Coffee Brains

Good Monday morning!

coffee

WANA Commons
photo credit: thesparechangekitchen: Louise Vansleve

Ha, I can hear the yawns and the growls. Don’t talk to me before I’ve had my caffeine. Can you relate? Three Sundays ago, I was making coffee at church in one of those BIG hot-water-ready machines and I poured half of the freshly made decaf back in the water reservoir. What? Yeah, hadn’t had my usual dose of caffeine that morning. Yawn.

Recently a friend posted a link to an article about caffeine. I ignored it. I was afraid it was going to be one of those STOP drinking coffee articles. I love my tea, my coffee, but I’m finding that its helping less and less to get a good jump start on the day, except for staving off caffeine-depended headaches. And a second cup to help pull me through the afternoon just makes me jittery and buzzy. Coffee Brains. So I decided to read the article. Bingo. My lack of get-up-and-go stemmed from two reasons.

  1. I’m a mom of a spit-fire little monkey and the energizer bunny coupled with late nights, yeah, no amount of caffeine is going to fix that. SLEEP.
  2. My body has developed a tolerance for it. So I get less bang for my cup of joe/tea in the morning. Man, it sounds like I’m drugs or something. Oh, wait, I am!

So what should we do? Ante up the serving? No, this articles suggests lessening your caffeine take and saving it for the day you really need a jump start. Yeah, like that’s going to happen. LOVE me some tea in the morning, a little sugar, a little cream. Mmmm…

But perhaps there’s another way? Just maybe if I take better care of myself and eat healthier and get more sleep, would I need the caffeine? I used to shower in the morning, that helped a little but with the monkey and the energizer bunny, that won’t be happening for a long time. Now is not the time for muddled brains! I need clarity, objectivity and a color-coded schedule. I thought caffeine helped with those, but not so much anymore.

What do you think? Yay or nay? Are you a coffee, tea, or a pop person? (Yeah, yeah, I know. I’m from the North.) What do you do to get a jump start on the day? Any of y’all use B vitamins or supplements?

Well, here’s to a great start for the rest of the week. And no, I won’t be cutting back on my caffeine intake at this point, I’m only drinking a pot two cups a day. 😀

Blogging on Dreams

Today, I am the guest blogger over at The New Authors’ Fellowship. Dreams Reborn. Have your dreams been crushed? Or are you pursuing them? Have you reached them? Read the post and let me know! Thanks!

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Later this week, we are going to celebrate a year of blogging fun and friends with a giveaway. 🙂

Have a great day!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Let's go get them!

Let’s go get them!

 

Usually by this time, I will have lists of goals for the upcoming year. Not New Year Resolutions. I’ve got big dreams, and if I want to achieve them, then I better be doing something about them. Right? Well, after having kids, I’ve had to learn to become a lot more flexible. So, here I am looking at 2013, and I don’t have any concrete goals yet. But soon. Very soon.

There are some exciting opportunities in 2013. Lots of adventures. Lots of books to read, that’ll be another post. Ha! I’m not exactly sure when or how it’s all going to come about, but one thing I can tell you, its going to be one wild ride.

What goals do you have for the new year? Anything exciting happening, any adventures in 2013?

 

In the Beginning

Don’t begin with weather, dreams or “happy people in happy land” as James Scott Bell puts it in The Art of War for Writers. Last week we discussed the first line, the hook: bring us in and engage us quickly. Today we talk about setting the mood of the opening scene without using “clichéd or predictable story beginnings.”

What are some of your favorite opening scenes from books? Does it involve any of the aforementioned no-no’s? I’ve read several novels that start out with the weather, but as Bell points out, they usually are tied into the characters point of view. So what makes the opening scene good? I’m sure extended descriptions of weather without a reason to care would bore us, and we wouldn’t read on. Or if we discover the beginning was a only dream, we might feel cheated and throw the book aside. The “happy people in happy land” is what Bell calls an opening that feels like “pure setup”, but the complaint is that the engaging action doesn’t happen soon enough.  If we want to use an opening like that, we must weave in a “breath of disturbance to carry us along” as Bell puts it.

