Monday, July 30, 2012

Fun Facts about August

Before I start this week's blogpost, I just want to share some really awesome news. We have a new addition to our family!

Caleb Robert Stanley

He was born 2 weeks early on July 29, 2012. He weighed in at 6lbs. 5ozs and measured 18.5 inches. Our first grandson is a healthy baby, and we're excited beyond belief. So yup, I'm a Grandma! I can't wait to read the little guy some bedtime stories.

Now, on to this week's post:

August was named in honor of Augustus Caesar. The month of August was the time of several of his great triumphs, including the conquest of Egypt.

August is the eighth month of the year and has a length of 31 days. 

In common years, no other month starts on the same day of the week as August, but in leap years, February starts on the same day.

Those born in the beginning of August are under the sign of Leo, and those born after the 21st are born under Virgo.

The birthstone is the peridot or onyx, and the birth flower is gladiolus or poppy.

Important Days in August:

First Week in August--World Breastfeeding Week. 
                                     Sturgis Motorcycle Rally
                                     Indian Week for the Penobscot Tribe in Old Town, ME
                                     Pennsic War-a medieval gathering event of the Society for Creative Anachronism 

First Weekend in August--Twins Days. Celebrated in Twinsburg, OH.
                                            The Bon Festival. A traditional Japanese Buddhist custom which evolved into a family reunion holiday.

August 6--Wiggle Your Toes Day

August 13--National Left-handers Day (Thanks, Courtney!)
August 15--National Relaxation Day

August 26--Go Topless Day. Coincides with Women's Equality Day. The main rally will take place in Washington, DC this year, where they will present President Obama with a petition. Participants are welcome to go fully topless or to wear red tape over their nipples. (!)

August is the National Month for:

Immunization Awareness
Water Quality
Back to School (for some US districts)
American Adventures
Audio Appreciation
Happiness Happens

Some Famous Birthdays:

August 1--Herman Melville (1819-1891)
August 2--James Baldwin (1924-1987)
August 4--Percy Blythe Shelley (1792-1822) Husband of Mary Shelley.
August 6--Lord Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892)
August 12--Robert Southey (1774-1843) Poet laureate for 30 years, he penned the rhyme What are little boys made of?
August 22--Dorothy Parker (1893-1967)
                  Ray Bradbury (1920-2012)
August 24--Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986)
August 30--Mary Shelley (1797-1851)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Spreading The News--July 2012

Wow! I haven't done one of these posts since April! I've been saving up so much good stuff for you. So, let's get right to it.

Markets For You:

Prime Number Magazine--Publishes distinctive fiction, non-fiction, poetry, reviews, interviews, and essays on craft, from both emerging and established writers.

Pedestal Magazine--(Deadline August 13) Looking for stories of 1500 words about Mark Nipple. Check out their website to read Mark Nipple's background. Pays $.05 per word.

Fiction Fix--An online journal that publishes short fiction, short-short fiction, and novel excerpts in traditional or experimental form.

Penumbra--Speculative fiction e-mag has their theme list for 2013 listed on their website. Pays $.05 per word.

330 Words--a blog for writers with a digital phone or camera phone. Take a photo and write a piece of fiction under 330 words.

Spellbound Magazine--This fantasy magazine for children, a Kickstarter project, is looking for poems and stories up to 2500 words. Pays 2.5 cents/word and $10 for poems under 8 lines!

Rainstorm Press--Publishes a variety of genres and also has a few anthologies they are looking to fill.

Writing Resources:

Writer's Digest Has a YouTube Channel--Subscribe to the channel to find tutorial video clips full of helpful information.

Creative Writing Exercises--This site has eight exercises designed to improve your writing quality and enjoyment.

Easy Street Prompts--Offers visual prompts and photographs to inspire you.

Plot Whisperer--Having a problem with your plot? Martha Alderson can help you with all your dilemmas.

Fun Stuff:
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words--Take Two Publishing is running a contest. Take a look at the picture, compose a short story of 1000 words, and you could win an interview promoted on Twitter and Facebook, a two minute YouTube video, a $25 Amazon gift card, and a 'Writer's kit.' Hurry! The contest ends August 31, 2012.

Cafe Press Writer's Gifts--Clocks, totes, magnets, decals, t-shirts...Lots of fun stuff for your favorite writer.

Brain Pickings--Browse their website and make sure you sign up for their awesome newsletter.

Upcycle Your Old T-shirts--Have some treasured t-shirts that you can't bear to part with? Why not upcycle them into a scarf, blanket or tote bag? Daily Grommet has some really great products. Sign up for their weekly e-mail and be in the know about their cool stuff.

That's all I've got for you right now. Have fun checking out these websites!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Versatile Blogger Award

I received an award from Julie over at Julie Rose Sews. You really should visit her blog. She's a sweet and beautiful young designer who just graduated from the Fashion Institute. She makes the prettiest little things and sells them on her Etsy shop, AND she has the most charming blog posts. Thank you for the award, Julie!

