A Summer Break


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Yesterday I sat in the backyard with my fam-jam and a few neighbors shooting the breeze. I got a bit sunburned, but I have to say, it was worth every glorious second of blessed UV deliciousness.

To an average citizen of earth, sitting so leisurely in the backyard might not seem like a big deal. BUT I live in Canada. Not just in Canada, but on “Spud Island” where summer lasts all of 10 minutes IF you’re lucky. Falls and springs are cool. Summer is nothing like where I grew up in Manitoba, where daylight seems to last forever and it’s hot enough to make you yearn for winter. Okay, maybe not quite, ’cause winters in Manitoba are designed by the DEVIL to make you wonder why you live where your face HURTS after spending 30 GODFORSAKEN seconds running like a screaming banshee from your car to work.


famjam3.bmpMe and the fam-jam enjoying summer (minus my two brilliant/funny/crazy-cool stepdaughters). And, yes, to answer your question, the older boys ARE making fart noises in this picture. 


So. *coughs*

Back to yesterday.

The hellions were playing with water balloons on my neighbor’s trampoline–because our trampoline is somehow “way less bouncy” than theirs. Soaking wet, they stopped their sky-high belly flops, turned the grown-ups and said, “Do you know there are only FOUR weeks of school left until summer vacation?”

My heart began to thud in my chest. My palms broke out in a cold sweat. Sweet Fat Friday, my self-imposed deadline is almost up.

I turned to my husband. “Wow. I should be working on my book. I only have a month if I want to finish before school’s out.”

“Isn’t that what you said last year?” He rubbed my shoulder, teasing. “Let’s just enjoy the sunshine while we can.”

So . . . I did. I sat in the backyard, watched the hellions play outside and soaked up every goddamned UV ray I could before trotting off to work. EVEN THOUGH my husband was right. I said the exact same thing last year, about the VERY SAME book.

But I am going to do it this time.

The plan is to finish this round of edits in four weeks and then let the manuscripts rest for summer break. While it’s resting, I’m going to rock out the first draft of book two. AND, I am also going to enjoy my family, as per my very smart hubbie’s request. Meaning, we will camp, waterslide, swim, hit the beach, and PLAY until there is simply no summer left.


cropped-cropped-back.jpgPrince Edward Island (in summer) is one of the best places in the world to be.


So today, I’m making some decisions to ensure I actually meet this deadline.

I’m taking a summer vacation from the blog.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of my loyal #SSC participants, blog followers, and general Scribble on Cocktail Napkins cheerleaders. I still plan on checking in every few weeks with general progress reports and musings, because, hey, I’ve grown kind of fond of you and I’m not exactly falling off the planet.

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  • You can still find new episodes of our webshow, “Writers Off Task with Friends” on You Tube every week.
  • The Sunday Scribble Challenge will rev up again in September. You will receive your regular notice to participate.
  • Life as we know it WILL carry on.

11002607_10155476904175105_5723951720789064571_nSo, from my family to yours, happy freaking summer!!!


Allison’s Book Sale

Hey, my friend and co-host of Writers Off Task with Friends, Allison Maruska is having a book sale! Check it out! Her writing is incredible, and the books are a fun, fast paced, roller-coaster of a read.

In other news, congratulations to John Aaron for winning the last Sunday Scribble Challenge! I’m excited to extend an invitation to guest blog here, at Scribbles on Cocktail Napkins. Your entry recieved the most votes for any challenge to date!

FYI: The deadline for the next Scribble Challenge has been pushed back till tomorrow. That means there’s still time to enter, and possibly WIN the right to have YOUR work featured on Scribbles on Cocktail Napkins. So, what are you waiting for? Unleash your writerly self.

Memorial Day Weekend Sale! – http://wp.me/p47Fmr-1MK

#SSC 9/ May22-28th


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amazing_large_crystal_chandelier_12_light_1_1024x1024.jpgBefore we get to our challenge prompt, it’s time to announce the week seven winner. That week was all about showing a mother’s love.

