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Take Time to Play

liebster2Today’s tip for writers is: take time to play.

We take time to write, improve our craft, publish and promote our words. We understand that there’s this word “social” in social media, but we get so serious about promoting that we for get to play. We forget to be social.

Within a span of two weeks, I’ve had two fellow bloggers reach out to me at Carrot Ranch with a Liebster Award. In essence, I was called up to play. Back in December I had a fellow writer surprise me with a Sisterhood Blogger Award. While I was thrilled and delighted, I failed to play.

And that’s not good for the writing soul. We need to take time away from our busy-bee business and interact with people as people (more than writers or readers, buyers or sellers). As one blogger told me, “It’s always a great feeling when we realize we’re not talking to thin air.” Yes, it’s a great feeling to be asked to play hopscotch on the playground instead of watching from the shadows.

Publicly, I have four writers to thank. Susan Zutautas of Everything Susan who calls me out daily to play while keeping her own writing energized and prolific. Thank you for the Sisterhood Award despite my fumbling the play. Lorraine Marie Reguly of Poetry Perfected for taking time to research and post what the Liebster Award is all about. Maggie (Cafe Maggieato) of Just Get it Written for honoring me with the first Liebster Award. Her blog is an inspiration to writers. Norah Colvin of Norah Colvin for honoring me with the second Liebster Award. Her blog is full of intelligence and educational advocacy. Thank you!

Yes, Writers, I hear the call to play and will respond with a post for each set of Liebster questions. To the rest of you out there, tapping away at keys, remember to pause and play. It just might refresh all your serious to-dos and writing!

Liebster Award — Just Get it Written Response

Liebster Award — Paying it Forward Response

Liebster Award Paying It Forward

Blogger Norah Colvin of Norah Colvin has honored me with my second Liebster Award, reminding me that bloggers can pay it forward. It’s an opportunity to read other bloggers and to be read. As part of the acceptance, she has posed the following questions to her nominees, which I have answered:

  1. What do you value most in life? I value living in such a way that I look for beauty all around me and find good even when life’s path gets rocky. It feels like a way to live truth. Not big truths, necessarily, but my own.
  2. What activities do you enjoy and why? Since I still love to dig in the dirt, I enjoy gardening and scrounging for rocks and old bits of broken glass. Activities that connect me to living in the moment are best; simple things like cooking and writing about the birds outside my window.
  3. What is something you wish you had more time for? I used to wish I had more time for writing, and now I do. I think we fill our lives with too much busy-ness. I’ve found that by taking time to stare at a sunset or falling snowflakes, I have all the time in the world. It’s what I do with it that matters.
  4. What is one change you would like to make in the world? I’d like to contribute to world change through one beautiful book at a time. It seems we have too many books embracing darkness, and I just want to honor the hero’s journey within us all and to actualize everyday beauty.
  5. What is something you would like to change about yourself? To stop worrying whether or not people approve of what I do. It’s a deep-seated issue that I work on rooting out and some days I do better than on others.
  6. What surprises you most about your life – something good in your life that you hadn’t expected, dreamed of or thought possible? Wow, if you would have asked my three years ago when I was going to take on the “writer’s life” I would have said, maybe in 20 years. Little did I know that an upheaval in my life would open the door for me to step into that writer’s life. It isn’t easy, but it is what I’ve dreamed of doing and I’m doing it.
  7. What ‘big” question do you often ponder? How do I listen to God’s calling and live in the light?
  8. What sorts of things amuse you? Silly little things amuse the daylights out of me. I have a quirky sense of humor that’s easily triggered. I laugh at things like realizing that my hubby and I forgot to drop off our trash at the dump before we drove into the mountains to fish. I laugh at the knowledge that it’s going to summon every grizzly bear in the region and I’m so scared of bears. All I can do is find amusement in the juxtaposition of garbage vs. bear-fear.
  9. What do you like to collect? Stuff from the ground that’s old–rocks, fossils, arrowheads, purple glass. I have a keen eye for these things. I have a large glass vase filled with old glass, buttons, marbles, tokens that I find while gardening or walking the pastures around the house. I have bowls and clusters of river rocks, fossils and Lake Superior agates and beach pebbles. Oh, and books!
  10. If you could talk with anyone and ask them to explain their ideas and/or actions, who would it be, and why? I’d love to talk to my 5th-great grandfather, James McCanless, and ask him why he left North Carolina. He was a poet and wrote such sad verse about leaving those mountains as an old man. I’d like to have coffee with him and talk about why we feel compelled to seek other places beyond what is familiar.
  11. What is something you can’t do without? Internet! Awful to admit, but I’d go crazy as an isolated writer in the Rocky Mountains without human connection, and the Internet provides that daily touch. Also, I’m not only compelled to write, I’m compelled to share what I write and read and comment on what others write.
  12. What is something important you learned about life, and how did you learn it? A life of truth is not an easy one. Some truths are scary, others humiliating, yet  truth sets us free. But many people cling to lies that they use to cover up truth. I’m drawn to people, artists and writers willing to be vulnerable in seeking their truth. This is why I’m drawn to  write fiction–I seek the truth that is revealed in the hero’s journey. I learned this the hardest way, being a survivor of incest. Such families are masterful at deceit. Seeking a different way became my own hero’s journey, and I successfully raised three children away from that family, thus breaking the cycle of lies and ugliness. But it’s hard, not to have a family of origin that I can trust.
  13. What is your earliest memory? One of my earliest memories is of a black cat that I coaxed into being a pet on a ranch where I lived the first seven years of my life. That cat made me feel safe.