Ok, so here are the rules. The recipients of this award are supposed to mention 7 random facts about themselves, choose 15 other bloggers to award, and let them know via blog comment that they've been picked.  This took me awhile. I had a hard time thinking of 7 random facts! But, here they are:

1. I like scratchy washcloths. I hate those washcloths that are all soft and fluffy and velour-like, and never feel like they do anything but glide soap all over you. I like to feel like I'm taking off that entire layer of dead skin.

2. I still have a flip phone. Yeah, yeah. I know what you're going to say, "Everybody has a smart phone!" Well, I don't, and I don't really want one. I'm already distracted enough. I will fight it to the bitter end.

3. I cry at weddings. I can't help it. Even if I don't really know the bride and groom, I cry. No. I sob at wedding ceremonies. (I did at mine too!) And the father/daughter dance?  Forget it! I'm a basket case. Probably because I never got to dance with mine, so hopefully Amanda gets the privilege, but her whacko mother will be wailing, so the band better play very loud.

4. I cannot 'go commando.' I've tried. I can't. I don't understand how people do it. Ok, that was really random. I'll stop now.

5. I love incense. Every Saturday, after I dust and vacuum, I burn a small stick in each room. I like almost all the scents, but my favorite is good old sandalwood.

6. I have a crush on Mike Holmes, Troy Landry, Captain Jack Sparrow and Hugh Laurie

7. I've hung out and had drinks with: Mason ReeseGervase from Survivor (First season), and several members of the Chippendales. Not all in one night, though.

Okay. Now there's no way for me to come up with 15 nominations, so I'm going to introduce you to some of the new blogs I follow. Here are the nominations...

Mel's Madness

Our Lost Jungle



Finding Bliss


Monday, July 16, 2012

In Over My Head (Book Thoughts)

There was a time when I could read three novels a week, but lately I've noticed that my 'To be read' pile is multiplying like stink bugs on a sunny window in Autumn. Sorry, that was a regional joke--okay--multiplying like rabbits.

I love to read! No, really I do! I bumped up my Booksfree membership a few years ago to have six books at a time at home. That way I never have to wait for a book shipment. When Amanda moved back home for awhile, she brought home three boxes of books. Friends of ours boxed up all of their books, and I grabbed a whole box full of those golden nuggets for myself. After weeding through all of those boxes, and keeping only what I really wanted to read, this is what I have:

Over six feet of books! (Definitely over my head!) That's almost 7,200,000 words! This pile includes the last three books in Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, the last three books in the Harry Potter series, and that's right, the Twilight boxed set is in there. I said I'd read it, but I don't know when I'll get to it.

That pile doesn't include my fairy books, books on Egyptology, Stonehenge, the 'What Life Was Like In...' series, my reference books, and of course--

my magazines! In this pile are my Writer's Digest, The Writer, Poets & Writers, Good Housekeeping, O, National Geographic, Time, MotorAge (I also need to stay on top of the automotive repair industry) AARP, and a few NY Times Magazines.

I also have about 30 books loaded onto my Kindle Fire. I stopped scrambling for the freebies that were offered because I felt guilty about not doing a timely review after the download. But aside from completing an adorable short story, The Imaginary Friend by Kelly Hashway ( through to get your free copy!) I haven't had a chance to read them, let alone post a review.

Reading is such an important part of being a writer, and I know I have to carve out time for it. So, I am actually making a conscious effort to read more--a magazine a day (they keep coming!) and at least an hour each night on the books. I'll have to alternate between the Kindle books and the monster pile.  I never thought I'd have to reprimand myself about not reading enough but there just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day. I can barely get my laundry done!

I would love to take a sabbatical from work until my pile is cleared up, but I don't think John would appreciate that. Nor the mortgage company. Now, if could just win the never know, but during the next couple of weeks, I promise to have read a book that I can talk about in next month's 'Book Thoughts' post.

What about you? Do you read enough? How tall is your 'To be read' pile?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Author Spotlight--Rebecca Besser

Rebecca Besser is the author of the zombie novella, "Undead Drive-Thru" and "Nurse Blood," and a graduate of the Institute of Children's Literature. Her work has appeared in the Coshocton Tribune, Irish Story Playhouse, Spaceports & Spidersilk, joyful!, Soft Whispers, Illuminata, Common Threads, Golden Visions Magazine, Stories That Lift, Super Teacher Worksheets, Living Dead Press Presents Magazine (Iss. 1 & 2), FrightFest eMagazine, An Xmas Charity Ebook, The Stray Branch, and The Undead That Saved Christmas (Vol. 1 & 2), the Signals From The Void, and Save The Chapel charity anthologies. She has multiple stories in anthologies by Living Dead Press, Wicked East Press, Pill Hill Press, Hidden Thoughts Press, Knight Watch Press, Coscom Entertainment, Crowded Quarantine Publications, and Collaboration of the Dead (projects), and one (each) in an anthology by Post Mortem Press and NorGus Press. She also has a poem in an anthology by Naked Snake Press.

She's also an editor and has edited: Dark Dreams: Tales of Terror, Dead Worlds 7: Undead Stories, and Book of Cannibals 2: The Hunger from Living Dead Press; Earth's End from Wicked East Press; End of Days: An Apocalyptic Anthology (Vol. 4 & 5/co-edited) from Living Dead Press; and she's currently editing It's Weighing On You Mind from Hidden Thoughts Press, and co-editing Beneath The Pretty Lies from Wicked East Press.

