great, so it is EXACTLY copied from the book. What I do think is interesting is that even now there are some descriptive aspects that I still love to do when writing, even when the rule is against it. Dang my stubborn streak - I need to work on that.

This is just a small portion of the journals I still have - goodness knows how many total there are. This snippet is from the tan DaVinci covered one-far right.
Don't forget to visit the other bloggers participating here
Have a Fabulous Friday!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Wednesday's Written Word (on a Thursday): Xeric

Back to the routine, he looks at me...
I nod, gesture to the bowl...
The slips are few, only 1o lay waiting...
He unfolds one, grins....


I will kill him later...

Hard, red earth crackled below my feet. Beads of sweat dripped down my forehead, lingering only at my chin before splashing against my chest.

Why in God's name would anyone live here? Too damn hot!

My foot connected with a small rock on the ground and I watched it tumble beneath the prickles of a cactus plant. Splotches of red dirt covered my new white flats.

Six hours I had been walking around.
Six hours staring at shades of orange, red, and green.
Six hours - one big circle.

Of course the car breaks down in no-where-Arizona. Why on earth would I expect it to break down in sunny LA? Oh no! God's sense of humor is definitely at work today.

The lone bottle of water in my pack had been gone for four hours. The lilac and honey scented makeup remover cloths (not so tasty by the way) had dried out an hour ago and the concept that cacti are easy to extract water from had died fifty six seconds before being pricked.

I love that my GPS system - "Guaranteed to work anywhere - we have the strongest signal!" yeah right salesman - lost signal the minute I took that last turn. Serves me right, this trip was a stupid idea anyway.

My father wanted me to finish school at Brown. I wanted to see the world.

Well so far the world has made you bleed, sweat in places you failed to know you had sweat glands and jam a toe while kicking the tires on a lovely Land Rover. Outback vehicle! PSH! More like out of gas, out of service and out of its mind vehicle!

Thank goodness the sun was going down.

I had not realized that exploring the Arizona desert was going to be like leaving the country. There had been road maps, hiking trail guides - not that I would ever hike purposely - and Discover the Wild West! booklets at every convenience store. It would have been more convenient had they said: "Stay away - you will get lost city girl - the desert is really one giant dust bowl - go shopping instead."

For six hours I had walked around. Well for three hours I truly had walked a circle, then I realized that I needed to walk away from the car to find help. Yeah took three hours to nail down that I really needed help - go figure.

Father would laugh at this. He would tell me I was ridiculous and that in an hour he could have a helicopter scoop me up to bring me home. Only this time I wasn't going to call for help - as if the cell phone had not been dead already this morning.

I really thought I plugged it in last night.

I can only imagine my father's face when he gets the call that I missed my morning classes. The last time he had taken away the credit cards. Too bad I've known those numbers since I was nine. He was furious when he discovered that I had charged a month's stay in Paris - but never went. I hope that couple had a great time. They were so in love and such nice neighbors.

What were their names? Hmmm... oh well it doesn't matter.

This time I had cashed in some bonds and empty the account he kept for me. Now the money was hidden beneath the backseat of the car - just waiting for me to spend it all. He had always said that money was the answer to any problem in life. That it can write the book or erase the words.

Well, daddy too bad it could not erase six wives, two jealous step-brothers and the fact that your only biological daughter rebels at every rule you set. Money hasn't fixed that yet, has it?

Perhaps it would be different if I would not have realized that my own father values me less than his own income. Sending me to a boarding school because wife number five felt that living with a teenage girl would make her age faster!

My laughter echoed among the barren land in front of me; the only sound to accompany the jingle of my car keys against my leg. Oh she had not aged faster but she'd divorced quickly when she caught him with a woman half her own age!

The Gucci sunglasses hanging from my now stretched tank top slid to the ground. I bent down to pick them up and saw a beer bottle in the dirt. That's odd. It is the first piece of trash I have encountered. Straightening I began to survey the area I had been walking. The sun was setting and a light darkness had begun to descend on the dry ground.

Thoughts of my father had distracted me from my surroundings. The cacti, the sporatic long grass, the xeric flora was still around me but it appeared to also show signs of human activity.

Focusing I began to listen for signs of a highway. Instead I heard a coyote howl and what appeared to be music; faint and in the distance.

MUSIC! Yes! Okay where is it coming from?

Quickly I stepped to my left and followed the sounds. As the music grew louder so did laughter. At first I paused to make sure I was not laughing.

