Courtney S. Barr

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

Friday, April 30, 2010

WINNERS!!! Where have Gnick & Courtney Been???

Okay, can I just say this was the most fun contest to host! I seriously enjoyed this. A dayjob work trip is not always exciting and fun, but you guys made this one a blast!! Gnick was the most hospitable chaperone ever and he loved updating everyone!!

I LOVED that Gnick was able to take such a fun group on a virtual tour of where....

Washington, D.C.

Yes, yes I know that some of you have a bit of issue with me saying that it is the city I was in. Well it is a city (sometimes nicknamed Capitol City or Federal City) AND a district. It has a city council, a mayor yet it submits all jurisdiction to the federal government. It did not become a District until 1871 and is still today considered both titles.

Due to the confusion or sneakiness of a question like this I accepted either Alexandria or Washington D.C. since I spent the most time in those locations.

Just a quick note on Alexandria...did you know that for some time it was actually considered a part of the District? I learned a good bit on this trip - not all for the dayjob.

ON to the answers:

#1 - Old Town Alexandria

#2 - The Torpedo Factory Art Center

#3 - The Lincoln Memorial

#4 - The Washington Monument

#5 - International Spy Museum

#6 - National Archives

#7 - National Museum of American History
Bonus - The Star Spangled Banner by Francis Scott Key

#8 - The Smithsonian Castle

#9 - National Museum of the American Indian

#10 - Mount Vernon Mansion in Mt. Vernon, Virginia

Joey stated: You can't have Thanksgiving without turkey. That's like Fourth of July without apple pie, orFriday with no two pizzas! in episode 9, Season 8 THE ONE WITH THE RUMOR - Gosh I love FRIENDS! ;o)

Okay so we know the right answers, but WHO WON WHAT?????

You know me, I love the HAT so watch & see...

PRIZE PACKAGE #1 WINNER:


PRIZE PACKAGE #2 WINNER:


Thank you all so much for playing along, journeying with me & Gnick. I am so honored to have such great members of the Royal Court! I look forward to getting back to a normal blogging schedule and visiting everyone's blogs again! I will see you all on Monday...Don't forget:

BE SURE TO STOP BY ON MONDAY...AWESOME AUTHOR SURPRISE & ANOTHER CONTEST!!!!!

WINNERS: EMAIL ME YOUR INFO!
For Prize Package #1 - Go browse the Book Depository.com for a book
For Prize Package #2 - okay, so WHAT GIFTCARD??? Think about it and get with me!

Have a Fabulous Friday!


Thursday, April 29, 2010

CONTEST ENDS TONIGHT! POST ANSWERS HERE!!! Where in the World have Courtney & Gnick BEEN??

So I 've been traveling with our favorite gnome Gnick to a pretty cool location. And today is the day to post your winning comment...

You MUST be a follower and MUST post your answer on THIS POST by 11:59 PM EST tonight!
Contest open INTERNATIONALLY!!!
You can click back through Sunday, Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday's posts to re-evaluate the clues.

YOU HAVE 3 PARTS TO THIS CONTEST IN ORDER TO WIN!!

1. You must correctly name all the landmarks from each picture
2. Name the city I was in.
3. Name who said this: "You can't have Thanksgiving without turkey. That's like Fourth of July without apple pie, orFriday with no two pizzas!

**DON'T FORGET THE BONUS ON #7**

THEN POST YOUR ANSWERS AT THE END OF THIS ENTRY before MIDNIGHT TONIGHT APRIL 29, 2010
So click back through the posts on

A reminder of the prizes...
We did decide that if only ONE person gets ALL the right answers then that person wins the big prize pack and everyone else gets entered to win a $15.00 giftcard to ANY online store.
Yep ANY store!!!! No matter what there will be two winners on Friday 4-30-2010... ;o)

So prize pack for ALL CORRECT ANSWERS:

PRIZE PACK #1
*surprise*Goodie bag from the city I am in
$10.00 Book from the Book Depository
Copy of the book I am giving away on May 3rd
(yes, yes, I know you don't know which book that is yet, but trust me it is AWESOMESAUCE from cover to cover!!!)

PRIZE PACK #2
$15.00 Giftcard to ANY Store
(online that participates in giftcards
)

Remember, even if someone else has answered still post your guesses so that you can enter the drawing! Don't be discouraged if you don't know them all, put your guesses, prize pack number 2 is still up for grabs!

