More Happiness

I find that I prefer to make up worlds and write copious amounts about them but am generally hesitant to share much about myself. Other things are just so much more interesting. Most of my adventure is found is books I read and books I write though I certainly plan to get out more this year.

It’s funny how the first of the year, which is technically just another day, holds so much significance and value in the achievement of the time to come.

And I like it.

No matter what successes, heartaches or failures we have experienced in the past, we can always learn from those heartaches and take strength in those successes and move forward with plans and hopes for the future. The one thing we can do is live each day like a stepping stone and get as much done as possible toward those purposes we’ve set out for ourselves.

That said, I wish you all a year filled with more happiness than sadness and more gain than loss. May you all attain your dreams!

Cheers!

❤ Lisa

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Colleen Gleason – The Gardella Vampire Hunter series

Ok, so I’m a little starstruck. I secretly hope that one day, someone feels the same way about me as an author. I read a five book series within two weeks. That meant I read later than I should, that I took one day and did nothing but read and that my family received the fasted meals and conversations that I could get away with while I burned through these books.

I give you…the Gardella Vampire Hunter series by Colleen Gleason (To get it, go HERE and scroll down a bit. Plus at this writing, the first book is FREE on Amazon.)

Book 1: The Rest Falls Away
Book 2: Rises the Night
Book 3: The Bleeding Dusk
Book 4: When Twilight Burns
Book 5: As Shadows Fade

I tend to write by the seat of my pants. I follow the character around and write what I see them doing or saying. Sometimes they get into trouble, sometimes they find love and sometimes I make them go back and start over again because I have no idea what just happened.

I am in the middle of co-writing a book with the amazing Rhiannon Matlock and we’ve planned out the majority of what’s to come which gives a beautiful time line to work from. I aspire to just get close to what Colleen Gleason has done with the Gardella Vampire Hunter series and the planning she must have put into it. She has twists and turns and fun and drama and romance and stuff that makes you cry and morn a deep loss – all of it written by this one truly amazeballs person who came up with this stuff, planned it out and wrote it down for the rest of us to enjoy. And enjoy I did.

So I posted about it. I reviewed it on Goodreads and Amazon. I followed her on FB. I followed her on Twitter and then tweeted about the awesomeness. And then she tweeted me an acknowledgement. I LOVE that. I have only had that happen one other time and that was by another amazeballs author, Kevin Hearne.

I noticed that she had a appearance coming up and would be doing a book signing. In MI. Not only is it really cold there, it’s really far away from me basking in my one week of nice “winter” weather here in Florida. So I am wondering, where can I get a hold of some signed books? I want. So I tweeted a question on that. And while I waited for a response – I notice that she followed me back. SQUEE!! I feel like a rock star. I wonder if she’d ever vacation in Florida and need a place to stay? I could probably find a place for my daughter to live for a few days. <joke honey!>

Anyway, so she answers with the great news that she’d be happy to send sign books (which ones do I want and where are they going so she can figure out price etc.) so I tell my family that this is what I need for Christmas. Sure enough, my son rises to the occasion and the SIGNED books are en route. **YAY!**

Anyway, just want to say READ THIS SERIES NOW. Because it’s fun and adventurous and you need it.

Thank you.

Surprising Emotion:: YA Books by Heather Gunter

NOTE: Emotional chickness following. You have been warned.

I recently picked up YA Novel “Love Notes” by Heather Gunter. I saw it listed in my BookBub email and it looked like a cute young adult romance featuring a girl with low self-esteem finding happiness. You won’t know it by meeting me now but when I was a teenager, I had some very down years with low self-esteem, just knowing that I was not smart and wouldn’t ever really fit it. I was shy and would steer clear of any confrontation – just couldn’t stand up for myself. I once had a bully follow me home after school, I was on my bicycle, and she actually came along side me and kicked my bike. Of course, me and the bike came crashing down though surprisingly I came out ok. She and her posse laughed and called me names and left. I hurried home and never said a word.  So the book blurb spoke to me. I read it in one sitting, a few hours with a cup of tea snuggled in my bed.