So, how then shall we begin our story? How do we set the mood? Here is where art meets craft. We choose words in order to create the feeling we want the reader to walk away with. Bell gives the example from Tick Tock by Dean Koontz. The author chose words like shadow, swooped, shade, frantic, & then the character thinks he should see something but he doesn’t. Kind of gave me chills and intrigued me enough to want to read on.

So what say you? Disagree or agree? What are some other clichéd beginnings? What about prologues? Do you think they should follow the same restrictions?

No Plan B For Me

Living life balanced between reality and dreams

The other day I was sitting at the table while my kids ate lunch, my mind started to wander. I do that a lot by the way, and most people can attest to that. Anyway, my thoughts drifted to my children. Though, they are still quite young, I thought about their strengths, talents, and likes. My boy loves to act out his favorite stories, and my girl loves to sing and dance. If they decided to chase after dreams, would I as their mother tell them they need a plan B?

At the conclusion of my wandering thoughts, I said no. Plan B will not allow us to soar after our dreams. It invokes doubt. We’ll never be good enough. The way is too hard, so many other people are chasing the same dreams. What makes us any different?

Our focus is all wrong. Does it matter that others pursue the same dream? We are relational people. We need others who understand the insanity related to our dreams.

Granted, we need to be realistic. Do we really want this dream? Then do what it takes to achieve it. If that means getting a day job to pay the bills while we purse our dream, do it. What benefit do we give our children (and ourselves!) by telling them they need a plan B just in case it doesn’t work out? Make it apart of the package. We still need to eat, have a place to sleep, clothes to wear, etc. So that should be considered in our pursuit of our dreams.

I want to create stories that sweep people off their feet to fantastical places and adventures with characters they love. That is my dream. What is yours?

A Man of Many Talents

My husband is a man of many talents. He can sing, play the guitar, keyboard, bass, and the congas. He can cook, sew, make bricks, and develop websites and computer programs. I’m sure I’m leaving something out, but you get the idea.

Anyways, last night while I was letting the paint dry on my latest art project, he was recording a new song. A love song for our babies. Of course, if we have another one, he’ll have to add another verse or two. 🙂 The song was born soon after our littlest one joined our family, and almost every night thereafter, he would get out the toy guitar and sing it to the kiddos before bedtime. I’m not sure what he plans to do with the song, but maybe he’ll let me share it with you all after he finishes editing it.

When our son was born, he was inspired to write a song called, Rest in You, which he then recorded on his first solo album. You can find more information on his website and even sample some of his songs. http://www.jamesmbewe.com

music

Life does have a way of sneaking up on us, so a hardcopy of the CD isn’t available yet. He has a couple of other songs he’s written, so I’m assuming a new album will be in the future, just not sure when. He is a busy man, with many talents and lots of dreams. Our journey together is exciting and it is interesting to see it all unfold. He is an amazing man and he supports my crazy dreams of being a published author. Sigh. I best get back to work, now.  Hope you all have a great weekend. 😀

Reach for the Stars

The writer of potential greatness settles not for “mere fiction”

This post marks the beginning of the Tactic section, where we’ll look at how to take our writing to the next level. James Scott Bell starts us off by commending us to reach for the stars and not settle for mere fiction. So…what does that mean exactly?

According to Bell, it’s about writing more than just to pay the bills. An apotheosis, he claims.  I was like what? So I looked it up.

  1. The highest level of glory or power.
  2. The best example of something.
  3. Transformation into deity.

Wow. No pressure.

One of the best ways to improve our writing is to read. A lot. And across genres. But what books are considered the best of the best? Bell uses Herman Melville and Stephen King as examples of authors who’ve not settled for mere fiction, but Melville wasn’t recognized during his time, having only sold twelve copies of Moby-Dick. And King, well, most of us know his story.

So this leads me to ask: What makes a book the best of the best? Perhaps I’m over thinking this… but I don’t know if I could label books as “mere fiction”. What if I like “mere fiction”? Gulp. On the other hand, I can tell you the books I’ve loved, but they might not be everyone’s cup of a tea. If we over analyze and become too critical, won’t we ruin the reading experience?  Thoughts to ponder or not.  Either way, I’m going to read a lot, learn to write well, and dream big.

So, what say you? Agree or disagree? What books do you LOVE? What books disappointed and why? If you’re not writing a book, what “stars” are you reaching for?