Posted in books, Career, continuing education, Cozy Cat Press, Destinee Faith Miller Mystery, Explaining the Strange Behavior, School, The Book, Thor, Tiara Trouble, writing

Terrifying Tiara Trouble and Thanks

I have great news!  TIARA TROUBLE, the first in the Destinee Faith Miller Mystery series, will be available for purchase on 10/28/2013.  Eee!


And that’s the cover, right there!  All Destinee’d up with her signature pink and zebra.  You knew Destinee’s signature colors were pink, black, and zebra, right?  Unlike her trampy arch-nemesis, Tishelle Tucker, whose signature colors are red, black, and leopard.

So, now with a release date set, and behind the scenes plans going into action, I will admit to you that I am scared.  What if it flops?  What if people hate it?  Why did I write so many words?  Is anyone going to get my sense of humor?  What if I’m not a good writer?

A lot of what-ifs, people.  Ultimately, if it flops, it flops, and if people hate it, they hate it.  I wrote so many words because they seemed necessary at the time, and if I continued to second guess myself, it would have been whittled down to the length of a magazine article.  If no one gets my sense of humor, that’s fine–like that hasn’t happened before.  I’m okay with the sound of crickets.  And, I know I write well.  Whether, or not other people agree that I write novels well is yet to be seen.

I think I got so used to people telling me that I wasn’t ever living up to my fullest potential that I never think my efforts are my best.  Or, maybe I’m afraid they are.  And if they are, what does that mean?  Does that mean I am not the rare Sparklefly my mother thinks I am?!

I think about that a lot when it comes to how I parent.  I see a lot of myself in Thor.  He is an exceptionally smart child, and he is an exceptionally creative daydreamer–those two things don’t add up to Straight A Student.  That doesn’t mean he isn’t living up to his fullest potential, though.  That means that this is his groove.

Grades don’t show potential.  Grades show self-discipline.  Kind of like being an accomplished musician is different from being a talented musician.  You can be taught to play anything.  You can’t be taught to create.  What is ideal is when you have the self-discipline to make the grades, and the potential to turn that self-discipline/learning into something.

I tell Thor that he must strive for excellence.  I expect him to try his hardest, and not give up.  I don’t expect him to make perfect scores, but I expect him to work toward getting things right–he should want to get things right.  I don’t expect him to be the top of his class, all honors, everybody’s all-American.  I expect him to fully utilize his resources, and do the work.  Where he lands, he lands.*

I have, and will continue to impress upon him that education/school is what gives you the tools to build a future.  Does he want a brain that is like the little pig who built his house out of straw, or does he want a brain that is like the little pig who built his house out of bricks?  Well, he has to have to right tools to build the kind of brain he wants, and the right tools are often heavy and take more effort to lift.

Writing this, I am thinking about the wonderful teachers I had, who outweighed the awful ones.  Good teachers are brain-tool salesmen, who make you think you can’t live without knowing how to parse a sentence, or solve a quadratic equation.  You just have to have that ability to name the colors in the rainbow!  You absolutely MUST get in on that ability to recite the Gettysburg Address!  You cannot possibly go another day without reading The Scarlet Letter!  Because good teachers get you to buy in to the mental body building it takes to wield the tools, and the stamina necessary to keep going.

It isn’t necessary to be a sparklefly.  Sparklefly is only good for so much.  But it is necessary to build a solid foundation and the self-discipline to put that foundation to work.  Enough elbow grease can shine up an ordinary fly to look sparkly.

I worked hard at TIARA TROUBLE, and I’m not going to lie and tell you I didn’t on the chance that it fails.  You know, so I could say, “Well, it’s not like it was my best effort.”  I honestly don’t know what my best effort looks like.  All I can tell you is that I worked very hard and I am proud of the result, and I really hope you like it.  I hope it makes you laugh.  I like it.  I’ve had to read it about 60 times now, and I still make myself laugh.