Desert sun really does make you crazy!

Stepping around the various cacti I started moving faster. The ground was hard in spots and slippery in others; the sandy earth was killing my calves with every step. The terrain shifted and I found myself climbing a crimson hill, dodging rock and weed with each foot closer to the sounds. Finally reaching the peak I froze.

Below me, only two hundred yards was a ranch style building. Lights surrounded a large pool, music drifted from a stone patio. I could see people mingling and hear their laughter. To the south of the building I saw more smaller buildings, each built in the same Mission style. I could not see a road but I did see an area designated for cars.

A few young woman carried trays amongst the group laden with glasses and what I assumed was food.

What on earth? Wait - is that margaritas? OH THANK YOU GOD!

Stumbling forward I began to head towards the crowd.

I passed underneath a light fixture and an alarm began to blare. The sound startled me and I tumbled forward the last few feet, landing beside a wall. My back slammed against the dirt and I hollered out.

"Over there! I just heard something!"

The music stopped playing and the alarm was turned off. I could hear footsteps as I began to get back to my feet.

Just as I straightened up a bright light was shone in my eyes.

"Hold still! Who are you?"

Raising my arms I closed my eyes to the bright light.

"Lucidia Grayson Calhoun - from Manhattan. My car broke down, like so far away from here and I have been trying to find someone. Please, dude, drop the light - its killing me."

The light maniac chuckled and lowered his flashlight. I assumed I must look harmless - but also like a tumbleweed.

"Welcome to Heaven' Agua Seca, Lucidia from Manhattan. I apologize for the alarm, we set them at night so that our guests feel safer. "

I caught the word heaven and again wondered whether or not the sun from today had gone to my head.

A warm hand grasped mine and I looked at deep brown eyes peeking beneath dark black hair. He was built like a swimmer and boy did I want to see him in a swimsuit.

"I am Cosa. Owner and manager of the spa. Welcome. Let's get you inside and we can help you contact someone for your car. 'K?"

Holy crap he's cute.

"Um, did you say spa?"

His grin grew and I watched as he assessed my dirt laden clothes. He paused at the Gucci sunglasses and the emerald ring on my right hand. He was no idiot.

"Yes, we are happy to offer you accommodations if you like?"

He led me to the front of the building, passing people all along the way. Everyone looked concerned until the music started again and the party continued. Two guys at the bar looked me up and down as I passed then grinned as they downed two shots.

"Sir, what are your rates?"

"Ma'am, for a standard room nine hundred per night. For a suite, two thousand - it does include all our services when you stay in a suite."
"Two suites, please, adjoining. I like my space. Oh and give me double the services - I've had a long day."

"Do you have a credit card you would like to use?"

The giggle bubbled out and I began to recite the numbers to my favorite American Express card.

Oh daddy! So sorry you could not come on this vacation either....
(Feel Free to visit past entries via the Original Works page at the top of the blog or the right sidebar menu - How WWW works: these are written on the spot with a time limit of 45 minutes - no word limit. Each word is drawn from a bowl where the 26 letters of the alphabet are represented by words selected by my husband. I have no idea what words are in the bowl nor which ones will be pulled out each week. I use this as a great 'interruption' from my current work in progress to keep my creative juices flowing & to not get bogged down with current major projects)
Have a Toe Tapping Thursday...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Update on this week's Wednesday's Written Word! + Contest Winners!

Good Afternoon!

Wednesday's Written Word will return this week - it will just be posted tomorrow on Thursday. I have a close friend who was admitted to the hospital and we went to visit him last night so I was unable to type one up for today.


Look out for it tomorrow! But I DO have an announcement today.....

Last Friday I hosted an interview with the lovely Vivian Marie Aubin du Paris! If you missed it, click HERE Well it wasn't JUST an interview, you know me...I had to give something away...

So, I know you all want to know if you won the books...the ring...the giftcard...yep...all that awesomeness...

Okay - I decided to do 5 Winners with the prizes:

Winner of the THE EROE & the OPAL Ring:

Carolina Valdez Miller!!!

Winners of THE EROE only:

Janet Johnson!
Liz @ Cleverly Inked!
Shannon O'Donnell!

Winner of the $10 Giftcard:


Please email me with your details within 48 hours or I will be forced to draw another name - don't make me do that.... ;o)


Monday, June 14, 2010

Monday Memos!