Turns out the book wasn’t just about a teen with low self-esteem but about a teen who experienced verbal abuse on a daily basis. Real nasty stuff that made my skin boil. I really did understand. I also really understand the value of a good friend. I was really lucky to have some good friends as a nerdy kid and later found some amazing, supportive friends that I still have to this day. I found a couple in the mix as I went that didn’t really fit the bill, hiding in plain sight while being a verbal abuser of those around. Those ones get kicked to the curb when I find them but I can honestly say I have some of the best friends a girl could have now and quite a few of them. (**Thanks guys, I love you**)

The book really hit a chord with me emotionally as I am sure you can tell. So I, of course, had to pick up book two in the series. “Heartstrings”

Um, yeah, read this one in one morning. The second book featured a girl who had been raped. Now I have actually experienced date rape but when it happened to me, I was so shocked that I didn’t struggle, it really was a surreal moment. He dropped me off at home and I never spoke to him again. Luckily for me, it was not my first time and he wasn’t a brutal, pain lusting freak, no he was just a horny asshole who pushed himself on a shy girl who was caught off guard. I’m so not that girl anymore and it was a sucky moment in my life but it did not have the effect on me like the emotion and broken heart effect that I read in the book “Heartstrings”.  Honestly, I can’t even tell you how many times I had to wipe the tears away so  I could keep reading.

Then at the end, the author shares that she wrote her own story, surviving rape, into the character and you really could feel it. I cried again after I read that. So I just wanted to shout out to all you ladies, and I am sure there are men too that quietly have had horrid experiences like this, you are survivors – not victims and I for one am proud for each and every one of you who has dusted off your knees, given the finger to the past and moved on to create a future that makes you happy. **Well done.**

 

More Writing Exercise Fun

I thought I would share a few more of my favorite writing exercises from meetings with my writers group, the Ink Slinger Guild.

The Ink Slingers Guild meet roughly every two weeks and one of the fun things we do is an exercise where  three or four members each pick one word. Those words are shared with the group and a timer is set for five – eight minutes. Laying pen to paper or tapping with fervor on their keyboards each person writes as much as they can in that time, but it must include those words. The best part is the sharing of these compositions, often hilarious and always inspiring!

We share them every week here: www.InkSlingersGuild.com

Today I decided that I wanted to share some personal favorites of mine. Below I will list three words and right below the blurb I threw together. I hope you enjoy them!

  • Music
  • Earring
  • Current

Blue watched the river flow into her village from the tall oak. The current had swept away the only life she had ever known. Seelie, her brother was cradled asleep in her arms. Hours had passed since the flooding had started. Wondering what magic had gone so wrong, Blue glanced one branch above and met the eyes of her animal bond. The young leopard raised a sleepy eye and winked before dosing again. Tears were dried and forgotten on her face when she heard the music. A taunting melody that came in softly and tried to curl your heart. Fear touched her. She felt her pocket and was relieved to find the earring still safely tucked away. The other was long lost but this piece of magic was hers and hers alone to call on.

As the music came closer, her skin started to crawl. Her leopard jumped up and growled. Death was coming.

  • Rooster
  • Office
  • Reset

Skim stared at the broken mug on the floor, the terror crawling up his back as he made out the picture of the rooster on the smooth porcelain. His legs started to shake as he glanced up to the closet on the office wall. He had only 45 minutes before her return. Forty-five minutes to sure death. Numb, he walked out into the dimly corridor and made his way outside. The bright sun scorched his eyes but he barely squinted as he he turned down the street.

She would find him, of that he was certain. He had tried to reset life once before leaving him with a scar down his back the size of his arm. Something banged into him and he stumbled, almost falling into the busy street. An arm grabbed him, pulled him into the shade. Skim looked up into the pale eyes of a Fallen.

  • Historical
  • Map
  • Teeth

Grayson analyzed the teeth under his paraviewer. The soft glow confirmed his suspicion. They were definitely not from this planet, at least not natively. Quivering at the historical find, he grabbed his comm. To pull up the area map. A perimeter would have to be ordered immediately. The coorindates were key. He had just finished plotting the last line when a familiar hand brushed the back of hisneck. He leaned into Sammi and sighed.