The results were VERY close. We were one away from a tie. A. R. Hadley almost stole it . . . but (for the second time this month) the renowned Elizabeth Burgess took the win! Elizabeth blogs here. She’s a regular contributor to the Scribble Challenge, AND the co-author of these great titles:


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Her submission:

Elizabeth“One more push, Lina. Just one more.” The nurses’ voice was optimistic and upbeat, encouraging Lina to dig deep for the strength to carry on. Unconsciously, she touched her belly. Soon, the only reminder she’d ever been pregnant would be the stretch marks lining her hips and breasts. Soon, she’d be a normal girl again, going to summer parties and looking for colleges to attend next year.
“That’s it, honey. You’re doing excellent,” her mother said, tears brimming in her eyes. She’d wanted to keep the baby. To try. But Lina said no. Something inside of her said this baby was special and needed more than a sixteen-year-old girl could provide. Lina knew the moment she saw the profile of the family she chose that they were the ones. The Osmonds. A middle-aged couple, both in their mid-forties. They were infertile, and though several adoptions had fallen through, they were trying one last time. Lina was determined for this one to stick.
A newborn’s cry filled the cold room, and Lina heard the doctor say, “It’s a girl, Lina.” He paused. “Do you want to hold her?”
“One second, please?” she pleaded. As the tiny bundle passed to her arms, she wept almost as loudly as the newborn. Lina didn’t want to let her go. This was her child. Her baby. Her daughter who so easily quieted in her mother’s arms. Selfishness said keep her, love said let her go. Lina kissed the little one’s cheeks and tousled a lock of her dark hair. The child would not remember this day, but Lina would. “I love you. I will always love you.” After one last look at her daughter, she said to the nurse nearby, “Take her to her parents.”


Elizabeth captured the adoption beautifully. The win was well deserved! Congratulations, Elizabeth. It’s my pleasure to invite you and/or your work to be featured AGAIN in an upcoming post on Scribbles on Cocktail Napkins. This can be done in whatever way you like: a reblog, a guest blog, or even a small sample of your latest book along with a purchasing link. You decide!


Now, lets get down to the NEXT challenge.Sometimes stories are relayed to readers through an UNRELIABLE NARRATOR. There are several reasons a narrator may be unreliable. The character may be lying, or intentionally holding back what really happened. Huckleberry Finn is an example of an unreliable narrator—as a boy who doesn’t understand the significance of the events he describes. Shutter Island is a masterfully written book which uses its unreliable narrator for a dastardly twist in the final pages.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it:

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The Rules: There are six days to ruminate if you need them. Post one submission to the prompt in the comment section below this post.

DO NOT EMAIL YOUR SUBMISSIONS.

DO REMEMBER TO VOTE.

  • The NEW deadline? Monday, May 30th @noon Atlantic Daylight Time.
    Encourage other Scribblers. TRY TO COMMENT (REPLY) TO AT LEAST THREE OTHER SCRIBBLERS DURING THE WEEK
  • After the deadline, VOTE for your favorite submission by emailing: Sundayscribblechallenge@gmail.com. Place the lucky author’s name in the HEADER of your email.

Remember:announced.jpg


These flash fiction challenges fuel creativity! They’re also a relatively painless pool for writers who’ve never posted their work to wet those feet, OR for established authors/bloggers to pick up a few new readers.

So, what are you waiting for? Unleash your writerly self.


Trolls will be escorted back to their bridge along with a flaming stick of dynamite.


 

“Confidence,” Guest Post by: A Momma’s View


It’s all about Confidence, isn’t it?

What do you write about when you win the chance to guest blog for an amazing blog like this? It’s one thing to come up with one post after another about my life and my thoughts if it is for my blog. It’s my place and I can pretty much do with it what I like, right? But this here is so different.

This here is so much more.

I usually don’t take part in writing challenges. I will tell you a little bit more about the why in a little moment. This time though, after reading Ah Dad’s guest post, I couldn’t help myself. I really wanted to participate and after reading what was the task it all started coming together in my head. I have moments like this, believe me!zzz

So in one of those moments, my kids actually left me alone to think for longer than 5 minutes (yes, it happens…), I did it. Just did it. Just wrote. And the words kept flowing. It’s a good feeling, you know.

It reminded me somehow of the day I started my blog, when I simply decided that I’m ready for the blogging adventure. I sat down and wrote. Wrote my very first post and didn’t stop then and there. It’s been a great journey so far. One that I enjoy so very much.

It’s not just the blogging and all the fantastic connections I’ve made over time with people from all over this world. It’s also the fact that my confidence grew and I managed to actually write two novels. They are sitting here, fully edited, with covers ready, waiting to be formatted and finally published.

Again my confidence, or better the lack of it, took over and I let them sit there rather than working on the formatting and getting it all done. And then the writing challenge happened. I got chosen as the winner and it gave me this huge boost. So rather than telling you all about my blogging journey or who I am in general I’d like to tell you this:

Writing has so much to do with confidence. Of course you need to have the ability to put your thoughts into words but honestly, I think we all do. I agree, you need to enjoy writing in general in order to sit down and put your ideas, your stories on paper (or on the screen). Some people simply don’t like doing it. Some people really don’t care about it. And that is totally fine. Not everyone wants to be a writer. There are many different outlets for the creativity that hides in each and every one of us.