Their story, yours and mine - its what we all carry with us on this trip we take, and we owe it to each other to respect our stories and learn from them.

Often we find ourselves surrounded by strangers: on a subway, in an airport, on a street, at a bar, in a restaurant, at a concert, shopping. No matter the setting we are all a part of the story. We do not always recognize the character we are playing at the time or the directions we may need to take, but they are there nonetheless.

We step into our role every day. We carefully select the wardrobe and we enter the staging area. It is when we are acknowledged, not by our own normal cast of characters, but by someone else that we may recognize our importance in that moment.

I was blessed to meet a number of country music artists this past weekend. I was amazed at their kindness and excitement to meet their fans. A few in particular did some extraordinary things for the people who buy their albums, travel to their shows and tell others about their favorite songs. One in particular hosted a free event, where she signed for 13 hours straight, allowed people on her tour bus, brought her entire concert wardrobe for viewing and had stages set up so people could "be" in her videos for just a moment. She also gave a free acoustic performance, a free CD that you could get signed by her & her entire band, or a headshot signed by the same. She also did all this in the air conditioning - God bless her ;o).

As I stood waiting to meet this young, beautiful woman who has inspired so many young girls to write and sing I began to talk to those around me. I live in Alabama, a mere 3 hours from Nashville. I drove a comfortable drive to get there and expected a simple drive back.

The girls in front of me had driven from Minnesota...overnight..just for this signing.

They did not have tickets to the other concerts, they did not have a hotel room. They had a cowboy hat and a picture from one of the singer's concerts that they wanted signed. One of them had just begun sharing her own songwriting talent and has even received some interest from a label in Chicago that partners with a Nashville label. She was beyond ecstatic and was waiting for more information that her parents would be looking at if it came. She was glowing as she waited patiently to meet the young woman who had given her the push she needed just by singing her own songs... I was touched and excited for this stranger. As we got closer the girls realized that they had forgotten one important thing: their camera. Frantically they rummaged through their purse and backpacks. No luck. Well, I asked if they had cellphones - one. Camera is okay on it, older model but even at close range it is a blurry shot. I thought they were going to cry. Meeting your idol is amazing, but capturing it in a photo to look back on whenever you are down - phenomenal.

Samsung has made a wonderful camera on my phone. I told the girls not to worry, I would take a few pics and email it to their accounts immediately.

The songwriter almost burst into tears as she hugged my neck. I laughed and hugged her back saying no need for thanks, it was a pleasure. We talked for the next thirty minutes until their time to meet & greet arrived. They were shaking. They hugged her and then they just began rambling. Telling her how much they appreciate having someone to look up to who is close to their age, someone who worked hard to achieve her dreams and that they appreciated this event. The singer was all smiles and spent a good ten minutes talking with the girls, giving some tips and advice, then turned for pictures. I took some with my phone then watched the girls step to the side for me to have my own turn.

When I approached the singer I smiled. Not just because it was neat to meet one that I enjoy hearing but because she had made an impact on me as well. At that very moment I realized that her art had done what we writers hope to do. She touched someone's soul and made them work harder, dream bigger and aspire to share their passion with those around them.

I hugged her, talked music, then a little football then I thanked her. At first she just said a traditional you are welcome (I am sure she thought just for the autograph). But I paused and said "No. really...thank you. For making those two girls remember that dreams are possible and that doing what you love is worth every long hour, every crazy day and every minute you have to stand in 5 inch heels" She laughed, loud and hard then gave me another hug and I had the shock of seeing her eyes glisten.

I stepped off the carpeted area and emailed the girls their photos as they bounced beside me. They hugged me for an extended period of time then I told them I had to leave. They pouted (seriously) and then continued to thank me. I stopped them around the hundredth and told them they had given me more than they knew; that I was blessed to have met them.

That is what we want in this world. To be able to create/do what we love. To share it with others who will honor it, respect it and love it as we do. We hope to touch someone, to make them realize that dreams are not mere flickers of images lost to the night; that they are living, breathing things that we can experience.

I will continue to listen to that artist. To marvel at her songwriting ability.
I will remember the laughter of two young girls and the way they lit up in the presence of their idol.
I will think of a hot June morning, surrounded by strangers in a strange location where I was allowed to play the part of girl number 3.

