Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sunshine, Writing, Wings, and Beer!

So, I went to the park today. It’s beautiful here. It’s my day off from work, and the weatherman must have taken pity on me because it’s the only day this week that’s supposed to be in any way, shape or form nice. It’s a gorgeous 25 degrees C outside, with just the right amount of breeze blowing. There are a few clouds in the sky, and the look like giant bits of whipped cream, and they are taking their time in lazily crossing the sky.
              
The park is pretty much deserted. It’s one of the few parks here that are usually empty. I think I made a good choice in coming to this one today. I haven’t really gone anywhere solo since we moved here nearly two years ago. There is another park a little way from this one and it has this really silly little water fountain/play place that all the little kids love. But, I’m enjoying this one. It’s wide and spacious and full of green grass (if a little damp) with a baseball field, and walking trails. The Mattagami runs along one side of it and this cute little lady just walked past with her two handsome dogs to go play in the water. A gaggle of daycare kids just made their way down on the walking paths looking for all the world like little ducklings and goslings following the grown up ducks and swans. Oh, look. There’s a woman walking her husky, who’s panting really heavily. As warm as it is for me, I can only imagine how the fur-clad animals must feel.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Nothing Really Specific

Our apartment smells amazing, right now. Dev is cooking curry - again. I love it. Every time I mention cooking, it seems that Dev is always the one cooking. I do cook I swear. I just can't cook and write all at the same time. I mean, I AM pretty talented but that's a level of talent I just haven't reached yet.

It's been a crazy, messed up week and I felt like my writing mojo just ... disappeared. That, along with the fact I've been pumping Cyndi's blog tour an awful lot as of late, I feel like I haven't done any actual writing. So, my love cooks today while I flex my writing muscles. He is seriously the best. He may not get my writing, but he supports it regardless, and I love him for it.


Friday, July 26, 2013

Cyndi Speaks ...

So, in case you really haven't been paying attention lately, I'm a host blogger for the Even In Darkness blog tour that begins July 28th. Yesterday, it was revealed about contest and prizes and such other exciting news. Now, here is an officially prepared statement from a really lovely creature that I meet on Twitter who has been really working with Cyndi, myself and KoomKey to really make this blog tour and contest really, really successful. I cannot take credit for this Really Official Announcement today, but send my thanks to Theresa Largusa! 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

WE'RE TAKING OVER!!!!!!!

Okay, so for the next little while, my blog will be temporarily overtaken by talking about KoomKey and Cyndi's blog tour. No, the account hasn't been hacked or anything, I'm just super excited to help support and promote some really cool things that I have somehow managed to find myself a part of thanks to the beauty of social networking, media and the awesomeness that the interwebs (sometimes) provides.

So there IS an update with Cyndi's blog tour and the contest!! The Even In Darkness tour has teamed up with KoomKey and is offering three cash prizes to the winners of each category! Yes, cash. Cold hard cash. Real money that you can cash out in to you're bank account and spend on real things - like one cent candy, if you can still find a corner store that even sells them anymore! And trust me when I say that I'm not blowing smoke out of my butt - I've tried KoomKey. I use it almost every day, this amazing little tip jar attached to my Twitter feed. So, when I say it's real money ... believe me it's real money. I purchased a $5 credit with KoomKey (it was super fast and totally legit, don't worry. My bank account isn't wiped out nor has my identity been stolen or anything of the sort) and decided to pass out a dollar here and there to people I thought were doing something really great. I don't have a PayPal account - I know, I know, I know .. I'm one of the few people on the planet who doesn't - and I thought this was a great way to give back to people who were doing things that either inspired me to write something, or share their stories with me, and let me read theirs. That measly $5 doubled in like ... two days. People were giving me REAL MONEY! I thought it was pretty cool! And what did I do? I turned around and gave that money to other people, who give it to someone else, who passes it along to another person, who donates it some place else!

But I'm getting excited and ahead of myself and there's so much more to tell you about KoomKey that I have to save it all for that Really Big Thing I'm writing on it.