Good LUCK!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

WEDNESDAY'S WRITTEN WORD: ESCAPE + FINAL DAY CLUE!!!!!!!

On the phone...
Miles away...
He sits in front of the bowl...
Amidst sounds of a strange city I wait with bated breath...
In the quiet of our home he pulls the paper out...

ESCAPE

The city disappears as my fingers find the keys....
***

Screams echo off the stone walls as the smell of loss swamps the air. Another one is lost to the darkness. I feel the cold hard dirt solid beneath my feet; worn smooth by the diggers before me. My toes curl while I crouch beside the wall yet they merely scratch the surface.

I've been told that there is a place where the earth is loose between your toes. It is soft and comforting, a promise of life within its crumbling pieces. Here the floors only breed sorrow and death. Beneath my nails, caked with sweat, are bits of that death. I taste it when the nerves overcome me and I have nothing to grasp in my hands. It is impossible to stop the fingers from touching my lips, from my teeth nibbling on the nails and feeling the grit across my tongue.

Once I believed that the dirt was the only food I would ever eat again. No longer. Weeks had passed since the nerves had fed my hunger. Stories of hope now fed my belly.

At first I desperately tried to ignore them, to pretend that they were only in the imagination of the weak. Yet here I was crouched along the earthen wall for a glimpse of what was called sunlight.

Rumors had begun about a light so bright it could blind you and water that ran free, clear of silt and worms. The idea was preposterous but so tempting. It was a dream that I had banked for months after he came.

The man who held in his hand a small green leaf had finally convinced me. GREEN! The word was new and beautiful in my mind. We had never seen such a brilliance, never held such a tender object in our hand. I had stood there watching him talk, not hearing all the words only seeing the herb he clutched as though it were his child. He spoke of things I had never heard of.

The man had appeared in our crossway. Thrown on the ground by the Leaders, covered in mud. His wet appearance had been bizarre but it had been his hands that had made us listen.

No callouses wore down his palms. His nails were clean and his wrist free of the burns from the straps. The crevices in his knuckles were clean of the smoke that stains us so easily. He had not been down here before, he was from somewhere we had never thought to imagine.

We worked for the Leaders. Digging into the hard earth, breaking it away in huge chunks only to find small sections of a shining stone they snatched from our hands before we could even see what it was. The Leaders were brutal on those that could not produce enough of the shiny stones. A beating by their strap could cut deep into your back or worse break a bone that could not be seen.

So many people had been lost over the years. Today two more children had been turned over to the Leaders. Their bodies limp and their eyes wide, staring blindly into the darkness. The sorrow was palpable today.

I had watched the cold, damp earth claim my parents when I was five. Their bodies already brittle from the hard work when the sickness that stole their breath with its ruthless cough ripped them from me.

The man had changed everything. I had seen the herb, smelled its richness and now I stood facing the strap if discovered. My breath came out slow and steady as I waited for the Leaders to end their daily post. This would be easy.

The plan was simple. An object dangled from the hip of one of the Leaders. I had stolen it two hours ago when he fell asleep watching the early digs. The object now rested in my right hand. There was only one place in all the crossways that was not the familiar brown earth. It was an entry wall made out of a hard material with a hole that they placed the object into every night.

Right now the entry stood only a few feet from me across the hall. The Leaders would be here soon, especially when they discovered the missing object.

I straightened and glanced down at the cold oddly shaped thing in my hand. There is no promise that it would show me where the man had come from. I had nothing to guarantee that wherever it took me would be better or even different from here. Gripping it tightly I carefully crossed the room. The familiar padding of my feet gave me the confidence to make the final steps.

After inspecting the hole I glanced down the hallway. I was losing precious time, the sounds of our picks in the distance told me that digging would be halted for meal break. It was now or never.

Lifting the object I turned it to fit into the hole. It hung there not moving nor changing the entry. I remembered that the Leaders always moved it. Closing my dirt laden hand around it I began to twist it. After a second of resistance my hand moved in a circle. I jumped at the soft click and stepped back. The heavy entry moved away from me revealing its other side.

A silent stairwell curled upward in front of me. It was not dirt but a gray rough looking block system. Glancing back at the crossway I smiled. Turning I took a step forward. My foot hovered over the steps hesitantly before meeting a new type of surface. This one was not earth packed by the many steps of lost friends and family. It was cold, rough like a callous and most importantly it was something I had never seen before.