You know the character; she's the one who gets to play a small part in helping the stranger experience a magical moment. She thinks it is a small part, that it is not that important until the part is over. Then she realizes that yes she helped them but it is really their story that reminded her that dreams are worth chasing and that those around us can be as inspiring as the singer on the stage...
Oh and just for today's funny: my laptop battery has chosen to no longer be a battery. It is now a space filler with attitude. So in tribute to the wonderful aggravation that came right before it decided to change careers:

Around the Blogosphere on a HAWT! Monday!

Lola over at Sharp Pen/Dull Sword uses a word I love... MAYBE..I have a lot of maybes in my about you? Go look at her list..see if you share in her thoughts...

ooooohhhh do your characters share the same Moral issues? Roni's guest blogger talks characters and morals...

Megan Rebekah talks of the 4 Sentence Synopsis!

Oh & check out Shannon's Blog for details of an amazing pay it forward event...crazy fun & read it carefully - you must mark your calendars & well let's just say it will be AMAZING!!!!!

Don't forget to enter my AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT CONTEST! You could win a book, a book+an opal ring...or a $10 giftcard to AMAZON.COM!! Hurry go and enter!!! 3 Winners or maybe more... *wink*


Friday, June 11, 2010



Welcome to another round of Author Spotlight + Contest!!

Today I welcome a wonderful author and friend. Her first book captured my attention, led me through magical lands, made me laugh, cry and grip the last page. I read it in an afternoon and was blown away. I could not breathe when I closed it I had to know more! (Trust me this is how I felt that day) Then I HAD to email her to ask if there would be more (silly author letting me know her email….). lol.

I was blessed to not only get a response but begin a friendship that I hold very close to my heart. She is not only an author of great stories but a kind soul that truly loves the written word and puts her soul into her books. Who doesn’t love an author that has this on her bio: Because sometimes it’s nice to hold “Happily Ever After” in your your hands. *Sigh*

Please welcome Vivian Marie Aubin du Paris.

Oh my goodness, the pleasure is really, honestly all mine, Your Highness! Thank you for inviting me to visit! Um… Is there tea? I’d like some tea.

BOOK 1: The Quest of Dai: The Eroe

She wakes in a mysterious new world...

And discovers her destiny...

The only way to get home is to make a choice...

The Eroe...

Or the Malo...

BOOK 2: The Quest of Dai: The Malo (Cover is currently in design)

Secrets are revealed. Truths emerge. Betrayal is everywhere.

History is determined to repeat itself.

Dai Gold is haunted by visions of a boy she cannot remember.

Flashes at first... Light brown hair. Blue-green eyes. Images of a boy she had forgotten when she was rescued.

And then items begin to mysteriously appear. A map of the world she is destined to save. A list of past and present Eroe and Malo. A mirror that allows her to see the boy who haunts her memories.

Dai trusts her new friends who saved her from the Eroe's torture. But why does it feel like there are so many secrets veiled under their tenderness? Is Darius truly the one she's meant to be with?

As Dai continues trying to sort out the truth from the lies, the one person she never expects to betray her will...

Vivian has graciously agreed to be interrogated by the Princess. Don’t worry she knows the dangers, off with her head and whatnot, she comes bravely before the Royal Court. *grinsmischievously*

We welcome you Vivian!

Thank you for having me! Is the court jester here? I’ve always wanted to see a court jester…

Um yes, we have one, his name is Peanut Butter Barr and he’s soft & furry ;o)

Okay down to the nitty gritty…er…sweet questions of love…;o)

I’m going to be sweeping the chimney soon, aren’t I? Well, it worked for Cinderella… Okay, let’s do it!

Vivian is there any writing rituals that you display when you sit down to write? Most people here know about my tilted tiara, green tea, my servant husband and fetish for watermelon jolly ranchers…ahem…

Hmm… Writing rituals… Well… I must be wearing something comfortable! I must be in pajamas. I don’t think I’ve ever written anything good while wearing jeans or something uncomfortable. In fact, there were a few short stories I wrote where I can tell that I was uncomfortable. Is that weird? That’s probably weird, isn’t it? And I like to have my hair tied back. I don’t like it on my neck. And I must have a Coke with me. Oh! I know one. My music. I absolutely have to have the perfect playlist created before I start any story. If I’m not listening to the right “mood music” then I can’t create the right scene. I mean, how can you write a good love scene if you’re listening to metal music, right? …I think that’s a lot. I might be a little neurotic…

You began writing The Eroe when you were eighteen, many times a writer abandons manuscripts because they feel the characters have lost their punch or the author has lost its love of the story. Did you ever sit it down, not touch it only to come back and fall in love with it all over again? Or was it a steady process?

