Lady Bug Invasion or Good Omens?

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Someone was watching me work on a new story…

Recently, we’ve been over run with lady bugs. They crawl across my computer screen as I try to work. They pop up on the television as we try to relax. They hang out on are windows, inside and out, greet us on the screen door and watch us make coffee. We’ve even found them in bed with us.

Of all the bug infestations I can think of, lady bugs must surely be the most pleasant. Today, a friend suggested that the invasion was supernatural, so I googled “lady bug omens.” If what I read is why these friendly little beetles are hanging out in our tiny home, they are welcome.

According to UniverseofSymbolism.com, the ladybug “brings luck and abundance where ever she goes.” We have an abundance of luck bringers bringing us luck and abundance.

Spirit-Animals.com says ” The appearance of a Ladybug heralds a time of luck in which our wishes begin to be fulfilled. Higher goals and new heights are now possible. Worries begin to dissipate. New happiness comes about.”

GoodLuckSymbols.com had another interesting take, “During the Middle Ages it was common belief that the ladybug symbolized protection. Stories were told about farmers who were desperate because aphids were ruining their crops. The farmers prayed to the Virgin Mary for help. The Virgin Mary responded to their distressed situation and sent thousands of ladybugs to annihilate the aphids, thus saving their crop. The ladybird has been and still is used as a talisman for safety and protection against all harm.”

As Mr. Smith and I prepare for our move to Atlanta, these are all welcome messages. We can use all the luck, abundance, blessings and protection we can get. While our little beetle buddies can be disconcerting in a coffee cup, we’ve decided to welcome the invasion for now.

 

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Submission Opportunity The Matador Review

Matador ReviewThe Matador Review is currently accepting submissions for the Spring 2017 publication. They publish poetry, fiction, flash fiction, and creative non-fiction, inviting all unpublished literature written in the English language (and translations that are accompanied by the original text) as well as many forms of visual art. The call for submissions will end on February 28.

From matadorreview.com:  “The Matador Review is an online literature and art quarterly based in Chicago, Illinois. Founded in January of 2016, TMR began as a small team of three. Our purpose: to promote “alternative work” from both art and literature, and to encourage the new-wave of respect for online publications. In a world of print, we celebrate the digital decision.

The Matador Review strives to be a cultural conservationist for the alternative world. In each issue, we offer a selection of work from both emerging and established artists, as well as exclusive interviews and book reviews from creators who are, above all else, provocative.

For us, “alternative” is a way of voice and experience. It is the distinction from what is conventional, and it advocates for a progressive attitude. The Matador Review binds itself to these tenets, fostering a habitat for the unfamiliar and unsung.”

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Blackwater Review, Ready to Travel

Two books wait to begin their journey at Cafe Bienville.

Two books wait to begin their journey at Cafe Bienville.

Another book traveling via Bookcrossing. This time I left a copy of Blackwater Review, Spring 2016 at Cafe BienvilleYou can follow this book’s journey online here.

If you missed out, don’t worry. I’ll be leaving a copy of Take Me to Australia at Cafe Bienville to be claimed next Friday–just in time to celebrate Australia Day.

What is BookCrossing? It’s the World’s Library. It’s a smart social networking site. It’s a celebration of literature and a place where books get new life. BookCrossing is the act of giving a book a unique identity so, as the book is passed from reader to reader, it can be tracked and thus connect its readers. There are currently 1,702,521 BookCrossers and 11,784,422 books travelling throughout 132 countries. Our community is changing the world and touching lives one book at a time.

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Review: Blackwater Review Spring 2016

20170119_165440If you enjoy being the first to discover the latest-greatest in new authors and artists, then you should be an avid follower of the Blackwater Review, published annually by Northwest Florida State College. A well put together journal of literature and art, the book is a delightful celebration of new, undiscovered talents.

The Spring 2016 edition features 30 works of poetry and prose and 32 color plates of visual art by students at the college.  Among my favorite poems are “They Called Him Mister Foster” by Jocelyn Donahoo, “Seniority” by Andrea Hefner, and “Untitled” by Drew Swaggerman.

