Brave

There’s bravery in love.  There’s risk in opening yourself up for someone else… of giving someone the map to all of your private hurts and trusting they’ll never go on that hunt.

There’s bravery in trusting yourself to love someone and to experience it fully – without leaving a hand on the raft of back up plans.

There’s bravery in the moments after a panic, when you don’t pull back, but plunge further on.

And there’s bravery in turning your eyes to the horizon and planning a future…in seeing the light and not just the tunnel.

From the daily post prompt: Brave

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Brain drain or missing muses

Have you ever gotten to a point in your life as a writer where you’ve spent so much time and energy on other things that you’ve no time for creative endeavors? Or maybe it’s not an issue of time; maybe you have no energy or creative spark to fuel even a journal entry.

That’s what’s happened to me and it’s landed me in the realm of missing muses. So what’s a writer to do when they can’t find the energy or motivation to write?

I’m really not sure. My answer as of late has been to laze about in my spare time. But that hasn’t helped much. It just makes me antsy about not being true to my love of writing.

So I’ve entered into phase two of my plan – just write. I’m going to write without plan or clear purpose and see what comes out. I’ll write descriptions of days, things, and people. Who knows, maybe some of it will help set the stage for a story. Or maybe it’ll just give me a chance to flex my writing muscles in a much needed workout.

What do you do when you suffer from creative brain drain or when life takes over your writing time?

Mouse Guard Fall 1152 Review

I started reading graphic novels a few years ago, and in that short time I will say that the genre runs much wider than I could imagine.

How do mice live and protect themselves from their many predators?

According to the imaginings of David Petersen in Mouse Guard, they live in hidden cities, far apart from each other, but protected from their enemies.  To travel between the cities, merchants and citizens need the protection of the Mouse Guard to keep them safe. But what happens when there’s a traitor in the midsts?

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Mouse Guard is a great and quick read for graphic novel pros and newbies.  I loved It! I can’t wait to read it to my niece and nephew (when they’re a little older probably).  Five stars for this colorful and adventurous read.

Quotable – in a world where you can be anything…

“In a world where you can be anything.  Be kind.” – unknown

I don’t think this quote for my quotable Thursday series really needs all that much explanation, as I think we learned its basic principle in kindergarten.

You have the power to be anything; you control how you treat people. And with all of those options, choose to be kind…it’ll help make the world a better place.

Read a Romance Month

The steamy month of August also happens to be Read a Romance Month.  Yep, consider this a mid-month reminder or a call to read one for the very first time. 🙂

Was that an eye-roll I sensed from some of you readers? I’m sure it was.  Why?  Because romance is one of the most shat-upon genres.

Romance readers have had to deal with a lot of trash talk about their genre – especially those who are open about their reading preferences or proudly display those amusing covers in public.  I’ve heard my share of trash talk in my day, some of my favorites:

  • You read romance? I thought you were smarter than that…
  • Oh…but, I thought you were a feminist?

Or when people find out that I write them:

  • Oh..so are you writing the next 50 Shades of Grey?
  • Can you write about me?

Let me just be clear – you can be smart, feminist, and of any sexual orientation and enjoy romance novels.  As for the questions for authors…well, everyone has their own answers to those.

So, in honor of the steamy month of August, treat yourself or challenge yourself to try something new and pick up a romance novel.  There’s a sub-genre for every interest you might have.  Do you like art? There are tons of romances involving painters, appraisers, sculptors, etc.  Do you like murder mysteries?  There are all kinds of excellent romance murder mysteries (check out some of the darker stuff by Nora Roberts, Linda Howard, or Sandra Brown).  Do you like holidays, cooking, or knitting?  Friend, we’ve got you covered.  Do you like history?  Bitch please, you KNOW there are historical romances.  Just check out your local library, Amazon, or bookstore and discover something new.

And hey, take a picture with you new romance novel find…then post it on Instagram to prove that loving some romance is no crime. 🙂

Here’s one I took with a bunch of free (FREEEEE!) used romance novels that someone gave me.