Wow… What a great question! I actually wrote The Eroe pretty quickly. I just finished it and set it aside. Then years later I was going back through my hard drive, found the story, and was like, “Ohh… I miss Dai.” So I started cleaning it up. Then I set it aside again. That process repeated until I turned twenty-four, when I finally published it. I will say I never lost my love of the story or my characters. I published the book because I wanted people to get to meet the characters I love and cherish so much. Dai, Westly, Galen, and Spencer all became friends to me, and I want other people to have a chance to know them. I know that’s weird, but it’s really the truth. They’re good people—they deserve to have their story told and be cared about.

I loved The Eroe not only for your characters & plot, but for your ability to create a beautiful setting. The details are wonderful! Were you inspired by any particular location?

Thank you! Actually… it all came from my imagination! I’m not a big outdoors person, so it was really difficult for me to write the forest scenes! Maybe it comes from being from Washington—it’s all pretty much forest out here. ;) And the castle and cities were a mixture of movies, pictures from books, television shows, and imagination. In retrospect, I wish I had used something as a basis—might have made it a lot easier!

This is a trilogy and I so cannot wait for the next one too,so often we are not sure where to end or continue a series; what made you decide to make it into multiple books?

I grew up reading L.J. Smith’s books. (If you haven’t read her books, you should. Everything by her is amazing.) She wrote everything in trilogies except her Night World series. And my style of writing was completely inspired by her. It’s because of her books that I’m a writer, actually. So when I set out to write this story, it felt natural to write a trilogy. I’ve since written stories that are not trilogies, but at the time it just seemed like the natural flow of a story—to break it out into three parts. Plus, this story is set up perfect for a trilogy. The Eroe, the Malo, and then the final destiny. With two warring factions, there are always two sides to each story, and in order to really capture that and do it justice, I needed to have space to tell each side—and I couldn’t do that in just one book and still tell Dai’s story.

Dai, the main character, is thrust into circumstances that would be confusing, terrifying, exciting and heart wrenching yet she stays true to the girl we meet on the first pages. Did you draw from yourself when creating her character?

Not even a little bit. Dai is almost nothing like me! Which is sad, because when I designed Dai, I set out to create a character that could be a friend to me when I needed one… I don’t know what that says about me! I actually based Dai off of a friend of mine in high school. She was just the sweetest, kindest, most friendly girl in the world. I loved her to death. Dai’s looks are actually based off of her, too—the light brown hair, blue eyes, tan skin. This friend of mine in high school, no matter what she went through, was always a true friend. I always thought there should be more people like her. I’m more abrupt than Dai, I think…

Your books are self published. Can you give us a quick walk through of the process and timeline?

Absolutely! I published with Outskirts Press, Inc., and they were (and are being, as I work on The Malo) amazing. If you’re considering self-publishing, I recommend them. You contact them, and they assign you an author representative to work with you through the process. They stay on top of you (which is good, because I’m lazy and a horrible procrastinator) and really do everything for you. I uploaded my book to their site, they reviewed my manuscript, and now I just need to sign up for my package and get rolling. You get to pick a cover or design your own, pick the size you want your book to be, what you want your royalties to be per purchase (and it’s so much less than you think), how much of a discount you want to give retailers so they’ll stock your book, they’ll set you up with an ISBN number and the copyright, format the book for you, and ship it over in .pdf. Then you get to make corrections and send it back, and once you approve it, they send you cute little e-mails to give you marketing tips/advice to promote your book. I never take them, but there are some good tips in there! I love Outskirts Press.

There are articles, blogs, magazines every where that discuss big publishing vs self publishing; what made you decided to self publish? Have you been happy with the experience?

You know, I didn’t really research self-publishing vs. traditional publishing when I published my book. My dad said he would publish the book for me for my twenty-fourth birthday because one of my goals in life was to be published at twenty-four. I was ecstatic. The company said they would list the book on Amazon and Barnes & Nobles and I just assumed people would find it the way people find things somehow on the internet. I had no idea there was such a stigma around self-publishing. I was a little depressed when I found out that no one wanted to read my book or stock it just because it was self-published, but at the same time, it was literally a dream come true, and it was the ultimate gift from my daddy to me. It’s not just a book I published because I wanted to be published… It’s really the love of a father for his daughter and doing everything to make her dream come true. Does it get better than that? And I had complete control over the published manuscript. Everything that is printed in that book—good or bad—is completely my fault. And there’s something thrilling and terrifying about that. Maybe I’m a sucker for punishment, since I’m doing it again with the second book!