Among the prose offerings, “Hidden in Valor” by Zachary Thomas, “Guilt-ridden Rememberance” by D.L. Thornton and “Harmonious Day” by Jocelyn Donahoo are well written and entertaining samples of local talent.

The full color plates at the center of the Blackwater Review are brilliant examples of the visual artists that live in the area. My favorite is “Camera” by Candace Harbin. I think it appeals to me because it marries two of my personal passions–words and photography–and merges them into a visual representation. “What’s in Your Wallet,” also by Candace Harbin, is another image I particularly enjoy.

Equally loved is a mixed media sculpture called “Sunken Treasures” by Alyssa McClellan. An octopus rises from nothing, a collection of found bits cleverly brought together, in McClellan’s industrial creation. Finally, I appreciate the subtle violence of “Tactile Self-Portrait” by Chloe Young.

If you live in the local area you can find a copy of Blackwater Review tomorrow as a Bookcrossing book at Cafe Bienville in Niceville.

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Ruby is a Treasure!

Ruby waits for her new home at New Beginnings.

Ruby waits for her new home at New Beginnings Animal Sanctuary.

Ruby is my shelter dog of the week. A female hound mix, she is known for being super friendly and generous with her toys. According to New Beginning’s website, “She loves to hang out with her puppy friends and enjoys welcoming new ones into her group.“

All of the dogs available at New Beginnings receive microchipping​, deworming, monthly heartworm preventative, vaccines​, wellness exams and spay or neutering.

If you’re interested in any of their dogs, please download their Adoption Application. You can see all the dogs on their site by clicking here or visit http://www.nicevilleanimalclinic.net/adoption.html.

Since I can’t adopt any more dogs, I’ve adopted New Beginnings Animal Sanctuary instead.

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Classes start next week!

fun_book_clock_1There’s still room in next week’s classes… beginning Monday, Jan. 23 I’ll be teaching Social Media 101 in the morning and How to Write for Children in the afternoon. Thursday, Jan. 26 Write with Prompts begins in the afternoon.

Robin Wiesneth will be my guest instructor in the Jan. 30 How to Write for Children class.

Information on registering is available here!

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Helene Lund Den Boer hangs stories on a string

HeleneHelene Lund Den Boer may be a newer face on the local author circuit, but as a writer she has been scribbling for a lifetime. “I always enjoyed writing, even as a child,” said Helene. “Little poems and small text pieces. But I was definitely a visual artist first. It wasn’t really until I began making my felt illustrations, that I started writing for children.”

Her felt illustrations, featured in her first book,“Tilda and the Tooth Fairy,” began as decorations for her new daughter. “Initially I was sewing felt figures as a mobile for my baby girl,” said Helene. “But the universe expanded, new felt characters arrived on the scene, and stories about them started to develop in my head. And I had to write them down.”

Helene published her second book, “Long Live Luna,” last December. Using the same style of illustrations, “Long Live Luna” follows the life of a doll as it’s passed through the generations from mother to daughter.

Although in her past Helene has had plenty of highlight moments, such as having her paintings accepted by juried shows in her home country of Denmark, she says holding her new book in her hands has been as big a thrill. “But even bigger,” said Helene.“Is when a kid comes up to me and says ‘I like your book – it’s so funny.’ Then it doesn’t get any better!”

One of the biggest challenges, says Helene, is marketing her work. “As a self published author, it is a huge challenge to get the book out in the world, to make it visible. The competition in children’s picture books is fierce, and you have to come up with some creative ways of advertising. I recently teamed up with a local business for a book signing, and that was both fun and successful for both parts, so I’d like to do that again. It is hard to go around advertising for your own product, but I hope I get better with time and experience. On the positive side of self publishing, it is great to be entirely in control of your book. It is exactly the way you intended it.”

Her main goal, however, is to simply create good stories that will become favorites. She has another book in mind already, but she has another project she has to finish before publishing again. “Currently I am finishing up a series of greeting cards, in the same illustration style,” said Helene.“And then I have an idea for a new book in my head that I look forward to start working on in early fall.” Helene’s advice to other writers?