I still owe you an explanation why I do not take part in writing challenges: I simply lack the confidence to do so. They make me nervous and I feel my English and writing is not good enough.

But where was I? Oh, yes, I remember, I was talking about confidence!zz

For those of us who do enjoy writing and play with the idea of creating stories it all comes down to confidence. We can type as fast as the wind, making no spelling or grammar mistakes (I wish…) and come up with the most amazing and mesmerizing stories ever, but unless we actually have the confidence to do something with it, the stories will just be our own.

Blogging helped me. It helped my confidence grow back to the point I felt good enough to take on NaNoWriMo and actually write many many words. It helped me get the confidence to actually decide that I want to turn these words into a novel. Actually two. Well, actually it’s meant to be a trilogy, but the third one is still a work in process. Writing blog posts on a daily base and all the comments and likes I received for them gave me the boost I needed to get my friend to create covers for the novel and other friends to actually read them to give me feedback. It gave me the confidence to pass it on to another friend of mine to edit them.

I never thought that blogging could have such a huge impact on my confidence. But it does. It’s my outlet, my way of connecting. Or better another way of connecting with people. I’m not shy. I socialize quite a bit. But this here, in the blogosphere is different. It’s inspiring, sometimes intimidating and for sure motivating.

Writing this guest post somehow sums it all up. It’s like my blogging journey. It’s intimidating, inspiring, motivating and it gives me an intense boost of confidence.

Now, I really forgot what I actually wanted to write about. Oh, it was about confidence , wasn’t it? Well, I hope I manage to bring across how much I believe blogging can boost your confidence. On so many levels.

Oops… I think my time is up. The kids are done with (home)school and my husband, who teaches them, needs to get back to work. As I’m in charge of being the entertainer for the rest of the day, I need to take over now. The dogs want to go for a walk, I should get my exercise done and then take my daughter to her dance class, then it will be time for dinner and I have actually no clue what to cook tonight. There are no left overs to cover it tonight. At one point I need to finish some stuff I have to do for the volunteer position I took on and it can’t wait for much longer. And there are those novels… waiting to be published and another post I should finish to be up on the blog later today…

zBut I’ll see you later, I know I will. Just keep up the writing and the reading, the liking and the commenting. You have a huge impact on someone else. You might not realize it at the moment, but you do. Your posts do, your likes do and your comments do. And always will…


paintThanks for sharing this motivational guest post with everyone here at Scribbles on Cocktail Napkins, Momma!  Your journey into the world of a published writer is going to be fun to watch. Finding confidence while writing can be tough, and confidence while writing in a second language is nothing short of inspirational.

DID YOU KNOW: Momma won the opportunity to share her blog at Scribbles on Cocktail Napkins by winning one of our Weekly Scribble Challenges? YOU can win the chance to guest post here too! Just click #SSC on the toolbar above to check out the prompt for this week’s challenge. Participation is quick and easy, and a great way to procrastinate interact with your writing peers. 


These flash fiction challenges fuel creativity. They’re a relatively painless pool for writers who’ve never posted their work to wet those feet, OR for established authors/bloggers to pick up a few new readers.

So, what are YOU waiting for? This week’s challenge wraps up Saturday. Unleash your writerly self.


 

YOU can be a beta reader for Dan Alatorre!

Most followers of Scribbles on Cocktail Napkins already know Dan pretty well. He’s a helpful writing blogger over at Danalatorre.com,  my critique partner, co-webshow host, AND a real pain in my ass when my writing output gets too slow–which is ACTUALLY the best kind of authorley friend a lollygagging writer like me can have. Now, Dan is looking for beta-readers for his new book! (Believe me when I say it’s AWESOME.) You want to do this. It’s simple. It’s painless. It’s priceless.

Good things are happening for my friend, who is planning on turning out FOUR terrific books by the end of the year. I couldn’t be happier for him. Check it out the details here:


Ready? My latest novel The Navigators is ready for beta readers. (Read a sample chapter HERE) What’s a beta reader? Well, it’s kind of a big deal. You get to read the whole book before …

Source: Be A Beta Reader – The Navigators wants YOU

#SSC 8/ May 16-22nd


Glass-Blown-ChandelierThe submissions to the 6th Sunday Scribble Challenge were some of my FAVORITE so far. If you haven’t already, go back through the comments and check out the great responses to the prompt. Many of the writers who participate in the challenges show remarkable talent, making it a pleasure to host the #SSC each week. So, thanks to EVERYONE who shows up to play with their game face on. You’re the reason these challenges are so fun.