“Well?” she asked.

“I was right.” He whispered. Her hands gripped his shoulders, a silent jump for joy. Grayson grinned, knowing her mind had probably already plotted the entire escavation.

“What do you think it is?”

Grayson leaned down to look at the teeth again. He shrugged. “They resemble dragon in shape but not in size. I really don’t know, babe.”

  • Milk
  • Blood
  • Eyeglass

The only evidence of Sal’s visit was the eyeglass on the counter. Abbey picked it up and placed it gently in her cabinet next to a lovely silver pocket watch and an old antique cufflink set. She blew a particle of dust from the shelf before closing the glass door. As she pulled her hand away she caught the remnant of blood beneath one of her nails. Frowning, she swept over to the sink to remove the foul stuff of man. After inspecting her hands closely, she went to the fridge and pulled out the milk and a package of Girl Scout cookies. Settling down on the couch she smiled and took her first bite. She sent a thought of happiness to the cute little girl next door, the seller of these delicious morsels and hoped she wouldn’t miss her father too much.

© 2014 Lisa Barry

Writers Group Magic

Roughly every two weeks my writers group, The Ink Slingers Guild, get together and meet. At the meetings there are anywhere between 2 and twelve (ish) people that stop by my house to bask in each others writerly greatness. Sometimes we get scooped up from the concrete where a “friendly” relative has “accidentally” smashed us, sometimes we toot our horns at some amazingness that we were responsible for and other times we just rib each other to close to death.

However it ends up, there are certain elements that are at every meeting.

We ALWAYS set a “conquest” that we plan on going for before the next meeting. At the beginning of each meeting we cover the conquests and high five each other for those who made it and give empathetic nods to those who don’t. We NEVER beat up each other for not hitting a target. We are here to hold each other up and anything that detracts from that is not welcome.

One or more of us will often bring a quote or a story that is built to raise your outlook, pump you up or help the writer in some fashion. So we read those out loud and than look at each other with slitted eyes, ready to pounce on anyone who tries to put themselves down. Go ahead. Try it. We will take you down and then throw you right back up again. [Please do try this at home – works miracles.]

Then we do writing exercises. These are so friggin fun I can hardly stand it. If you take a looky over here, you’ll see we have pages of them.

We end off each meeting by filling out our Conquests for the next meeting. The only thing I think I left out is that goodies to eat are always welcome. One of our members (DragonBeck!) bakes creations that we can only wonder what elfin creature she apprenticed under as the result is like the Fae version of crack.

Oh, and I always make tea. Tea is our friend. I currently have the group addicted to Bengal Spice by Celestial Seasoning. Which by the way if you’re a Chai tea fan, you will taste Bengal Spice and be ruined since it is about 100 times better. [wink]

All of that said, I have the absolute best, most productive and most uplifting writers group and I am extremely thankful to call them my friends and colleagues.

Yes, I mentioned most productive. Our group has put out three books since 2012 and have two scheduled this year. We HAVE SO MUCH FUN. Yeah, we rock.

[Love.]

P.S. In my next post I intend to put up some of my most favoritist writing exercises in case you want to check ’em out.

Some artistic inspiration

Yesterday my writers group had our annual book release BBQ (celebrating our Anthology which I mention here). I always do a toast to everyone involved and this year I chose to read a bit from author Chuck Wendig’s blog:

“Don’t feel like you have to write just one thing. Write the things that make you twitch and smile and scream and clamp your teeth. Write those things to which your heart and soul respond. Write to your loves. Write to your fears.

Say things with your work. Make the words about something. About more than just what’s on the page.

When you have a novel you love and trust: seek an agent. Or self-publish. Choose a path and then choose the other path later down the line to mix it up. Seek diversity. Aim for potential and possibility.

Hell with the doubters.

Down with the haters.

If this is something you really want to do, do it.

Embrace the fear.

And write.

Good luck.”

You can find the entire post from Chuck here:

Thank you, Chuck for the inspiring words!