The man was right. Our dungeons were not all that existed...it was time to see about those herbs. I did not look back at the dark earth that had been my home for eleven years, I only looked up praying that with every movement I grew closer to what he had called freedom.

***

Okay here is the FINAL CLUE!!! Come back tomorrow to name everything before midnight!!!
Gnick was so excited for our final tour stop! He truly thought it the highlight of our trip.

#10 Name the landmark location. Yep it is said that the doors to this house are always open - even when the original family lived here. They loved to have guests! In fact in one year they had over 700 people stay here! Can you imagine?
Gnick loved everything: the view, the classic structures and his most favorite spot: The Garden!
He even said that if he wasn't such a roaming Gnome he might consider this place as a final destination! But alas, he chose to stay with us and we are so glad he did!
***
Have a Wonderful Wandering Wednesday!!!
(As always if you are not familiar with Wednesday's Written Word you are welcome to peruse my Original Works Page or click a dated entry on the right sidebar to read past entries)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

CLUES DAY THREE!! PRIZE UPDATE

Gnick and I were grinning at everyone's comments yesterday. We told y'all day one was the hardest clues! We believe everyone now knows what city we are in (but I won't spoil it for those who have yet to figure it out) and we are excited to see who posts the correct answers on Thursday's post.

REMEMBER you have to not only know the city but be able to name each numbered landmark where Gnick's picture was taken.


We did decide that if only ONE person gets ALL the right answers then that person wins the big prize pack and everyone else gets entered to win a $15.00 giftcard to ANY online store.
Yep ANY store!!!! No matter what there will be two winners on Friday... ;o)

So prize pack for ALL CORRECT ANSWERS:
PRIZE PACK #1
*surprise*Goodie bag from the city I am in
$10.00 Book from the Book Depository
Copy of the book I am giving away on May 3rd
(yes, yes, I know you don't know which book that is yet, but trust me it is AWESOMESAUCE from cover to cover!!!)
PRIZE PACK #2
$15.00 Giftcard to ANY Store
(online that participates in giftcards)

So what are todays clues....Well we had the dayjob cutting into our touring but we managed to get a few this afternoon:
#8 Gnick took this one - he did good!!! Name the building...
#9 Wow...these replicas represent the EARLY days in this country...They sit in front of a building dedicated to the story of these native people...name the building...

Good Luck! Only one more day of Clues! Come back on Thursday to list your answers and I will announce the winner Friday morning!!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

CLUES DAY TWO: Where in the World are Courtney & Gnick? & Monday Memos

Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.
-Miriam Beard
Well Gnick and I are running ragged around this town!!! I think we may see everything there is to see....

Well, what do you know just when Gnick wants to rest someone won't share a comfy lap to nap in! Doesn't this particular historical figure know he has enough lap for 1000 gnomes much less one little gnome to rest?! How can anyone tell this face no?
#3 Name the landmark
That's okay, we decided to play around with the next landmark. Look at Gnick! Somehow the point on his hat has grown! (albeit crookedly...)

#4 Name the landmark behind Gnick!
Then we decided to sneak around, you know be all stealth.
#5 Can you name the landmark museum in the background? (the cream building)
After discovering how the word gadget transformed many historical events we decided to hit one more spot today...

OH MY! GNICK's face appears to have disappeared?
#6 Do you think we could find a copy or file with his photo in it at the building behind him?
#7 These last 3 pictures are all one clue. Each of the items below are housed in the same building...Gnick was moved by these the most. I know...red glittery shoes? Well, its because these items represent for many of us thoughts of home. The bottom picture is an actual section of the preserved flag in the middle. Yes that is the real 39x42 foot flag that inspired what some would say is the most well known song in America.
(*BONUS ENTRY: Name the Song & Composer)Whew that was 5 more clues....do you know where I am?
*DON'T FORGET: You have to name the city AND each landmark that was pictured. For instance the first picture of the Fish Market is a clue to the historic landmark NEIGHBORHOOD you must enter. I will be sure to put on whether I am looking for the neighborhood, stature, or place on Thursday. Don't worry you have until midnight on Thursday to get your answers in. ;o)
***
MONDAY MEMOS!!
Oh yeah, while Gnick & I are wandering the sites and working on the dayjob agenda check out today's hot blog posts:

Natalie Bahm posts two quotes on
Writing/Rewriting you should add both to your list of quotations on the process of writing, I did. ;o)

Be sure that you have added the The Book Sniper to your blog roll, google reader, whatever! It is a wonderfully insightful new blog from an insider in the publishing world...