Back to the blog tour! Yes, there are cash prizes, and I'm totally stoked about it!! Insofar as they exist, here are The Rules:

- to be eligible for this contest you must have a Twitter account. Just in case you're selected as a Winner or Runner Up in one of the three categories, KoomKey will link up with your Twitter account and send you a nice little prize

- ALL ENTRIES for the contest MUST be submitted to the following e-mail address:  aidensangels@yahoo.com

As of right now, I don't think there is an established deadline but I would assume it to be near or at the end of the blog tour. Also, a good note to the more verbose readers and fans out there. Cyndi might give herself a kick in the arse for this later when she's reading them all, but the Fan Fiction submission DO NOT have a word length limit! But, please be gentle. We'd like to see Cyndi again (and a new book?) in the relatively near future!

So, just what is it exactly is it that you're all competing for anyway? Well, like I said earlier ... cash.
"Well, just how much cash?" you ask.
"Well, I'm glad you asked that!" says I!

This was just confirmed recently from KoomKey, who is offering the following cash prizes. Please note that each category will have 3 winners. That's some serious cash being paid out, and if you win you're free to do whatever you like with it!

1st Prize is $30 in Kashkeys
2nd Prize is $20 in Kashkeys
3rd Prize is a $10 Kashkey

That's all the information I have for you right now, but like I said yesterday keep an eye on Cyndi's Twitter, Facebook page, and blog. I'm sure that once everything has been finalized she'll put up a much more official looking post. In the meantime, lookit here! Don't forget that the blog tour will run July 28th - August 3rd! I'll be posting where you can go on the tour to read and comment and share in the love of Cyndi's writing and Aiden McRae as well!

Until next time, keep fit and have fun!!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Blog Tour Updates!

Right then. Let's get right to it shall we.

So, the universe has seen fit to bring together some really amazing people this past week and I'm really excited to be a part of some of them. I stumbled quite literally upon a new site called KoomKey, which in a nutshell acts and functions like an on-line tipjar! The ramifications from this amazing new tool are endless and exciting and I have somehow managed to find myself at an almost grassroots level on the Twitter Machine spreading the word out - but there's more coming on that front, and if I give away all the good bits now, then you won't have a reason to come back later on.

The next thing that's really exciting is the blog tour that I'm going to be a part of. Well, some excitement was generated today in my inbox as myself, Cyndi and another really lovely woman named Theresa (who's name I shall always pronounce as if I am Spanish ... don't ask me why). As you know, Cyndi has a blog tour coming up later this month to help promote her recently released book Even In Darkness and from what I can tell, she's gathered herself quite the loyal following of fans and supporters.

Essentially, along with the blog tour there will be a contest!! As of right this very second, details aren't fully fleshed out, but I can give you all an overview of some of the exciting things you can look for, and when I know more you'll know more. It might also be a good idea to keep an eye on Cyndi's Twitter and website.

Right then ... Calling All Aiden's Angels!

Consider this your call to submit your ideas for the following:
           
             * Cover Art for Between! Nobody's asking you to reinvent the wheel or anything, just get a little creative in whatever paint program works best for you and see what you come up with!

            * Make A Book Trailer for Even In Darkness! Since I have no idea how this really works ( I assume you could use software like iMovie and whatnot) I'm not terribly sure how to explain this. Essentially, think of a movie trailer. But use the book instead. Sounds simple enough right?

           * A Call for Fan Fiction Submissions! Has something in the series really inspired you to write? Then get to it! This is a call for your submissions of fan fiction. We're still working at this point as to just where exactly these submission will actually be sent (as much as we love Cyndi, we can't go flooding her inbox with 2894345806230582 bits of contest submissions, now can we? Then she'll never get back to writing more about Aiden!) but this is really just a heads up for all of you to get you're thinking caps on, your quills out, and the inspiration flowing.

There will be prizes awarded as well, which is going to be exciting! But, like I said earlier if I give you all the good details now, then you won't have a reason to come back later! So. Stay tuned, and keep your eyes peeled. I'll be updating my own Twitter as well when there is anything new to report, which will direct you back here.