What advice do you have for those of us just dipping our toes in the writing world?

Write when inspiration strikes. If it hits you at 11:30 at night and you’re just about to go to bed, write anyway. I can’t tell you how many good ideas I’ve lost because I went to bed or cleaned the kitchen or got distracted by a video game! Bonus to writing super late: when you wake up in the morning, you may barely remember writing it, so it’ll be like reading something new. Also, if you do have to leave, leave in the middle of an exciting scene that you want to write—you’ll be eager to get back to writing. And remember to write what you love and what you read. You can’t write a mystery novel if you hate mysteries and only read sci-fi, right? Most of all: never, ever, ever give up.

Vivian, thank you so much for sharing your wonderful answers and amazing books with us today! I treasure our friendship and hope you know how much I love your books! I have been honored to get to know you better and hope to see even more stories of yours on my shelves ;o)

Courtney, I cannot wait for the day I have an autographed copy of your book on my shelf! You have been such an amazing, important person in my life, and I have a very, very special surprise in store for you, but you’re going to have to wait… I think you’ll be excited about it!

*Princessblushesprofusely* Vivian you have no idea how much fun I have had getting to know you and reading your work! It has been my pleasure~

Thank you so much for having me today! Now… about that tea…? Yes – I will get someone right on that!

It is such a pleasure to be able to share your wonderful stories with the Royal Court and well I am excited to inform the court that we are giving away 3 COPIES to the 3 lucky members of the Royal Court!


You heard me! ;o)


One LUCKY WINNER WILL WIN A SIGNED BOOK AND AN OPAL RING - when you read THE EROE you will understand the connection ;o)

Oh yeah…um so where can I enter???? ;o)

For those of you that wish to order a copy both books are available for purchase via WWW.AMAZON.COM





(use the format: clsbarr(at)yahoo(dot)com to ward off the spam)





SIDEBAR LISTING +1 (be sure to leave the link)

TWEET +4 (please put @southrnprincess & @vivianmarieadp in the message)

BLOG POST +5 (be sure to leave the link)

REFERRAL +5 (Be sure to have whomever you send over mention your name in the comments)


Just to whet your appetite the amazingly talented Vivian has created gorgeous book trailers for each. Check them out here: The Eroe and The Malo

Please visit Vivian’s blog! You can see trailers, updates and other writings – trust me they are all wonderful! (check out the ones she wrote back at Halloween – LOVE!)

Have a Fantastic Friday!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Thursday Tip...

Okay - I apologize for the no Wednesday;s Written Word BUT I promise that tomorrow I have something special planned.... so please check back!

You won't be disappointed...

Okay - behave, have fun and well have a TERRIFIC THURSDAY!!!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Monday Memos!

There's no such thing as "impossible". The word itself says "I'm Possible".

~ unknown

Wow. That is a heavy statement for a writer.

We all know that inside each of us are stories dying to be shared with the world. Yet how often do we hear the comment "anyone can write a book"? Yes, anyone can. But can they write it so that it moves you, so that it makes you close your eyes and discover emotions, so that it evokes belief or questions your stance, so that it opens the minds of young people, so that it causes reflection in those who are older, so that it carves a niche for generations to come or that it becomes the closest friend to someone in need.

Writing is hard. But without the challenge we would not grow, nor would we appreciate the lessons. I read blogs every day, each of us searching for balance with our writing, our dayjob, our families, our friends... our to do lists. They seem to grow not shrink with each passing day. Often we ask others for help in how to manage them...there is no right answer, there is no wrong answer. Our constant is our writing. It is the believing that "impossible" really is just the words I'm Possible thrown together.

Each of us are learning to cultivate a craft that has rules, similarities, ideas but yet are told to discover what makes our voice unique, against the grain, stand out. It can be confusing and sometimes disheartening. I don't think that writing is easy. I do think anyone can do it, but I don't want to be just anyone. I want to write something that becomes a young woman or boys best friend, that stirs passion, that builds bridges, that burns through the senses and leaves you craving more.

The writing is what keeps me moving despite the lack of balance.