Matthew over at The Quintessentially Questionable Query Experiment blogs today about...blogging! Are you a Troll? Sometimes I am...even if it is a Princess Troll ;o)

***
Have a Magical Monday!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

CLUES DAY ONE: Where in the World is Courtney and the Gnome?

So Gnick and I were wandering around. He has been extremely giddy about traveling and the contest!

He decided to immediately visit a few special places & snap some photos. It took everything in me to keep up!

Thankfully he was as hungry as I was so we stopped at a favorite restaurant in the center of a historic landmark neighborhood:

#1 Name the Neighborhood/Town
Then he decided to expand his creative aptitude...(these two photos go together as one clue!)
#2 Name the Landmark Building
Next we settled in to the hotel and enjoyed a nice night of great food and wonderful entertainment!

Don't forget to come back tomorrow and see the next set of clues and return on Thursday to post all your guesses!

Oh & if you have NO IDEA what is going on refer to the original post or my newest contest link on the upper right sidebar!
*note today are probably the hardest clues due to the stops, but I know that if you just put the pieces together you will figure it out...*
***
Have a Sensational Sunday!!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Where in the World is Courtney gonna be???? Contest!

"You can't have Thanksgiving without turkey. That's like Fourth of July without apple pie, or Friday with no two pizzas!"
- ?*
***
I know one of you just hummed the theme song to Where in the World is Carmen San Diego? You know who you are... ;o)!

It has been a crazy week in our house and it will probably get a little crazier over the next couple of days. The dayjob has me traveling to one of my favorite cities for a conference. Now I will be working but when not in conference meetings I plan to hit some of my favorite sites, eateries, bookstores and shows.

Most of you know I not only read and love current books but I collect vintage, rare, antiquarian as well. I have scoped out some promising stores and *crossesfingers* hopefully will discover a new addition to my collection. (*NOTE: "hopefully" - come on we all know I love to shop & impulse-shopper is my credo so we all KNOW I will bring something good back ;o) )

Anyway, I will still be blogging while traveling & I decided to make it into something a bit more than just travel blogging...how about a contest...hmmmm? Something to wet the appetite as I am inching up to 200 Followers (which guarantees another contest).

Speaking of contests be sure to wander over here on MAY 3rd...I have an amazing Author Spotlight (who did not cower during my Royal Interrogation) that day & lets just say if you are looking for a divine prize pack then you will find it here. :o) (yes that means over the next few weeks you will have at least 2 contests from me & hopefully 3!!)

Okay back to travel blogging: I plan to post a variety of pictures featuring our favorite gnome Gnick at some pretty well known landmarks. Each picture is a clue to where I am.

You must get all landmarks correct, the city I am in & who stated the above quote correct to win!

You must be a Follower of my blog and you MUST post your answers on THURSDAY APRIL 29ths Blog Entry by 11:59 PM EST.

I will take all Followers with ALL the correct answers and put them in randomizer.org to select the winner. NOTE: You must get ALL answers correct to be put in the pot to win...

What will you win?

Ahhh...This is the exciting part! *squeal*
A *surprise* Goodie Bag from the city I traveled to
1 Book of your Choice from the Book Depository shipped directly to you!
A copy of the book that I am giving away on May 3rd
(yes, yes, I know you don't know which book that is yet, but trust me it is AWESOMESAUCE from cover to cover!!!)
So watch out...between Sunday & Wednesday there will be clues, gnomes, and fun times!!!

Disclaimer: I promise it is a city in the United States, it is a VERY well-known city, all landmarks can be fairly easy to recognize and/or research. Open to US & Canada.

Spread the word...
***
Around the blogs today:

Help Elana Johnson create some Laughs today...she needs to feel the love...

SarahJayne at Writing in the Wilderness celebrates Friday with a 150 Followers CONTEST!! (don't forget to tell her I sent you)

Have you drawn a map for your work yet? Portia discusses getting lost & finding your way...

Natalie Bahm discusses E-Readers & the Environment...How green are they?

The lovely Shannon fromBook Dreaming is being featured on Edited to Within an Inch of My Life

Don't forget to donate or spread the word about Team Brooklyn! (refer to original post Here you can still donate via my sidebar widget ), my friends walk this weekend!