But . . . there can only be ONE winner. Well, unless it’s a tie (like last week). THIS week *cue movie announcer voice* there was ONE.


The prompt for week 6-

Your character is dying. In a single line of dialogue, he or she has a final request that send loved one reeling. Write the dialogue and reaction.


And the winner: The mystery writer behind A Momma’s View

A Momma’s View is a lifestyle blog about homeschooling, being an expat, kids, and life in general. Although English is not her first language, her writing is crisp and witty. It’s easy to recommend checking the site out!

Here is A Momma’s View’s response to the week SIX challenge:


mommaHer heart felt heavy. It was too long. She had waited for too long to visit him again. He was only a shadow of himself. His eyes were still crystal blue, in a way they still seemed sharp. Everyone told her that he was “gone”, that his mind was somewhere deep inside of him, not able to be reached anymore. Dementia’s a bitch.
But somehow she didn’t believe them. Somehow she felt his presence. And she couldn’t understand that they wanted her to leave again only minutes after she arrived. She didn’t understand why her step-mom started talking to him whenever he tried to mumble something. She had to see him without the others around.
Now was the time. She had told the receptionist that she had left something in his room and was granted access. After all she was his daughter.
It was getting dark outside, her step-mom sure she was on her way back to the airport. His hands were cold, the color of his skin not the way it was supposed to be. They had told her he would not react anymore. And yet he was squeezing her hand and she thought that there was smile on his face.
Gently she caressed his forehead.
“I’m so sorry it took me so long to come see you. So sorry! So many things I would love you to know. Most importantly how much I love you!” Was it her or did he blink with his eyes while again smiling?
“Can you hear me?” Again he blinked.
“You can! Do you know who I am?” He blinked again!
“You can’t talk though?” He blinked again and the smile disappeared.
“I’m wish I could help you! I hate what this disease does to you!” She didn’t want to say it out loud, it just slipped out. He looked at her in a very weird way. Suddenly there was a thought coming up, almost like a dark realization.
“It’s not the disease! You are not as sick!” Again he blinked.
“Is it her?” He blinked again, his eyes wide open for a moment.
“Is she poisoning you?”
Just in that moment the door opened and the step-mom stood there.
“What are you doing here?”
She looked back at her dad, his eyes wide open, his hand cold and his soul gone forever.


Congratulations on the well deserved win, A Momma’s View! It’s my pleasure to invite you and/or your work to be featured in an upcoming post on Scribbles on Cocktail Napkins. This can be done in whatever way you like: a reblog, a guest blog, or even a small sample of your latest book along with a purchasing link. You decide!


With those formalities aside I bet you’re wondering what the NEXT challenge is:

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Sometimes, describing food as “delicious,” “good,” or “tasty,” is perfectly acceptable while writing. In these situations the author isn’t necessarily worried about their readers paying attention to the food at all. This is not that time. This challenge is all about description. Is the food salty? Reminiscent of the sea? Or, is it sweet, reminding your character of the fresh baked buns their grandmother used to bake in the days before food was scarce?

The Rules: There are six days to ruminate if you need them. Post one submission to the prompt in the comment section below this post. DO NOT EMAIL YOUR SUBMISSIONS.

  • The deadline? Saturday, May 20th @noon Atlantic Daylight Time.
    Encourage other Scribblers. TRY TO COMMENT (REPLY) TO AT LEAST THREE OTHER SCRIBBLERS DURING THE WEEK
  • After the deadline, VOTE for your favorite submission by emailing: Sundayscribblechallenge@gmail.com. Place the lucky author’s name in the HEADER of your email.

Remember:

rules


These flash fiction challenges fuel creativity! They’re also a relatively painless pool for writers who’ve never posted their work to wet those feet, OR for established authors/bloggers to pick up a few new readers.

So, what are you waiting for? Unleash your writerly self.


Trolls will be escorted back to their bridge along with a flaming stick of dynamite.


 

The Importance of Having a Dream


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Take a second and look at the young woman in the photograph above. She’s lovely, isn’t she? If I had to guess, at the time of this picture, she was seventeen or eighteen-years-old and on her way to a high school dance in the late 1940’s. A few years later, she would meet a young man and they’d marry and have four children. She’d work in food service for the better part of twenty years, and establish a lucrative catering business in a quaint Louisiana town on the banks of the Mississippi River. Known for her shrimp dip sandwiches and Italian cream cheese cake, she’d make a good name for herself in the Miss-Lou area. She would be happy and content with her life, but sadly, unfulfilled.