So, thank you Mrs. Farr, Mrs. Mendina, Dr. Chaisson, Dr. Morris, Mrs. Monroe, Mrs. Anderson, Mr. Cargile, Mrs. Mack, and Mrs. Barnes.  You were excellent brain-tool salespeople, and the fact that I am a functioning adult, much less a published author at all is a credit to your mad skillz.


*There is no Tiger to this Mom.  That might not be something to be proud of, I don’t know.  I guess I’ll find out in about 20 years.



Posted in continuing education, Explaining the Strange Behavior

Exit Stage Left

To audition for community theater, or not?  All my excuses for not doing it have evaporated in the past year, or so.

I haven’t auditioned for any stage work since college.  The last stage audition I did was for Into the Woods, where I blew my 2nd callback.  It was one of those things where, while it was happening, I knew it was happening and I couldn’t stop it.  It was like hitting a bum note that you have to hold a while, and not being able to correct that sucker back into tune.  The director asked for a second interpretation of a delivery, and I did the EXACT SAME THING again.  Twice more.  I could not physically change my delivery and it was amazing in how awful it was.

The director and I were locked on each other’s eyes, and he was looking at me like I was some kind of bad American Idol audition joke, and I was looking at him like I knew it.  Train wreck.

I did get a part, but I turned it down because I chickened out.  I was afraid I was going to have another acting-stroke, only in front of the audience.

Since then, I’ve excused myself because either I was too busy, lived too far away from any theater, or had a very small child.  Now, I live 1/2 a mile from the theater, have the time, and my child is old enough to either sit and read during rehearsals, or hang out at home with Daddy–those are good excuses to cover up the reason:  I’m afraid I don’t have the chops anymore.  I’m afraid of being rejected.  I’m afraid of not being Meryl Streep–I shouldn’t be afraid of this because I have never been, nor will I ever be an actor of that caliber.

Anyway, since it’s fear that has kept me away, I think I should face it and get my butt down to the auditions in two weeks.  Worst case scenario, I freeze up and some people giggle at me behind my back.  Best case scenario, I get the part I want and spend the run of the show making people laugh.  Likeliest scenario, I earn a part in the ensemble, make a few new friends, and have a laugh myself.

Posted in continuing education

Books Make me Bounce

It is no secret that I loved college.  I loveloveloved college.  I was like a kid in a candy store with a course catalog.  All this learning?  Available?  For me?!  No kidding?!  I can take Russian?  And Ancient Greek?  You mean I can just sit around and read books, then write what I think about those books and you’ll give me a degree?!  For real?!  You will give me course credit for scuba diving?  And tap dancing?  And for taking a class called Psychopathology in Literature which amounted to going into one of my favorite professor’s office for 3 hours a week to talk about how effed up Nathaniel Hawthorne was?  How is this not glorious? 

There was nothing not glorious about college to me.  Even when I was failing Honors Biology for the second time (it helps to go to your labs, kids.  turns out they aren’t kidding about that.) and eeking my way through College Algebra, I was loving every second of it.  Part of that love came by way of the Blimpie sandwich shop on campus.  When Pizza Hut moved in…woohoo!  Subs AND pizza?  And I never even had to leave campus?!

I was a happy college camper, as evidenced by the fact that it took me 5 years to complete my degree plan.  I’d have stayed another couple of years, just for fun.

I’m not saying it wasn’t hard work.  College Algebra nearly killed me.  My upper level Classics classes were incredibly difficult (and I had the best professor of my life for those.), and I cried my way through the last of my Lit classes.  Still, the idea that I could go somewhere and LEARN as much as I wanted to?  And be with other people who were also trying to learn something?  And have conversations with those people about the things we were learning?  You’ve seen a Boxer dog get excited (if you haven’t, click here)?  Well, that was pretty much me on the inside–every day.  I did try to play it cool, but…well…WHEEBOUNCE!

I’m pretty excited to be taking a class that starts in February.  It’s a Spanish class geared for the workforce, so nothing exciting (and of all the languages I’ve studied, Spanish is my least favorite so I feel a little sad that it isn’t one I like more) but…wheebounce!  College!  Whee!