Have a Fun Filled Fantastic Friday!!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wednesdays Written Word: Guardian

A warm breeze slips into the living room,
Champagne fabric flutters against the glass.
Crickets chatter outside the window sill
They watch, waiting for the weekly selection.
He smiles as he reaches into the small bowl.
Silence fills the air...
He speaks the word quietly.

Guardian

The crickets hold their breath as I begin to type..

***
"Do you think it will be okay?" he asked.

"Well of course, I mean how would it not be?" she responded quietly.

"Don't you think it will need someone?" he whispered

"Of course, we all need someone." She could not hide the exasperation in her tone

"So...then how will it be okay?" He pressured. His nervous fingers began picking at the eternal scab on his knee.

"Because it has us." Her tone was so sure that he merely nodded in response.

"Plus, I mean, its not like we are going anywhere; are we?" she whispered hesitantly.

He could not ignore the trace of fear as she spoke. They had waited so long, so very long.

"No. We will always be here." He reached for her hand, lacing his fingers with hers.

The tear that fell onto their hands startled him. This was new. He looked at her face and saw her watching it roll across their fingers.

"Its okay. It will be okay. I know it." he squeezed her a hand a little tighter as he spoke and stood up.

"Okay. You promise?" This time she met his eyes, seeking his face for reassurance.

He stared back marveling at how green her eyes were. He looked like a leprechaun reflected in the deep green irises. Her face was contorted into a worried expression and the tears glistened against a myriad of peach freckles.

"I promise." He had not realized how important this was to her until this moment.

"Then we can go now." She began to pull him out of the room.

As they reached the window, she stopped and turned back. He mirrored her movements.

Curled up on the small daybed was a young girl. The room was empty except for a small suitcase full of clothes and a trunk filled with toys. Their eyes roamed the walls and the floor, seeing what used to be rather than what lay in front of them.

She sighed and pointed to the corner. At once he remembered the doll house that she had loved so dearly.

"We can show her where it is tomorrow, for now she needs her sleep." He moved again, pulling her with him. She stood still and shook her head.

"What if she doesn't want us?" Again he heard the fear.

"She will. We can teach her so many things - we will be the ones to show her the way. Now come on..let's go see everyone else." He released her hand and left through the open window.

"No one else matters." She thought as he left.

A final glance around the room had her watching the girl again. Her long blonde hair braided neatly, her arm tightly wound around an old teddy bear. The girl was content, sleeping peacefully in a warm bed in her new home. She had no idea what was waiting for her at sunrise. She would be afraid, she would be excited and she would be loved.

The thought made her guardian smile. She would go now and see the others. Finally feeling relaxed at the prospect of sharing all that she knew. Because this time it was different, this time everything would go as it should.

Moving towards the window she smiled at the night sky. Yes, they would teach her everything, they would protect her and it would make all the difference because she was special.

"You will change the world, little one." she whispered disappearing into the night.

***
Wishing you a Warm & Sunny Wednesday!
*To read past Wednesday's Written Word entries use the sidebar links on the right or go to the Original Works Page at the top of my blog*

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

BAZINGA!

My sleep patterns had finally begun to regulate last week when all of a sudden the last five days I have been waayyyyy too sleep deprived.

My manuscript is coming along well, its just that there are scenes that are keeping me up - making me go crazy. I have been up at odd hours - working like a crazy woman only to discover the pages are not where I want them to be. Mind you this is not revision... yeah.

My hubby has been patient: Not asking me to come to bed at a reasonable hour, ignoring the snarky tone when asked silly questions like "What's for dinner?" and "Did you wash my jeans?" He has even caught on and began to do the dishes without a nod from my direction. But the dark circles under my eyes finally got to him last night.

He came into the living room where the laptop sat on my knees.

Hubby: "Let's go to the back."

Me: "Why?" continues to read & type furiously, never looking up.

Hubby: "You need to go to bed a little earlier tonight."

Me: "Why?" *tone is snarky again...run away*

Hubby: "Because I said so." Now this is new. Nothing from either of us is ever "BECAUSE I SAID SO." We don't have kids so this statement is rarely used and normally it is in complete and utter jest.

Slowly I look at him. He is leaning away from me and the couch. His eyes are a bit wary and it appears he is ready to bolt at any second. I know that he is expecting some snarky-mean-witchy-retort, but I surprise both of us with:

"But I don't wanna go to bed." The voice is soft, whimpering a little and more childlike than I intended.

We stare at each other and he chuckles.

Hubby: "Don't make me take you back there."