Clearly, I love romance novels and here are some of my personal favorites, if you’d like some recommendations:

  • It happened one autumn – historical and sassy dialogue
  • The hating game or Wallbanger – because I have a soft spot for heroes/heroines who start off not liking each other…
  • Eligible – an update on Pride & Prejudice
  • Just about anything written by my favorites Nora Roberts, Courtney Milan, Lisa Kleypas, and Julie James

Read one….or read like 5 in one week, because you’re gluttonous like me.  Either way, enjoy!

Game of Thrones Mid-Season(ish) 7

Warning: Spoilers ahead…I mean, it’s Friday, I’ve given you a lot of time to watch the episode from Sunday.  The fact that you’ve been able to stay away from spoilers this long while doing anything online makes you some kind of internet ninja…regardless, consider yourself warned of spoilers.

We’re through 4 of 7 episodes for this (sadly short) Season 7 of Game of Thrones.  So let’s do a quick recap and some fan theories –

1.  First, we learned that not even the Freys enjoy Walder’s dinner parties any more.

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Image credit: HBO

To be fair, Robb, I don’t think Walder is a fan them anymore either.  After all, the North does more than just remember now…

2.  Series symmetry!

Okay, so as a writer/nerd I have to point this out – In the beginning of the series, all of our Starks were at Winterfell before scattering about the land on their own adventures.  Each of the Starks were tested in their own grueling way, until there were only 3 and well, Jon.  Also, the series began with Jon and Tyrion meeting each other and having their own bonding moments.

And now, we find ourselves in series 7, and bursting with symmetry –

  • All of the Starks have returned to Winterfell (still waiting for the Jon-Arya reunion though)
  • Arya with the “that’s not you” comment to Nymeria as a throwback to her “that’s not me” comment to her Dad on being a lady living in a castle
  • Jon and Tyrion meeting again
  • Frey dinner parties – first, symmetry with the red wedding and then, with the stories old Nan used to tell

Series Symmetry! Love it.  It’s like closing the loop.

And there may be another bit of symmetry coming up, and that’s…

3. Jaime is probably going to be captured by his enemies (again)

Ah yes.  Oath-breaker, you attempted to kill another Targaryen when their back was toward you.  Fortunately for Daenerys, her bad-ass dragon was there to stop you.  

(Long side note:  Can I start using ‘dracarys’ in every day speech…I mean, without seeming overly weird?  Also, while we’re on the topic, who else was torn with Bronn and the dragon?  I mean, I was going to officially disown him if he killed Drogon but I wasn’t quite ready for him to become a mass of flames either…)

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ooh Burn! (Image credit: HBO)

Anyway… Jaime, you devilish oath-breaker, you find yourself with Bronn sinking to the bottom of the lake.  But…we all know you’re not dead.  Why?  Well, sir there are a few reasons – 1) you’re a main character and main characters don’t die like that, 2) aforementioned symmetry, 3) I think you’ve got a bit of prophecy to fulfill yet…

4. The valonqar still has to kill Cersei

This hasn’t been covered in the HBO series (yet), but along with the prediction that Cersei’s children would die and another, younger queen would unseat her, Maggy gave one more prediction.  It was that the valonqar (younger brother) would kill her.

Now..this is tricky, since Cersei has two younger brothers (even if Jaime is only younger by a minute or two).   I think it’s reasonable to assume that she thinks the man in this prophecy is Tyrion.  After all, she’s always been mean to him and has actively sought out his death.  But has this whole relationship with Jaime been a bit of a hedge as well?  I mean…what better way to ensure your safety than to align yourself with the stronger of the two and seek to control him through….eww gross incest.

But why would Jaime kill Cersei?  It’s clear throughout the WHOLE series that he loves her and has only ever been with her.  Cersei on the other hand, well, I’m pretty sure power is her only love.  Mayhap after Cersei refuses to step down after Tyrion attempts to use Jaime as a bargaining chip, Jaime would be motivated to kill her.  Maybe if she joins her forces with the Greyjoys through matrimony, it would be enough.  Or maybe, Jaime finally realizes that Cersei is not a good person and certainly not a peaceful ruler (a lot of people have been telling him that, after all).