That woman is my grandmother, Gilda Burgess, and her dream was to be a pharmacist. The times didn’t make it easy for her. In the fifties and sixties, a woman’s place was in the home. I feel sure my grandfather would have supported her wholeheartedly if she’d shared her aspirations with him, but she remained quiet until the late nineties when I was graduating from high school.


 “Mamaw, did you always want to be a caterer?” I asked as she hemmed up my royal blue cap and gown.

“No, baby. My dream was to be a pharmacist,” she replied, a hint of sadness in her voice.

“What stopped you?”

Her shoulders lifted and fell. “I could say any number of things: kids, a household to run, work, but in reality, it was me. I stopped myself. I could’ve done it. Certainly my family would have been supportive, but deep down… I was afraid.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be,” she replied, kissing my cheek. “Learn from it. Be brave. You can do anything you set your mind to. Anything.”


Even today, her words echo in my mind, driving me on to new heights. Sometimes, they are the only thing that keeps me going. When I get down on myself—which is more often than I’d like to admit—here are three things her story teaches me that bring me back to reality again.zz

Your dreams encourage you to live passionately. What do you think about when you wake up in the morning? Or when you go to sleep at night? When you’re navigating through the mundane everyday task of your job what gets you through the day? That is your passion… your dream. Hold onto that. Covet it. There will be naysayers. Obstacles. Failures. But they will make you stronger. If you’re knocked down six times, get up SEVEN. Keep going.

Your dreams are authentically made for you. If God, the Universe, or whatever Higher Power you subscribe to has placed a dream in your heart, go after it with everything inside of you because YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE IN THE WORLD WITH YOUR GIFTS. No one else has them. zzzSure, people exist who can do the same things you do and likely, there will always be someone who can do it better, but those things are inconsequential when it comes to your dream. You are authentic… and so are your ideas.

Living your dream encourages others to live their own. This quote from Marianne Williamson has always resounded with me: “And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” When you are true to yourself, others will see it and they will want to emulate you.

zzzz It’s not easy, y’all. Nothing worthwhile is. You’ll want to quit more times than you’ll want to carry on, but don’t give up. Don’t give in. Be relentless in the pursuit of what sets your soul ablaze.

For Elizabeth Burgess, writing is not only what she loves to do, it is freedom, salvation, and escape. It is life. Introduced to the art of words at a young age by Junior High English teacher, she poured herself into a self-study of all things poetry and prose throughout the entirety of her high school and college career—hoping to one day become a lyricist in Nashville. As the years went on, her dreams changed and morphed, but her love for words did not. A nurse by trade, Elizabeth loves incorporating the medical field in each book she writes.

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Elizabeth and her grandmother, circa 1998: Elizabeth’s first day of college

Her favorite characters are always flawed, and if you see her wearing any color besides black, you know she’s sick. Thanks to her maternal grandparents, she believes she can do anything if she sets her mind to it, and will always offer you a glass of sweet tea if you come over.

When she’s not working on her next novel, she enjoys Saturday nights in Death Valley, listening to Fleetwood Mac on rainy days, and taking pictures of her beloved Louisiana. Elizabeth is the author of The Waiting Series and Witch Dance, Book 1 of the Hopewell Coven. She lives in Northeast Louisiana’s farming country with her partner Terri, two Catahoula Curs, Bowie and Pike, and host of spoiled cats.


Connect with Elizabeth:

Blog: LiddyBurgess.wordpress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Elizabeth-Burgess-author-786961264661560/

Twitter: @liddyburgess

Email: liddyburgess@gmail.com


paintThank you for sharing this inspirational guest post with everyone here at Scribbles on Cocktail Napkins, Elizabeth!  Your enthusiasm for chasing your dreams is contagious, and I know that followers of the blog will enjoy learning little bit more about the spark that REALLY ignited your writer’s fire.

DID YOU KNOW: Elizabeth Burgess won the opportunity to share her blog at Scribbles on Cocktail Napkins by winning one of our Weekly Scribble Challenges? YOU can win the chance to guest post here too! Just click #SSC on the toolbar above to check out the prompt for this week’s challenge. Participation is quick and easy, and a great way to procrastinate interact with your writing peers. 


These flash fiction challenges fuel creativity. They’re a relatively painless pool for writers who’ve never posted their work to wet those feet, OR for established authors/bloggers to pick up a few new readers.

So, what are YOU waiting for? This week’s challenge wraps up Saturday. Unleash your writerly self.