Immediately I grin. A flash of the Big Bang Theory crosses my mind. I press ctrl + S to save then close the laptop. I sit it on the ottoman, slowly inching over to the edge of the cushion. I stand up and stare at him.

Me: "You will have to catch me first!" honest to goodness I took off for the dining room and he followed suit. I slid through the kitchen (our floor is like a skating rink! We polished a few weeks ago) and slammed into the hallway. He stood back in the living room and eyed me for a second. Peanut stood between us, tail wagging, waiting to see what we were going to do next.

Then I could not help it...

Me: "BAZINGA!!!" I ran to the back, sliding down the hall and flung myself into our room and shut the door. I let him in after a few minutes of pounding & laughing. Then I collapsed onto the bed.

I slept like a baby.

This morning I woke up to get ready for the day job and honest to goodness think I may have figured out my scene issue. We will see when I work on it this afternoon. Either way, Sheldon helped me get a good night's sleep. ;o)

Do you ever work yourself into a tizzy over a scene or character issue, only to discover that if you would just let it sit for a while the answer just may come to you? How do you handle those moments? Do you fight sleep and try to force the answer; a la Sheldon?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday Memos

-J.R.R. Tolkien
***
Traveling for a writer is different.

We sit inside our home and can be instantly swept away into a land that no plane, train or car can get to.

We can travel to years when the roads were only rock and grass, worn in by cart or hoof or to years where we can only imagine the modes of transportation.

We walk the same streets as other people yet our minds are taking in the details, hoarding them for a later date. When the page is blank before us we pull the memory out and do not just describe the character's environment, we remember it - we go back to it.

Sometimes we are lucky enough to travel to exotic lands and actually carry a suitcase. We get to research the history and immerse ourselves in the culture. Like most people we take our pictures, we eat the food, we buy their wares and we go home; exhausted, happy and content.

But unlike most we don't just use the photograph for sweet recollection, it is now an option, a description that can be altered or left as is. It becomes the setting, the scene, sometimes the heart of a story.

Bilbo was right. It is easy to get swept away.

Luckily for a writer that is what we want our readers to do...get swept away with our characters. Travel to lands that only exist for them or places our reader can walk the same path feeling the same emotions.

How often do you base your settings on actual places you have been? Do you create your world with only a hint of "our" reality? If you have used an actual location, did it have sentimental value or does it merely work for the genre?
***
TODAY:
Check out Lisa & Laura's blog they have an interesting post about...Matthew McConaughey

Steena & Stina are hosting contests! Each blog has different prizes & they ROCK!!! Go, click, enter!!!

Jill Kemerer discusses Book Openings vs Movie Openings --check it out!

Jaydee Morgan has an interesting post about Multiple Personalities and Multiple Manuscripts Do you multi-task with projects?

The Query Tracker has an upcoming contest (4-27-2010) - JUDGED BY AN AGENT!! Check it out - its a one sentence pitch of your manuscript...go check out all the details...

Oh yeah, Simon is trying to decide how to celebrate all his wonderful followers (if you aren't one you should be!). Be sure to check in with him and see what he has up his sleeve...I promise it will be good!

Have a Mesmerizing Monday!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Power

To dance is to be out of yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful. This is power, it is glory on earth and it is yours for the taking!
-Agnes De Mille

Writing is like dancing.

We feel the story, the power in the words along the page. They move to a rhythm unique to the plot and even when the music changes tone we continue to dance.

Characters grow as they find their footing and move with confidence. Their tales no longer lost amongst the myriad of terms and punctuation - they live.

Writers are their instruments and with their music the story finds its place in the world. Dancing can be slow, languid movements that evoke emotions deep within the heart or quick, lightning steps that spin the mind into a vortex of dark design.

The power within a writer has the ability to change the perspective, to alter the notes and to bring a response that is unlike any feeling the body has experienced. Let your fingers dance across the keys, let your words come alive upon the page and embrace the power that a good story can bring.

Our characters must dance every time we turn the page.

***
Some Thursday reminders...

Elana Johnson has a great post today summing up her Blogging Series

Falen Formulates Fiction asks if you become engrossed in your WIP/Manuscripts.

Matthew at The Quentessentially Questionable Query Experiment is having Rachele Alpine from Freckle Head guest blog tomorrow - Don't Miss It!

Roxy's Blogging Buddies contest ends today!!!

Oh & go check out Maggie Stiefvater today...you will love it...she mentions a contest...just saying.