I want to be someone who is constantly learning how to do it well and always searching for ways to be Possible. If that means that the balance is forever just beyond my reach so be it - as long as I am still reaching.

What keeps you surging forward when the balance never seems to come?
Out & About the Blogosphere!

Shannon over at Book Dreaming reminds us all that we are a part of something special!

Shelli at Market My Words is hosting an Agent Pitch Contest! Yep, you heard me! You have until tomorrow 12 EST! Hurry go make your pitch!

Summer over at ....and this time concentrate asks how you write? In Sequence - out of sequence - you own system?

She's doing it again guys!!! Shannon Messenger is giving away and awesome signed book + swag: THE BODY FINDER!!! (but don't enter, you don't need it...*scurries off to enter a hundred times*) ;o)

Liz over at Cleverly Inked is giving away $60 CSN Giftcard! contest ends 6-30-2010 Check out their website HERE open only to US & Canada

Friday, June 4, 2010

Dream Sequence Blogfest!!

Amalia T. is hosting today's blogfest: Dream Sequence Blogfest!! So this one was interesting to approach; dreams and flashbacks can really change a character's path. I am excited to read all the other entries and hope you will too! Since my current WIP does not have a dream sequence (though I am considering one) I decided to do one on the fly! I treated it a little like my Wednesday's Written Word because that stimulates me quite well. So I just used Dream and well this is what I came up with...

A cool breeze glides over my skin as I walk into the room.

With every step unease crawls over my body leaving a trail of tremors. My eyes sweep the floor - shards of glass blink in the sunlight. The window's shattered center crunches beneath my shoes...

My fingers itch to touch but even in sleep I know the dangers...the barrier of reality is thin at best.

Two nights now and I find myself beyond the veil. The first time was not only terrifying but a disaster. Maybe this time I can keep my head and wake up alone...the darkness that I took back with me was more than a nightmare. I know now that time is different here, that beyond the veil of sleep I have no control.

A small round blue shard catches my eye. Immediately I bend down. It is the one. The symbol.

If I just grab it, take it now...

My knees begin to shake as I lean closer to the glass. The perfect round edges, the star and dagger etched into the center and on the dagger the initials that haunt me in light and darkness...

Z I H - what does it mean?

My body begins to react to the shard; pulsating pain beats against my skull, my eyes water as the stinging grows, I want to scream.

I taste blood and realize I've bitten my tongue. Cautiously I straighten up, the need to touch is beginning to make me weak.


My own voice disappears as darkness colors the walls.

The light breeze from earlier no longer filters through the busted frame; sticky, heavy air weighs me down. I know the shifters will be here soon, my presence beyond the veil would not go unnoticed for long.

I feel him before I see him - a dark silhouette, not real, not imaginary but a culmination of every nightmare. He hovers along the line waiting for me to make a mistake or for me to choose...the darkness.

He craves me but is forced to bank his desire. I desire his touch but must never act on it. We study each other, violet eyes meeting silver across the room.

Glancing at the shards then at me he speaks "Why are you here?" His voice is deep and rich, a gravelly tone that soothes and intimidates.

"I don't know." My voice, a whisper that hangs amid the humid air.

"You know the rules beyond the veil...I cannot protect you. I cannot change it here...they are coming for you now. You are weak...."

"I know."

"You need to wake up."

"I don't know how."

"If I help you - it will hurt..." His form slides across the space and I can feel his breath next to my ear.

In the distance an eerie screech has me flinching. They are close.

"Please. They are coming..."

"Close your eyes." I look at the shadow once before obeying his command.

Immediately a chill grips my throat. I want to claw and scratch as he pulls me into an abyss. Hate swamps me, anger, desire, passion rolls around my stomach and I raise my arms. Then I am overcome with sadness. Closing my fists I wait for the pain. The door that will open when he cuts into my soul.

It comes. A ripping starts in my chest as he moves beyond my feelings and into my core. My skin aches, and my head begins to pound. Heat burrows into my right hand and the fire has me screaming. The sound bounces off the walls. I feel as though he has cut open my chest and torn me apart. Suddenly my breathing begins to slow and I feel like I am floating.

"Sweet dreams." His voice is like silk against my skin.

I lick my lips tasting the tart flavor of blood then I open my eyes no longer trapped by sleep.

I lay on the floor covered in sweat. My hand aches and I look down: Z I H has been burned into my wrist.


Wishing you a Fabulous Friday!!