“Still very new in this field, I don’t feel I have a lot of advice to give. If anything, I’d say I think it is very important to read/look at other people’s work, in the field you write in. Do research, ask yourself what you think works, and what doesn’t. And keep writing, if that’s what makes you happy. For me personally, creating stories and playing with the connection between words and pictures, gives me tremendous happiness. It’s almost therapeutic to me.”

Tilda and the Tooth Fairy” is available on Amazon.com, but can also be ordered at Barnes & Noble. Locally it can be found at Artful Things in Niceville. More information and news about her work can be found at StoriesOnAString.com.

Helene

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Halfway through first month…

Resolutions1-712x378Today marks the half-a-month mark for the first month of the year and I find myself looking at my resolutions re-evaluating.

On the writing front, things have been going stellar. My collection of poetry, In Favor of Pain, made some recommended reading lists.

I’ve finished another two stories for The Bitter Suites, the short fiction collection I’m working on now. One of those I submitted to an anthology. Speaking of anthologies, my short story Vanilla Rice should be coming out next month in the Where the Stars Rise anthology, one of 23 stories selected.

I also entered a nanofiction competition, am working on formatting a book for a friend and organized all my recent writing. I am getting ready to (FINALLY!) rework End of Mae. As a surprise, Mr. Smith has also finished his book of dark fantasy at 93,000 words.

On the exercise front, things are a little more pathetic. When we moved to the country I dropped out of my daily running habit and can’t seem to get back in that mode. I ran 2  miles first thing Jan. 1 and then haven’t set foot to the road since. I also began a push up challenge with my oldest daughter that I have done pathetically with. Half a month in, I’m determined not to give up but just get back to it. We don’t fail until we quit.

That’s my progress. How have you been doing?

 

 

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Submission Opportunity for Holocaust Memorial Day 2017

hmdJanuary 27 is Holocaust Memorial Day, a day for everyone to remember the millions of people murdered in the Holocaust, under Nazi Persecution and in the subsequent genocides of Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. Holocaust Memorial Day honors the survivors of these regimes and challenges ourselves to use the lessons of their experience to inform our lives today.

The internationally recognized date for Holocaust Remembrance Day corresponds to the 27th day of Nisan on the Hebrew calendar. It marks the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. In Hebrew, Holocaust Remembrance Day is called Yom Hashoah.

How can life go on? is the theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2017. The aftermath of the Holocaust and of subsequent genocides continues to raise challenging questions for individuals, communities and nations. HMD 2017 asks audiences to think about what happens after genocide and of our own responsibilities in the wake of such a crime. This year’s theme is broad and open ended, there are few known answers.

Author and survivor of the Holocaust Elie Wiesel has said: ‘For the survivor death is not the problem. Death was an everyday occurrence. We learned to live with Death. The problem is to adjust to life, to living. You must teach us about living.’

To mark HMD 2017, Lagan Online is asking for poems and prose pieces on the theme of ‘How can life go on?’ The best pieces will be published on their site on the 27th January.

Submission guidelines:

Max. length of poem: 20 lines / Max. length of prose: 500 words
Please send in a maximum of two poems or one prose piece.
Send the poem in a Word attachment to laganonline@theverbal.co
Include your name, location, and Twitter handle if you have one.
Deadline: Sunday 22nd January

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Tilda Begins Her Travels…

20170113_140634Today is Friday the 13th and one of my lucky days! I had the pleasure of sharing a birthday picnic with a friend and student Laura and it was the perfect day for it. Happy birthday Laura!

I also was able to send another book traveling via Bookcrossing.

This time I left a copy of Tilda and the Tooth Fairy at Cafe Bienville but don’t go looking too hard for it. This book has already been claimed and is on its way to entertain a kindergarten class. You can follow this book’s journey online here.

If you missed out, don’t worry. I’ll be leaving a copy of The Blackwater Review at Cafe Bienville to be claimed next Friday.

What is BookCrossing? It’s the World’s Library. It’s a smart social networking site. It’s a celebration of literature and a place where books get new life. BookCrossing is the act of giving a book a unique identity so, as the book is passed from reader to reader, it can be tracked and thus connecting its readers. There are currently 1,702,521 BookCrossers and 11,784,422 books travelling throughout 132 countries. Our community is changing the world and touching lives one book at a time.

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