Or maybe…hmmm.  You know, I am partial to Arya.  I really am.  And Cersei is on her list.  Maybe Jaime will die and Arya will use his face to fulfill the prophecy… ooooh wouldn’t that be awesome?

Either way, Cersei isn’t getting a happy ending.  Though I doubt that will happen this season.

5. What about the white walkers?

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I mean, these cold fools have been pretty quiet this season.  We know they’re making progress from north of the wall.  And we know – based on previews, that Beric Dondarrion is supposed to have a flaming sword…which I’d assume he could use against the white walkers. So, an easy prediction here – sometime before this season is out, we’ll see what the Night King has been up to. 🙂

But…rumor has it that they would cross the wall by the castle that Tormund Giantsbane is currently defending.  Does this mean that the man could perish??  Leaving us without his delightful fawning over Brienne?  Let’s hope not.  I really like that guy…

6. Grey Worm and Missandei

It finally happened.  You know what.  They never used to show that on TV or in movies, and even implying it would grant you a NC-17 rating.  So, when it did, I was literally squealing in my apartment.  Literal. Squeal.

But seriously – I’m really glad that these two characters were finally honest with each other about their feelings.  And the scene was done so very well.  You could see the longing and fear of rejection on Grey Worm’s face (it almost broke my heart), and then the sweetness and open honesty of their feelings.  Tots adorbs.  Thanks, HBO for granting us some sweet romance for two great characters – it was really lovely.

Speaking of which….

7. Jon and Daenerys

I feel like this is going to happen, folks.  I just have to wrap my head around that they’re related and it’s going to happen anyway.  Ugh.  The Targaryen’s are into that sort of thing though…  Maybe Bran will tell Jon beforehand, which should allow Jon to engage in what he does best – serious brooding.

Hope you’re looking forward to Sunday’s episode…I know I am. 🙂

write

“There is nothing to writing.  All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” -Ernest Hemingway

I don’t know if I could call myself a writer and not have that quote stir something within me.

Writing is no simple task.  Sometimes – as many authors know – it can serve as a kind of exorcism, as we surrender our fears and hopes to the page.

Sometimes the words, the motivations, the muse are all there at the same time – and the prose flows from fingers to the page.  More often, it can be like hacking through a nasty underbrush of words that just won’t come together and pages littered with the dreaded -ly’s.

Regardless, you walk away when it’s done having left a bit of yourself there – on the page.  

I’ve gone months, sometimes years without writing. But always, somewhere inside of me, there’s a yearning to fill an empty page with a story that has been rolling around inside of me.

Is it a need to share?  Or is it a desire to fill up a blank space with meaning – like a nervous babble to fill awkward silences?

I’ve grown restless these last few months without writing.  My fingers itch to weave thoughts into words, into stories.

Do you know the feeling?  …of a story somewhere taking shape?  Something slippery in the wet darkness that eludes capture….its tail tickling your legs as it speeds past to the hiding places just outside of reach.

Maybe I’m out looking for my story.  I’ve only to catch her, you see…

and to sit down at the typewriter and just, well…begin.

 

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On happiness

Today is National Happiness Happens Day 

As children, happiness comes easily – a funny sounding word, the sight of a puppy, or the first taste of candy.  But as adults, happiness can be more illusive.  We carve our lives into pieces, trying to determine if we have adequate amounts of happiness.  We ask ourselves hundreds of questions – does my job make me happy, am I happy with my weight, am I happy with what I look like, would I be happier if…?

It is important to ask ourselves these questions and to be the pilot of our lives, instead of a passenger.  But sometimes, too much awareness serves to make us more frustrated than happy.  While it’s important to be self-aware in life, I’ve found that performing a near-autopsy on every aspect of life and being overly hard on myself for being human can serve to drag me down instead of raising me up.

And sometimes despite our best efforts, fate seems to align the stars and planets to give you a spectacularly shitty day/month/year and even the most carefully deliberated decisions don’t seem to help.

Then what are we to do?  How can we find happiness?

Finding happiness is the great pursuit of our lives, the question we search to answer throughout our lives.