I was inspired by power last night. I was blessed to spend the evening with my mother seeing
Celtic Woman perform their beautiful songs & dance. They are honest in their song selection and moving by their emotions. It was a beautiful night that I am so blessed to have shared with a woman who's strength and power of life inspires me every single day. Thanks, mom.

Hurry click on the links!

Have a Terrific Thursday!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wednesday's Written Word: KEY

To understand this weekly event new followers can reference 1st Wednesday's Written Word
---
Fingers itch to touch the keys
He grins, slowly pulling the slip from the too familiar bowl..
Long, silken hair sways as the dog watches eagerly,
The clock ticks...
I inhale - waiting...
He smirks:

KEY

I begin.
***

Where is it? I know its here! Why can't I find it?

The clanging of the drawers echoes down the hallway. I cannot stop until I see it, until I know the truth.

Ragged breaths burst between my lips. Leaning against the cabinet I begin to slowly count to twenty. The thickness in the air begins to dissipate.

You would think they would have sufficient air conditioning! It's Mississippi for goodness sake! Damn humidity could strangle a mosquito!

Turning towards the desk under the window I stared at the blinking box on the screen. I sat back in the desk chair and almost hit the floor.

Ergonomic my foot! It almost touches the floor, swivels uncontrollably and leans back so far I can see the back of my heels. How does he work like this?

Shaking my head I adjust the chair. The screen blinks angrily, demanding an answer or for me to just leave it alone. The username was a cinch. He never changed it. The other box was my problem.

I had pulled every file from his cabinets. Not one of them held the information. Not ONE! He had to have made a copy on the computer, there is no way that he would not keep some kind of backup.

Exasperation rolled down my arm and into the fingernails tapping against the eConnex mousepad.

Too bad he doesn't have a dog or cat or bird. Pet names are normally the easiest. No wife either, course everyone knows why THAT is. Maybe the password is Infidelity?

The chuckle escaped and the delirium set in. I had been searching for two hours. It was the middle of the night and my patience had left the minute I had been assigned the mission.

"It will be simple, Lorelei! You know him best." David's smug expression as he spoke dug into my body; a collection of nameless knives stinging me every time I came up empty.

Of course I know him best. Hell, I should know him. Twenty-nine years. I exhaled at the thought.

It was too long to know someone's secrets and too late to get away from them. If only he had told me about this latest story. If only he had been honest with me. Honesty isn't his style and I am afraid that this time it may cost him.

The blinking box appeared to have slowed down its repetition. I leaned forward and lay my head on the desk. Turning my cheek I stared at the wall covered in newspaper articles.

He was so talented. There was no reason to get involved in things like this! What is he thinking? My eyes roamed title after title, at the bottom just above the wastebasket was a shiny black frame. The story inside was printed on copy paper rather than newsprint.

Odd, why a copy when he works at the newspaper office?

Carefully removing myself from the chair I stooped down. The creak behind my knees was not something I wanted to hear.

Lifting the frame I began to read the article. "Discover A Hidden World!" It sounded like a travel article.

You don't write travel pieces.

Scanning the paragraphs I discovered that the words were gibberish. Only every couple of words were real.

What on earth?

Then I saw the word ENTER. Scanning above it I saw PRESS. A loud laugh bubbled up my throat followed by a deep sigh.

Well I'll be danged.

Turning to the computer I moved the mouse to deactivate the screensaver. The box continued to blink its demands. This time I smirked as I typed in the words. The screen blinked black then his desktop opened in front of me. A quick scan through his files and I found the file that the "article" eluded to. Every racy photo and location was listed, it was everything I needed to wipe that smug look off David's face at headquarters.

I pressed print then shut the computer down. Meticulously I returned all the drawers to their original state, proceeded towards the exit and slipped behind the wheel. I could not hold back the smile as I turned the car ignition.

Only MY brother would choose the words ENTER KEY as a password.


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Have a Whimsical Wednesday!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Thank YOU; Gremlins & Please forgive my dust...