 

Why Blog?


bPhoto credit: Javier Domínguez Ferreiro via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA


I never thought too much about the blogosphere. I’d read some of my favorite author’s blogs now and again; I had a mom blog called, Amalah, that I adored reading, but I just never thought I would had enough to talk about.

When I began researching what it would take to become a professional author, the words, “Have a social media following” and “Have a platform” kept coming up.

What did that mean? A platform?

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Photo credit: Jason A. Howie via Foter.com / CC BY


I dug deeper. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram were a few of the popular social media sites to be on. I was already on a few, but not as a writer. I went back to Facebook and created a Facebook Fan Page. I went to Twitter and started a new account there as well. I had already created an email meant to be used for all of my writing endeavors, so that is what I used when creating the social media accounts. My Instagram account, I switched over from being under my personal name to my author name, because I posted the same sorts of things before the switch that I planned to post after. I would just be adding more about literary things: books I’m reading, projects I’m writing, etc.

All of my social media sites were settled prior to participating in National Novel Writing Month 2015 (NanoWriMo). I posted each day throughout the month making sure to hashtag #nanowrimo, and acquired a great start to my follower base during that month alone. It was difficult to keep up with writing, social media, and a two-year-old, but I managed (see post on Finding Time to Write).

The next suggested step, was to start a blog.

Where would I begin? What would I have to write about that others would want to read?

A suggestion was made in one of the many hours I spent researching blogs, that I should write about something that was in my book. What I mean is, if my book included a lot about cooking because the protagonist was a chef, then I could start a cooking blog. No doubt, if I were writing about a chef, I would have had some knowledge or love of cooking myself. That was the reasoning behind such a statement. My character wasn’t a chef so a cooking blog was definitely out.

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Photo and art credit: J. H. Winter

My character, Adeline, is creative. She has an imagination that allows her to mend her hand-me-down dresses into beautiful albeit quirky creations, she can crochet with the best of them, sew, and knit, and always has a piece of parchment handy for the times when she needs to draw something. In a sense, she is an artist and creator, just like me.

 

I had been making up my own amigurumi patterns for years (see my Portfolio to take a look at my geeky creations), but I wanted to steer away from making other people’s dreamed up characters (from movies, anime, and video games), and begin making up my own. I wanted to write how to crochet amigurumi books and teach others how to crochet as well.

For non-fiction books, such as craft books, you must be able to prove that you are an expert of whatever it is you’re writing about. One of the best ways to do this, again, is to have an author platform.

A platform is a group of followers who love to read what you write, and follow you because of it. They will be your advocates when you get your book published. They will buy your books and tell their friends.

bbbbbIn February of this year (2016), I started writing my posts for my blog, Ink & Stitches – The Writerly and Creative Life of J.H. Winter. “Ink” was to represent the fact that I am a writer of books and an illustrator as well. “Stitches” stands for all of my creative endeavors: crocheting amigurumi, knitting, sewing, and crafting.

This “Artistic Variety” as I like to call it, became the theme for my blog. With all of my interests in mind, I felt I had enough to write about that I could really warrant having a place online to share my work. Other people might even want to listen and check back to see what I’m up to.

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Ink and Stitches logo photo credit: J. H. Winter

Since starting my blog, I’ve created an Ink & Stitches YouTube Channel where I have begun teaching lessons on how to crochet amigurumi; a logo to help with branding everything Ink & Stitches; an Etsy shop which I hope to have open for business soon (InkandStitchesArt); I’ve participated in the A to Z Challenge for bloggers during the month of April which was exhausting (26 posts in a month) but a lot of fun; I’ve begun creating patterns for characters from my story about Adeline; and now that things are quieting down a bit, I am getting back to editing my first two books.

 

Why do I blog?

jhwinter2-150x150In a nutshell, I’m creating an author platform. I’m proving that I’m an expert of amigurumi. I’m talking in the hopes that people will listen and get something out of my words.

Aside from all that, I’m blogging because I love to make connections with people. I have had so much fun getting and answering comments (and I always answer them); being able to strike up Twitter and Instagram conversations back and forth about fun topics with some amazing people; and feeling the camaraderie when sharing experiences with like-minded individuals.

I treat keeping up with social media as part of my workday, but I’ve never felt it to be work. Posting and conversing on social media is often the most fun part of my day! That is why I blog, and will continue to do so. To share ideas and thoughts and making virtual friendships because of it, is something you won’t get anywhere else.

Now I’m curious, why did you start blogging?

J.H. Winter http://www.jhwinter.com


paintThank you for another terrific guest post, J. H.!