The purpose of the Liebster award is to help discover new blogs. In keeping the engagement dynamic, I’d like to offer this nomination to the following bloggers who I’ve recently discovered their poetry and short stories, something that inspires me in pursuit of my own fiction. You can read their work at:

I Am A Writer, That’s What I Am is a terrific blog with stories, thought, photos and quotes. Truly it’s a well of inspiration. I’ve learned that creativity is a pool we swim in; if you don’t dive into its waters, you’ll never know. This is a blog that you can dive into and find out about yourself and your own writing.

A Little Bit of Poetry is a new blog by seasoned blogger, Susan Zutautas. This blogger is multi-talented from the kitchen to her writing space. She inspires me daily with her posts, recipes and poems. I have fun every Sunday with her on another blog (she’s prolific) but this new blog of hers is new and deserves discovering.

The Well Tempered Bards is an amazing blog of poetry. It’s the kind of poetry that seeps into your bones. You’ll discover many poets who make guest appearances so it offers a variety.

Squirrels in the Doohickey is great fun. I started grinning at the title and went into full-blown belly laughs as I read entries. This is a new blog to me, but I hope other will discover it too–sharp writing, well-branded and spot-on humor.

The Real Housewife is neither fiction nor poetry, but is so funny it should either be chick lit or a series of life’s limericks. Kelly finds funny anywhere, and her humor is scathing. She’s such a character she might show up in my fiction (just kidding…sort of…).

If you have been nominated you can choose to accept to play along, or not. No pressure. It’s a bit of fun, an opportunity to connect and can help spread knowledge of your blog. If I nominated you, it is because I do read your blog! If you accept, here are The Liebster Award Rules adapted from Wording Well:

  1. Each nominee should link back to the person who nominated them.
  2. Answer the 10 questions which are given to you by the nominator.
  3. Nominate 5-11 other bloggers for this award who have less than 1,000 followers.
  4. Create 10 questions for your nominees to answer.
  5. Let the nominees know that they have been nominated by going to their blog and notifying them.

Questions for my Liebster Award Nominees:

  1. Congratulations! You just won a Liebster Award. What award do you dream about winning?
  2. What compelled you to start a blog?
  3. How did you come up with the blog’s name?
  4. What else do you write?
  5. Why are you drawn to writing fiction?
  6. What is your favorite genre to read?
  7. What is your favorite writing snack?
  8. What is your strongest writing strength?
  9. How do you keep focused on your writing?
  10. Who is your favorite book character and why?

Liebster Award: Just Get it Written

liebster2Blogger Cafe Maggieato of Just Get it Written has honored me with a Liebster Award. It’s an opportunity to play with other bloggers, to know that I’m not writing into thin air. As part of the acceptance, she has posed the following questions to her nominees, which I have answered:

  1. Which fictional character do you most identify with and why? Laura Ingalls because I grew up in an old mining town surrounded by abandoned cabins, forgotten cemeteries and old-timers who told me about their childhoods on the “frontier.” So somehow, I felt connected to Laura Ingalls, as if her knowledge of old stuff and pioneer ways explained what was in my environment. There was an old Conestoga wagon on a ranch near my childhood house that I’d clamber up onto the seat–it was so tall–and I’d pretend that I was riding with Pa Ingalls to the next prairie farm or town.
  2. In another life, what would you be doing, if not writing? I’d be an archeologist! I love digging into dirt and the stories it can tell. I have an ability to find old stuff anywhere on the ground.
  3. Would you rather have a slow painful death by terminal disease or a quick death by accident? There’s a gift in each–slow and painful allows for introspection and more time with loved ones and quick is, well, quick! But either way, I want to live a worthy life breathing the essence of daily beauty.
  4. Your books are a big hit. Would you rather see it as a: (pick one only) movie, TV series, computer game, or a Broadway show? Why? Woohoo! I’d go for a movie because I’m into narrative and I think a movie would be the best medium for telling the book’s story.
  5. Admit it, you already have a dream cast in mind. Who are they? Yes, I do. Adam Beach will play Michael Robineaux and Evangeline Lilly will play Dr. Danni Gordon (who’s an archeologist). Purebred German Short-haired Pointers will have to be “discovered” for their roles.
  6. Any part(s) in your manuscript(s) you’ve been embarrassed to let your family/friends read? This is why writing romance novels is my “plan B” as a writer! Not so much from embarrassing scenes but from my husband’s sure-to-be-embarrassing reactions to me writing hot scenes. He’d be calling up army buddies…no we’re not going there.
  7. Was there ever a book you just couldn’t finish? Why not? “Moby Dick.” It was required summer reading for Honors English my freshman year of high school and I just couldn’t finish the darn book. Yet, I was able to discuss it in class…thus revealing a talent I have for skimming literature. That’s why a book has to grab me to really read it.
  8. What is the one thing you would never, ever let your characters do? I’d not let my characters be unflawed. I think our flaws, as well as our strengths, are what make us believable and interesting. What I want my characters to do is to overcome their situations despite their flaws not because they are perfect.
  9. What do you think is the most underrated book/movie? “Smoke Signals” got good reviews but is not that well known. Less known is the book it is based on–“The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven.” I blame Sherman Alexie for my momentary bouts of wanting to be a poet, then I come back to myself and remember that I’m a story-teller.  But I want to tell stories like Mr. Alexie! Lyrical, sharp, funny, tragic, true.
  10. Do you prefer happy endings or tragic ones? Why? I like books or movies that move me or convict me or challenge my thinking, but I hate tragic ending that leave me feeling hopeless or helpless. It’s not that I want the happy-ending, per say, but I want a sense of conclusion, of growth, of hope. There can be beauty in tragedy if the writer is adept.

The purpose of the Liebster award is to help discover new blogs. In keeping the engagement dynamic, I’d like to offer this nomination to the following bloggers who have become my core support group online:

Ruthi Reads Books for Kids has a strong mission to increase literacy one children’s book review at a time. It’s a blog that engages both readers and writers in the purpose of sharing children’s book. Anyone can recommend a book for Ruthi to review and you can contact her if you are an author of a children’s book. Reviewers can join her in her mission as the Books for Kids Contributor on Squidoo. If you are a writer, it’s a great way to link up with other writers and reviewers.

Review This! is a new blog that combines the blogging efforts of 12 Squidoo Contributors. This blog serves as an example of writers working together to share their contributions of knowledge in a variety of areas from romance to food to recycling. Each writer is an expert in their niche and I always learn something new or useful from this blog.

Doing’ Time on My Behind is a great name for a writer’s blog! As writers we have to put in the time writing, and blogger Dawn understands that. She recently held a book give-away on her blog in support of her Mid-Atlantic State Travel Contributions which I greatly enjoy reading to learn about this region. We share a passion for digging in the dirt, too.

Weeds and Seeds is a great blog full of useful information on plants and herbs not readily found on other gardening sites. As I plan for my garden (and filling some of those wild spaces) the archives of this blog will be useful.

Fun Food Network has a line up of tabs that includes cupcakes, candy & snacks, and bread & breakfast. That’s my idea of fun food! Plus the posts are easy to follow with tutorials involved. It’s a beautiful blog for food.

If you have been nominated you can choose to accept to play along, or not. No pressure. It’s a bit of fun, an opportunity to connect and can help spread knowledge of your blog. If I nominated you, it is because I do read your blog! If you accept, here are The Liebster Award Rules adapted from Wording Well:

  1. Each nominee should link back to the person who nominated them.
  2. Answer the 10 questions which are given to you by the nominator.
  3. Nominate 5-11 other bloggers for this award who have less than 1,000 followers (this number is flexible).
  4. Create 10 questions for your nominees to answer.
  5. Let the nominees know that they have been nominated by going to their blog and notifying them.

Questions for my Liebster Award Nominees:

  1. Congratulations! You just won a Liebster Award. What award do you dream about winning?
  2. What compelled you to start a blog?
  3. What has been your most memorable blogging experience?
  4. What else do you write?
  5. If you could watch the sunrise with anyone, who would that be and why?
  6. What is your favorite genre to read?
  7. What is your favorite writing snack?
  8. What is your strongest writing strength?
  9. How do you keep focused on your blogging?
  10. Who is your favorite book character and why?

Thanks for taking time to play!