I answer this question for myself by taking pleasure in the small moments of happiness.  Small moments of happiness and of gratitude can find us anywhere – a bright and sunny day, cool breezes that caress your skin during an oppressively hot August, an extra few minutes of cuddling in bed before work, a smile from a friend, or the glistening layer of cheese on a New York or New Haven style pizza (this is true happiness btw).

Moments of happiness can happen all around us and sometimes they have the power to carry you through the day…which reminds me of a quote –

“It was only a sunny smile, and little it cost in the giving, but like morning light it scattered the night and made the day worth living.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

Here’s hoping that happiness finds its way to you today, and every day.

 

Gratitude

She told me to try to frame it in terms of gratitude. What was I thankful for as a result? What wouldn't I have if not for it happening?

"The upside of painful knowledge is so much greater than the downside of blissful innocence." – Sheryl Sandberg

I've a confession to make –
Sometimes, I miss the innocent way I used to view the world. The way I would jump headlong into something – full of optimism, brimming with trust.

I used to give the benefit of the doubt without a second thought.
I used to give away second chances like they were in a fire sale.

I used to have rose-colored glasses superglued to my face.

But then, it happened. There may be beauty in truth but there is ugliness there too – so jarring that it jolts us into a new reality.

A reality where a therapist asks you what the upside is, the things you can find to be grateful for as a result of it.

I smile.

I am grateful –

For freedom
For knowledge
For opened eyes
For relationships I've kept
For relationships I've built and rebuilt
For strength and resilience I didn't know I had.

For true happiness that only found me in my after.

For surviving and building something better inside myself.

Fan theories ahead of Season 7

Alright…on the glorious day of the Season Premiere, we must engage in fan-girling and fan theories.

1. The problem with with 2 extra dragons

So, we know Dany’s direwolf type of animal (familiar?) is a  dragon (Dragon). But who will the others form an attachment to?  I mean, it wasn’t until last season that we realized (for sure) that Daenerys isn’t the only Targaryen.

Despite that in the beginning I really, really wanted Jon Snow to secretly be the son of Robert Baratheon and Lyanna Stark.  Foolish, really.  After learning more, I slowly came around to the inevitability that he is the son of Lyanna and Rhaegar Targaryen.   As a result..I’m thinking that he gets to eventually ride Rhaegal, the dragon named for his father.  Maybe, Jon will even let Bran worg into the dragon, since Bran was promised to fly…

And that leaves Viserion without a rider.  Tyrion has always been the odd man out at house Lannister.  And like Jon, his mother died in childbirth – a terrible occurrence that has happened in the past to Targaryen’s.  Also, there was that bit about his father saying he was “no son of mine.” Maybe Tyrion is actually Daenerys’ half…brother?  If so, maybe he gets Viserion, the dragon named for her brother.  Tyrion did, after all, always want a dragon of his own and managed not to get eaten when he visited them last season.

2. ….and then there were two (direwolves)

Please, HBO and George R.R.  Please stop killing direwolves.  We’ve only two left – Ghost and Nimeria, who we haven’t seen since Season 1.  I’m thinking that Arya (our favorite badass assassin) will reunite with Nimeria at some point.  Really, it’s what I hope – but we can’t be too sure it’ll happen this season.

3.   Little Finger is still creepy as hell

This one is an easy prediction, I think Little Finger is going to continue to skulk about in the background, strategizing and whispering unhelpful things to Sansa.

4.  Family reunion

Speaking of Starks and direwolves….where is Arya going?  Is she traveling to Winterfell to reunite with Jon and Sansa? Or is she hell-bent on trimming down that list of hers?  Speaking of which….isn’t there a big character who is still on that list of hers?

5. Cersei and Jaime Lannister

So, neither of these two are going to win the game of thrones (obviously). But when will it all go down for them?  How will it happen? I’m hoping it’s Arya that gets Cersei, by the end of the season.  Maybe for the season finale?  

And what of Jaime?  Hmmm…unsure.  Out of the two, he’s more redeemable. So, maybe he’ll live through this season.

6. Also, where the heck is Gendry?

Last seen rowing away from a certain death, Gendry has been missing for quite some time. But who will come across him first and add him to their team – Jon, Davos, Arya? Or Beric Dondarrion with that badass, flaming sword of his?

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