Did you know YOU can win the chance to guest on Scribbles on Cocktail Napkins too?? Just click #SSC on the toolbar above to check out the prompt for this week’s challenge. Participation is quick and easy, and a great way to procrastinate interact with your writing peers. 

These flash fiction challenges fuel creativity. They’re a relatively painless pool for writers who’ve never posted their work to wet those feet, OR for established authors/bloggers to pick up a few new readers.


So, what are YOU waiting for? This week’s challenge wraps up Saturday. Unleash your writerly self.


 

#SSC 7/ May 9-14th


Happy Scribble Challenge . . . MONDAY!

Without making anyone wait ANY longer, it’s time to announce the winner for the fifth Sunday Scribble Challenge and post a brand NEW prompt to pump up those writing muscles. The votes were close this week, and Jennifer Shelby ALMOST took the prize. But, by two votes, (drum roll please) Frank Parker grabbed the win.


The prompt that week? Write a six word story with a twist ending.

Frank’s winning entry: Six feet under; six hands waving.

Frank is the author of: Transgression, Strongbow’s Wife, Summer Day, and Honest Hearts.

YOU can check out more of his stuff at his author site, here. Congratulations on the well deserved win, Frank! It’s my pleasure to invite you and/or your work to be featured in an upcoming post on Scribbles on Cocktail Napkins. This can be done in whatever way you like: a reblog, a guest blog, or even a small sample of your latest book along with a purchasing link. You decide!


Now, this week’s Scribble Challenge is all about showing. One of the first bits of advice new writers often receive is “show, don’t tell.” In truth, both showing and telling have their advantages. The best story tellers understand the value of each method in different situations and weave their stories accordingly.

This week’s challenge fell on the day after Mothers Day. I am particularly lucky because I happen to have one of the best mommacitas in the world226630_10150602586000105_2515096_nShe’s funny and friendly, and she does whatever she can to make the world a little brighter for the people lucky enough to know her.

This is one of my favorite pictures of my mom (taken by my very talented sister, who also happens to be the owner of the Calgary based company, Photolicious Photography). It was taken almost five years ago. Mom had planned to arrive in Calgary from Winnipeg in time to be present for my youngest hellion’s birth, but, as troublemakers sometimes do, he came early. When I called her from the hospital to tell her she missed the “fun,” (her word, NOT mine) she cried. I cried. We all cried. Now, I can tell you how much I love my mom. I can tell you she loves my kids. In this situation, it might be better to show you the scene when she finally met her fifth grandchild:


She set her suitcase beside the door, a wide smile across her face. The boys ran down in an eruption of feet thudding on stairs and squeals across the kitchen, waking the baby in my arms. He began to cry again, just as he’d been crying all night: the quiet, raspy wail of a somewhat colicky newborn, my unyielding alarm of the previous fifty-two hours. She hugged the boys and took the baby from me, telling me about her flight while swaying back and forth, bestowing my new son with the big soft cuddles that only the very best of grandmas can.

Miraculously, he settled. She rubbed his back. She smoothed his little tufts of soft baby hair. And, in a moment I’ll never forget, he leaned back to look her in her the eye as if he knew already how special she was, as if he could feel her love emanating into the very cockles of his heart, the exact same way that I do.

And just like that, everything was okay.


Okay, okay, enough with the sappy stuff.

Just joking.

It’s time for WAY more sappy stuff.

Because YOUR mission this week is to:quotescover-JPG-99


The Rules for this challenge? It can be long. It can be short. Do what you have to do. There are five days to ruminate if you need them. Post one submission to the prompt in the comment section below this post. DO NOT EMAIL YOUR SUBMISSIONS.

Deadline: Saturday, May 14th @noon Atlantic Daylight Time.
◾Encourage other Scribblers. Try to comment (reply) to at least three other submissions during the week.
◾After the deadline, VOTE for your favorite submission by emailing: Sundayscribblechallenge@gmail.com. Place the lucky author’s name in the HEADER of your email.

*Remember:

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Participation is quick and easy, and a great way to procrastinate interact with your writing peers.

These flash fiction challenges fuel creativity! They’re also a relatively painless pool for writers who’ve never posted their work to wet those feet, OR for established authors/bloggers to pick up a few new readers.


Trolls will be escorted back beneath their bridge along with a flaming stick of dynamite.


 

I’m Batman and This is Why I Write


“I’m Batman”, he said in the deepest voice he could muster, sounding more like a frog croaking to death.w

I’m sorry, I can’t imitate Christian Bale that well.