Understood, comrades?

Good Luck!!!

Friday, July 19, 2013

A Brief Word, If I May ...

So, today I shall try to be brief. It's after midnight and I have to work in the morning. But I'm full of really different feelings tonight, and I'm switching between several different writing projects, music videos and house chores.

At the ungodly hour of 11pm, I was harboring the urge to clean the entire apartment. I even wanted to get out a mop and wash the walls (given the amount of splattered mosquito guts that adorn several places, this notion isn't entirely unfounded. It's just entirely ridiculous at 11pm to undertake that sort of project). I might have entertained this notion for about two whole minutes, and told myself to be satisfied with the fact that I had just washed the dishes and given the toilet a quick scrub. I ended my encounter with domesticity by whipping up a quick lunch for Dev to take to work tomorrow and prepping the coffee pot - we drink enough of the stuff that the amount we spend on buying coffee, filters, milk and sugar probably equals the GDP of a small country.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Twitter, Herself, and Me

Right then! I know it has been several days since I've really written anything - that is not to say that I haven't been writing, however - but I guess you could say I have been mucking along in the trenches. Anyway, I have had this post ready for awhile now, but I've been sitting on it.

I will, however, make the assumption that no news is good news. Diana Gabaldon is really a rather busy woman lately - anyone following her Facebook and Twitter accounts can attest to that. She's been introducing the world to the newly cast Jamie Fraser aka Sam Heughan, and trying her level best to keep the outcry over Really Silly Things from fans to a minimum. These efforts in and of themselves deserve an award because, as fans, we tend to be overzealous sometimes. 

So, I wrote this and sent a copy to Diana Gabaldon - convinced that I was utterly crazy in doing so. So, I leave you with this. 

There are also some helpful links for you as well, if you wish to view them. I've linked up to Herself's webpage, blog and Facebook page,  and Sam's Twitter and Facebook Fan Page. There is also apparently a Twitter group for Sam's fans called Heughligans so have some fun with that as well!



Saturday, July 6, 2013

An Explanation

I wrote this yesterday:

We grow up. Inevitably. Life demands so much from us, in that unrelenting and selfish way. We finish grade school, get an education from some upstanding college or university, and are expected along the way to get "real jobs" and figure out who we are as individuals. Meanwhile, there are the more practical problems of paying rent and bills, building and maintaining relationships, and all of our efforts seem to be localized at just trying to get both ends to meet; to keep our heads above water. Life never really wants to wait. For anything. It makes constant demands. So where, and when, and how, in the pursuit of meeting these demands are we supposed to figure out just who the hell we are and just what the hell do we wanna be "when we grow up." Even now, at 30 I still have to seriously wonder whether or not that I'm a grown up. Society has dictated that I am, but I certainly don't feel like one. I stay up later than I should, eat too much food that's bad for me, and - on occasion - make incredibly terrible choices. Surely, no responsible and well put together adult suffers from this affliction, do they? To those adults I say this ..."You're doing it wrong."

I don't usually defend my writing, but in the interest of trying to open a continuing dialogue, I feel that it's important to discuss it when something makes one of you uncomfortable, or my meaning isn't clear, or there is something you just wish I had made a little clearer. Please bear in mind that this is just my own humble opinion. You do not have to agree, and it cannot be taken as fact. 

What I am trying to say is that, even as adults, there has to be a way for us to be able to hold on to moments that fill us with childlike wonder. And the only way that we're going to recognize those moments is if we remember what it felt like to be that little kid. 

Perhaps my ability to love and share and revel in these moments is a product of how I grew up. Imagination and reading and playing and stories were a part of my life from a very young age. I started reading The Babysitter's Club, Goosebumps, Ramona and Beezus. My collection as a kid included Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Charlotte's Web, and a more than a few Sweet Valley High books. We were read countless Dr.Seuss books, Bernstein Bears. There were countless trips made the library - I spent hours there after school as a kid, looking at all those glorious shelves filled with countless and wondrous books, 

I remember that, when playing with one of my older brothers (he was He Man) I would pretend to be Shera. I had no idea who she was but with a name like Shera she had to be pretty kick ass. 