When she's not busy writing and/or editing, she's formatting book covers, building/maintaining websites, and writing book reviews.

For more information, visit her website:
I met Rebecca, the Diva of Horror, a few years ago, through ICL's forum. I love her twisted mind! I say that affectionately, of course, but really...this woman's horror can scare the crap out of you! If you are following her on Facebook, you know she's a busy woman with so many accomplishments. She's here today to chat with us.

~Hi Becca! Tell us when and why you became a writer.
Bec: In my opinion, you don't 'become' a writer. You either are one or you aren't. There are either words spinning inside you, fighting to get out, or there aren't. That being said... I was born a writer. It's a gift given to me by God. :)

~I've been to your website, and was blown away. Not just by the amount of credits you have under your belt, but also the variety--children's stories and poetry, adult poetry, horror, hint fiction, photography, cover art...and the list goes on! Is there any one genre you haven't written? Why not?
Bec: I don't think I've written a mystery yet... Well, not completed one anyway. I have a MG mystery started that I need to finish. I even have a Christian Fantasy novel started! LOL

~Of all your publishing credits, which is your favorite, and why?
Bec: Favortie credit? Hmmm.... I'm going to have to say the Earth's End anthology. I have a story in it and edited the collection. What most people don't know about that book is that it was my personal project and got dumped by a press because the owner and I had a personal falling out (which was COMPLETELY unfair to the authors who were accepted). I fought hard and found a new press to publish it so that the authors in it weren't let down.

~By the way, I have a copy of that anthology on my TBR pile!
Not only are you a writer, but you're also an editor. When you put on your editor cap, what is your biggest pet-peeve about other people's work?
Bec: Everything. Commas and tenses are the most common mistakes though.

~Tell us about your hidden talent.
Bec: Hidden talent? You mean I'm hiding something?! DAMN! Now I'll have to find it! :p

~I envy your ambition. You're a wife and mother, a blogger, a writer, a photographer, and an editor. Do you keep to a schedule? Give us your best tip on keeping balance.
Bec: Best tip? Don't give up when life gets crazy. There are times I have no time for ANYTHING! So, no, right now I have no real schedule. I do things when I can, but you should know I'm a great multi-tasker, so I do lots of things at once. Maybe that's my secret... hehehe

~Tell us about your next project.
Bec: My online serial novel, "Nurse Blood," is now complete, so I need to write the extra novella of content for the book (when it's released). I'll also be starting on my zombie novel series, "The Hunger Plague." ;)

~Thanks again, Becca, for taking time out of your busy schedule. You can learn more about Rebecca Besser, and also get blown away by all of her publications, by visiting her website.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Fun Facts About July

July, named after Julius Caesar, who was born on the twelfth of July, is the seventh month of the year. It is also one of seven months with 31 days. On average, July is the warmest month of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.

July starts on the same day of the week as April in a common year, and the same day of the week as January in leap years. 

July's birthstone is ruby, which symbolizes contentment, and it's birth flowers are the Larkspur or the Water Lily. 

Those born in the beginning of the month are born under the sign of Cancer, while those born later in the month are considered Leo.

Famous Birthdays:

July 3--Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860)

July 4--Neil Simon (1927)

July 5-- Jean Cocteau (1889)

July 15--Iris Murdoch (1919)
              James Baldwin (1971)

July 21--Ernest Hemingway (1899)

July 24--Alexandre Dumas (1802)

July 26--Aldous Huxley (1894)

July 28--Beatrix Potter (1866)

July 30--Emily Bronte (1818)

July 31--JK Rowling (1965)

Events in July:

Pleasure Week. July 1-7.
Canada Day. July 1. Commemorates the day, in 1876, that three colonies were united in what is now known as Canada.
Stay Out of The Sun Day. July 3.
Independence Day. July 4 (US). Commemorates the day in 1776 when the United States declared its independence from Great Britain. 
Work-a-holics Day. July 5.
Video Games Day. July 8
Teddy Bear Picnic Day. July 10.
Different Colored Eyes Day. July 12.
Embrace Your Geekness Day. July 13
National Nude Day--which falls on the same day as...Pandemonium Day. (I wonder why!) July 14.
National Ice Cream Day. Third Sunday of the month. I'll be there for this!
Cow Appreciation Day. July 15. (which happens to fall on the same day as Ice Cream Day, so hug a cow.)
National Junk Food Day. July 21. Which is followed by...
Hammock Day. July 22. Which also happens to be...Parent's Day!
Pioneer Day. July 24 (Utah.) Commemorates the entry of Brigham Young and the first group of Mormons into Salt Lake Valley in 1847.
All or Nothing Day. July 26.
National Cheesecake Day!!!!!! July 30.

July is:

National Baked Bean Month
National Ice Cream Month
National Hot Dog Month
Lasagna Awareness Month (I AM aware!)
Anti-Boredom Month
Hitchhiking Month (That can't be safe!)
National Picnic Month
National Pickle Month

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