I’ve been suspected of being The Dark Knight by Jenny over here Scribbles on Napkins because she couldn’t find my true identity. I would have preferred Deadpool because I like to think I’m half as funny as he is. But I’ll take dark and broody. I’m easy… Not cheap! Just easy. Ask my Wife.

Back to the reason why Jenny is now my favourite person-whom-I’ve-never-met. I won an opportunity to write a guest post for her blog.

Being asked to write a guest blog is much more daunting than one would expect.  At least for me.  I can scribble any shenanigans on my own site, Ah Dad for those who were previously uninformed, and not be intimidated by the opinions of the literaty.  The literaty being any writer who has written a novel and got published and stuff.   I accepted the challenge, for I’m Batman. And this is where the shit got messy… I didn’t have the foggiest clue what to write about!

(I wonder if I am allowed to use the word “shit” on another person’s blog? Forgive me Jenny, this is virgin territory for me, like my high school career.)

Then the universe shifted and I got an idea…

wwWhat better way to introduce Ah Dad… to her prolific, educated, beautiful and highly intelligent audience than to write about why I write.

Writing is like that scene from American History X where the poor dude gets his jaw broken by Edward Norton’s boot when he forces him to lie with a gaping mouth over the pavement. Get the picture? I’m sorry if you did. O-kay fine, it’s not exactly like that. Writing is more painful.

At least on some days.

Then on the diamond days, my mind is able to conjure a gazillion ideas and my thick, (but very manly) fingers can’t keep up with the creative juices spewing like lava from Vesuvius. Burning and flowing down the side of the mountain, destroying any self doubt I might have of not being a full-blown writer. Firing up ambition of one day becoming a published author with movie rights.  Or maybe even a trilogy. (If that chick who wrote Fifty Shades of Crap can do it, anybody can!)

Only to end up having days where your imagination evaporates like water on Mars. Leaving behind a red, desolate, barren, unforgiving and uninhabitable void, crushing any dreams of writing anything worth reading.  Never mind the movies. Like that jaw-on-pavement thing.

Still I push on.  I persevere. Like a stubborn donkey. Or a regenerating Superhero waiting for my limbs to grow back, simply because I crave the diamond days like a monkey on crack.  I cherish the days when the volcano rumbles and creates that exhilarating feeling of lava exploding from my soul onto a clear blue screen. It’s spectacular!

wwwAnd that is what writing does for me. It releases my inner beauty and its beast.

But writing takes time. Google tells you that forty words per minute is an average typing speed.  I’m certainly not average. I think I manage around twenty. And that excludes the time I take with the whole autocorrect management process. And the re-writes.  A piece of 1000 words can take anything from one to two/three/forty-seven thousand hours. But it’s hours of bliss. Hours where I’m tucked away in my own little world where everything else disappears. In that world it’s just me and the cursor, racing across the screen, on a quest to save a galaxy far, far away…

And I’ve learned so much through writing.  To be patient.  To exploit my imagination.  To listen. To observe.  To appreciate.  Writing is a journey of self-discovery.

I write stories of my attempts at parenting two teenage kids and about my lovely Wife and all my wonderful friends. I write about trying to win the battle of fat vs fit, about all the weird and wonderful places I’m fortunate to see and how I’m trying NOT to kill any of my colleagues. I guess I write about life and that’s like pulling on a string from a never-ending sweater.  Peeling away layer after layer of an infinite onion because life is anything but boring.12438949_10207473223285448_619001555974982951_n

People are much more than what we think we are.  We are greater than what others might tell us.  We have more potential than what we are made to believe.  And therefore everyone can achieve anything; it’s as simple as going out and getting it. As long as we have the guts, the passion, a constant attitude adjuster and the determination of a tantrum throwing toddler in a mall, we can be anything we want to be…

Even Batman.  Or Deadpool.


Thanks, Batman!

Hilarious blogger Deadpool (okay, okay, Pieter) WON the opportunity to blog here as the winner of one of our Sunday Scribble Challenges. I’m glad I got to share his blog with you, because it’s one of the FINEST collections of musings I have ever come across. You need to stop what you’re doing and GO READ IT NOW. Spend an hour and go through the posts. You won’t regret it, I promise.


 

Did you know YOU can win the chance to guest on Scribbles on Cocktail Napkins too?? Just click #SSC on the toolbar above to check out the prompt for this week’s challenge. Participation is quick and easy, and a great way to procrastinate interact with your writing peers. 

These flash fiction challenges fuel creativity! They’re also a relatively painless pool for writers who’ve never posted their work to wet those feet, OR for established authors/bloggers to pick up a few new readers.


What are YOU waiting for? This week’s challenge wraps up Saturday. Unleash your writerly self.