Anyway, all I'm basically trying to say is that people like me ... we connect dots. We think in abstracts and colors, while other think in logical A+B=C patterns, all in black and white. And that's okay. 

I was wrong to say that you're doing it wrong. You are living life as only you know how. Just as I am living life the only way that I can. The world needs people like me just as much as it needs people like you. We bring balance to one another. Your logic brings balance to our whimsy. I for one am not always a grounded person. While my feet are literally touching the ground, metaphorically speaking, my head is in the clouds busy with dreams. And it's easy to forget the Real World and it's problems and the calling of Real Life and sometimes we need a tug to bring us back.

Just, return us to the ground gently.

And when we return, we'll tell you about what we saw and dreamed and thought about while we were travelling in the clouds. And if you don't understand it all, that's okay. We'll live those moments for the two of us, just as long as you continue to love us, bear with us, and listen to us. We might not understand the logic and practicality of the way you see and encounter the world - and that's fine. As often we think in abstract, or the bigger picture, we are sometimes capable of looking at the practical way of the world, though it might be difficult for us at first. I'm not saying that you have dream dreams like we do. And I'm not saying that a practical life is a boring life. What I am trying to say is that, at times, just try to have a little fun. Infuse it with some small abstract, some tiny little dream, a little drop of color. And, if you cannot, or find that it is hard, then talk to us. We will lend you our dreams, tell you our stories, and maybe in the listening of them you might understand us just a little better, love us a little more.

But in the end, please ... 

Return us to the ground, gently.

Friday, July 5, 2013

The Universe Speaks

I had actually meant to do this thing yesterday, but through my own stupidity, I somehow managed to loose an entire hours worth of writing (and the subsequent soul searching that had gone along with it) by simply clicking the wrong button.

That'll teach me not to save long, thought-inducing posts as drafts, during the writing.

Right then. On with it, shall we?

I turned 30 a few weeks ago. I actually had a really great time and was surprised to find that the world didn't end - well, my world at least. I will admit to being mildly self-absorbed at times. Despite being inexorably pulled towards what I was convinced was going to be the worst day of my life EVER, and dreading the dawn of said day ... it was actually pretty painless. I had been of the mind that I would be weeping myself senseless at having reached this milestone birthday. For the few days leading up to it, I felt as if I had been dragging a giant boulder around my neck, and was nearly paralyzed with the weight of it. But, my world didn't end, and for that I am grateful.

In fact, I feel as if my world as opened up and that the Universe has been speaking to me. Here I am, 30 years old and still dreaming of that "dream job." But, here's the thing. Writing is my dream job. All my life I've wanted to write. I was that kid in school who loved history papers (but not the required research), English essays and assignments ... anything that allowed me to use words to explain, describe, argue, demonstrate and illustrate. I love words. I love really strange words like cantankerous, flibbertigibbet, and nefarious. Ever since I was a little kid, I had wanted to be a writer - or at the very very least knew that I wanted to be involved in writing. Of course, when you are between the ages of eight and ten and you fill out an aptitude-esq booklet that gauges whether you have a knack for writing and it comes back weeks later in the mail and you read it and go "holy shit, I do!!" you have to wonder how much of that feeling is real honesty on the behalf of the Unseen Entity that really made you believe you could be a writer, and how much of it was just a quick scam to get some fast cash from you're parents. But then, the Universe does you a solid and a local magazine asks you to submit a couple of book reviews, and you feel pretty effing amazing about yourself.

But what sensible human being bases their life ambition on the awesome, dream-affirming moments you have as an eight year old. Apparently, some of the happiest people on the planet have known what they wanted to do since they were kids. But, the problem is ... is that we can't stay eight years old forever, and it's so hard to maintain the dreams and illusions and innocence we had when we were that young. We still believed in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, the gold at the end of the rainbow, the moon was made of green cheese, and there was no such thing as too much ice cream.