*Update - Comment Button is at the bottom again (Blogger & the Gremlins really must have forgiven me)
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Before I talk about what happened yesterday morning between me & blogger templates I want to thank a few people! Please understand that I would love to pass these on to EVERYONE on my blogroll & all that are on there should know that they fall into each of these categories. A few to highlight today are:

Shannon O'Donnell at Book Dreaming honored me with the Sugar Doll award

I love this award! It is adorable!
I would like to pass this on to:

Talli @ Talli's Blog
Portia @ Portia's blog

Carol at Carol's Prints honored me with Stylish Blogger award

I just love the glittery bling of this award...its the Princess in me ya know? *wink*

I would like to pass this on to:

Wendy Ramer @ On'n On'n On

Wendy Ramer of On'n On'n On honored me with the Sweet Blog award. Is this not the cutest award! It is for blogs that are always friendly to visitors! There are many blogs that I visit that appear to really love to have us stop by
two of my newest favorites are:

Betty @ Bossy Betty
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Some of you braved my site yesterday. Yeah, for those of you that clicked on the link and saw utter chaos, I am SO SO SO SORRY.

It appears that I tried a new background html that had been hacked into by Gremlins high on sugar! I was striving for a simple background that is elegant and easy to navigate... yeah it took five hours to achieve what I hope is here to stay.

So now when you visit the Kingdom I have the following: PAGES!!! I cannot control my excitement.

At the top of the page you will see links to pages:

Home (in case you lose your way on the other pages)
Who is the Southern Princess? (a young maiden's tale)
Contact (because you know you want to be able to speak to the Princess)
Inside the Kingdom (visuals of who we really are)
Original Works (links to posts that house my writing)

I feel like I should have known better as Sheldon says "The instructions are very clear".
I will know better next time ;o)




Enjoy your Tuesday! Let me know what you think!

P.S. Liz over at Cleverly Inked is hosting a BIRTHDAY PHENOMENON contest - you do not want to miss this!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Monday Memos...



-Seneca
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Ahhh... Progress.

Its like dancing to a song you don't know, your body isn't sure where the next tone is coming from so it just moves in a general direction. You can spaz out and do the sprinkler or just stand in one spot and try to figure out how those dancers get one buttcheek going in one direction and the other cheek in the opposite. What you do during the song is your own personal progress and most of us want to be able to at least find a little rhythm...

The desire to progress as a writer is strong. Once you have placed your idea on paper and realize that you not only believe in it but want to share it, you have progressed a bit further. Every site I visit that talks about becoming a better writer beats the same drum: WRITE. WRITE AGAIN & AGAIN & AGAIN - every day.

I find that they are right. Every time I sit down to work on my WIP I want it to be better than the day before. It isn't that I think the previous day's words lack in any way, it is merely that I want to make it even more engaging today. When revision time circles around, I want to see my mistakes, my trouble areas and discover how to make them better. Because there is a goal, there is a light that I want to see shining upon my face and there is a desire to see it welcomed by my peers.

Progress is measured not necessarily by a book deal or best seller, it can be in the simplest form. You may see it when you discover that your vocabulary has grown and descriptions become less of a distraction. It may be when you finally discover how to get the printer to quit screeching every time you put the paper in. Ah yes, it may be when you finish a chapter where your character's inner turmoil is found to be their greatest strength and you, the writer, were able to showcase the event in a way that made your reader truly believe in the story.

Progress has been something mankind has always sought, we see it in the iPad, we see it in the hybrid car, we see it in the non-stick skillet, in the SHAMWOW cloth (yeah don't tell me you haven't seen THAT infomercial), its in the clothing we wear and the movies we watch...It surrounds us in every other area. So why not put energy towards progress in our writing...

Focus on your passion and you will discover that the desire to progress is there bubbling quietly beneath the surface...That desire just might be what helps you type THE END while sipping your favorite drink getting ready for revisions and book two...
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Where should you visit today? Check these links out!

Congratulations to SARAH WYLIE!!! She is celebrating her book ALL THESE LIVES is being published by FSG/Macmillan in 2012 & holding anAwesome Contest

Check out the VOICE (its you by the way) over at Elana Johnson's blog - if you don't follow her...shame on you!

Jill Kemerer asks your opinion on Book Beginnings

Explore a hilarious discussion with an inanimate object over at Frankie Writes ...do you talk to your power cord like this? Mine would totally seek revenge if I did...

Are you a member of the WOLFPACK yet? Well you should be just because its awesome...but Lola is also hosting a Wolfpack contest

Roxy is hosting a great Blogging Buddies Contest You don't want to miss this!

Red House books is giving away NEED & CAPTIVATE - hurry go...

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P.S. On a side note I am still not completely satisfied with my new blog design...so if you come back here later to discover something entirely different...don't say I did not warn you... ;o)