That last one I am still a believer in though, thankfully. I think it's an unshakable truth of the universe.

We grow up. Inevitably. Life demands so much from us, in that unrelenting and selfish way. We finish grade school, get an education from some upstanding college or university, and are expected along the way to get "real jobs" and figure out who we are as individuals. Meanwhile, there are the more practical problems of paying rent and bills, building and maintaining relationships, and all of our efforts seem to be localized at just trying to get both ends to meet; to keep our heads above water. Life never really wants to wait. For anything. It makes constant demands. So where, and when, and how, in the pursuit of meeting these demands are we supposed to figure out just who the hell we are and just what the hell do we wanna be "when we grow up." Even now, at 30 I still have to seriously wonder whether or not that I'm a grown up. Society has dictated that I am, but I certainly don't feel like one. I stay up later than I should, eat too much food that's bad for me, and - on occasion - make incredibly terrible choices. Surely, no responsible and well put together adult suffers from this affliction, do they? To those adults I say this ..."You're doing it wrong."

Life may not wait, but there comes a point when we have to make it wait. It isn't going anywhere, and more often than not, all our days sort've all blend in together and it becomes hard to tell one day from the other. The days I remember the best, are days that I've written something, or been inspired by a video or a song, or a conversation or a dream.

The internet has been very good to me lately, along with the Universe. Some very wonderful and very inspiring videos have been viewed on my laptop screen and I can't help but visualize the great mouth of the Universe wide open and screaming right in my ear. The first of these videos was this one, by the lovely, amazing Amanda Palmer. It's from her keynote address earlier this year in Boston, shortly after the Boston Marathon bombings and it's called (more or less)"Connecting The Dots." The address is beautiful. And it is here that I think the Universe is telling me to make.Life.wait. And write.

This little space that I have here, is my own digital creative space, and the second I hit the button to "publish" .. is really a much less cool version of me running wildly about the place, banging on doors and asking you to read something that I just wrote. Instead of getting the middle finger, there would be doors slamming in my face. So whether it be the romantic version that Amanda envisions, or me standing upon my doorstep saying "Come look at what I just wrote!" I am asking you to be a part of this with me. It's very scary, embarking on this. At some point, we all want validation and that's what has held me back for so long- the dreaded thought of "What if I'm really not that good?!" Now, granted there are almost always people who will tell you that you're good at something - close friends, family, partners. But it's really kind of their job to tell you that you really are good at something. If you can't get support from those closest to you, then we are really and truly fucked, as a group. Getting validation on the internet is so hard when you have to compete with things like cat videos on YouTube - you watch them, admit it! And of all the blogs that are out there (and a lot of them are really good) surely mine ... this tiny little space that you've only stumbled upon because I led you down the path, or at the very least gave you vague directions on how to get here ... doesn't measure up. Does it? Quite frankly, I don't really know. So, i content myself by checking (almost obsessively) the stats that Blogger keeps track of for me. And while I can pretty much guess at who all my readers are, I am grateful to you nonetheless. The fact that my pageviews continue to rise is proof that I'm doing something right.

What that something is, I have no idea.

The other video that crossed my path, was from Neil Gaiman and his address to a graduating Univeristy class full of Arts degree students which has recently been turned in to a neat little book called Make Good Art.


And even though I can watch this video endlessly for free, I'm going to buy the book. It's available on Amazon.ca, which makes me happy.

So, despite the fact that I am haunted by self doubt that I really am good at this whole writing shtick, and I envision The Fraud Police almost constantly, I can't help but think that maybe ... just maybe,if I invite them in and offer them some wine that they will change their minds, tell me it's okay to make it up as I go along because I'll be okay, and that if I'm not scared shitless a time or two, just do what Frankie says and relax ... being scared must mean you're doing it right.

So, dear friends, writers, comrades, dreamers, believers, dancers, artists, blog aficionados, readers, souls and brothers in arms ...

The door is open. Please, come in. Invite your friends. Bring wine or beer or your beverage of choice. Break bread and commune with me.