Baking the Bug

I kept this little lady bug for probably 6-7 months after her accident.  I could not find it in me to toss her out just because she had a wee fall.  Ok, yeah, she’s faceless/headless.  Most would’ve just tossed her in the can w/maybe a tear.  I’m not most.  Her beauty still shined despite that one nagging little detail.  Yup, you probably guessed that I’m one of ‘those’.  In all honesty, I wouldn’t truly categorize myself as ‘one of those’ simply because I do have my dark moments where my optimism annoys the hell out of me (it’s oh so much easier/less tiring to be a pessimist).  Optimism is my curse and defect.  It has turned me into a problem/puzzle solver when things go bad.  For me there is always a fix or a way–yeah, again, exhausting.  Eh, it’s my nature so I deal.  So, moving along…

IMG_20150802_144900

IMG_20150802_140027(1)

Again, not willing to let my lady go, I decided I would ‘fix’ her.  I have, in the past, sculpted a wee bit.  A few bits and pieces of nothing truly amazing have come from my dabbling w/Sculpey and other oven bake clays.  They are fun, inexpensive, and great if you don’t have a kiln in your kitchen (yeah, if only).

IMG_20150802_140301

Let’s just say that I’m a noob/newb.  I did not lend much thought as to the ‘process’.  Images of what could work popped in my head and that is what my hands worked out on their own.  I started out with a lump of clay, rounded it, and then molded it around the jagged edges (so it would place similar to a puzzle piece) and then carefully pulled it off – thinking to use hot glue to hold it in place.   I cooked said piece and while it worked, I was not content w/some of the flaw.  Thoughts of ‘what to do’ filled my mind because my OCD was having a fit over the very noticeable (to me) imperfection.  You know that saying, ‘in for a penny, in for a pound’?  Well, there ya go.  I decided that she was going to be ‘right’ and that was that.  I was not certain of my actions, only of the knowledge that I wanted her whole.  I took a wee bit more clay and smoothed the annoying flaw over and attached it better to the body.  Ok, wet clay was not happening so I grabbed my cookie sheet and showered my bug w/hope as I set her on it then….shoved her in the oven.  For 15 min I held my breath (metaphorically of course).  After 6 min, I had to open the oven just to check.  Was anything melting?  How was her little jewels holding up to the heat?  Was her paint running?  How was the rest of her body holding up (yeah, not sure what she’s really made of btw)?  Was anything possibly going to go boom?  There’s only so much you can realllly see through the sketchy oven door even w/the light on.

IMG952015080295190024

IMG952015080295185924   

Well, my oven didn’t make the bug explode nor did her metal legs melt.       

 

 

IMG952015080295191319

IMG952015080295191240

The pics don’t really do her justice.  I think the paint was still wet and the camera on my husband’s phone doesn’t really care for me.  Anyway, my lady bug is whole, she looks like she was never in any sort of fall and I am happy.  Moral of my tale:  don’t count something/someone out when they are broken–anything/anyone can be fixed if you have the resolve/stubbornness that it/the person will be fixed!  Another way to look at it: I’m a stubborn woman who refused to throw my weird little dollie away!

Advertisements

It’s Rare, But Sometimes The World Stops

Ever driven yourself so hard that part of your mind pulls away and your body just stops moving?  The logical side says you must because, well, you’re supposed to (it’s program).  Then this, minute and rarely heard from, side says, “I’m done.  I’ve nothing left.”  With energy drained and reason no longer mattering, you falter ever so slightly. It’s as if you’ve temporarily stepped out of a whirlwind.  A peaceful drain settles over you and you’re hyper aware of how trivial the logical matters really are.  Perhaps, the true matters, that are normally pushed to the side, need to be addressed.  Of course in the end, the inevitable happens.  The logical side reboots and its will prevails.  The minute side retreats quietly.  Still, just for that moment, the world stops.

Yeah, that wee epiphany came to me during a walk at the park. Long week at work-the kind where you sit in your car after you get home and stare blankly at the dashboard.  I know that I am without a doubt OCD.  My mind works constantly and latches onto a task to make certain it is accomplished thoroughly.  I also seem to put way more into what/how I work than a few around me.  Though in all honesty, I don’t think those few are capable of anything more than what they bring as is (so it’s probably not their fault).  It can get a tad frustrating when you feel as if you do the work of two employees to their one (also not being able to rely on their assistance w/o fear of their usual mistakes).  This little revelation actually hit me several times that evening.  My husband kept looking at me strangely and asking me why I was stopping (along with the ever tiring, ‘are you o.k.?’).  A few times he tugged me along because I just couldn’t bring my body to continue.  Eh, I was done.

Pushing yourself is fine when it matters to you. Pushing yourself when you’ve really little choice in the matter and you dislike what you do, is the pits. I tend to believe that the latter takes more out of you.  I take pride in everything I do.  Yes, I’m that anal or perhaps I’m secretly a robot programmed that way. So, no matter if I hate a task or like it, it is accomplished with all that I am.  For one, if I have to put my time to it then why half do it?   Two, uh, I did it and it will be done to my best ability-it’s a pride thing.  Three, if I’m to say I did it then I refuse to have someone look at it and think cheaply of me.  Sadly, I’ve found not everyone believes as I do and it just confuses me.  Perhaps, this is why I’m so exhausted all the time?  It also doesn’t make friends. Ah well, my social skills suck anyway.

Sounds as if I need a loooonnnng vacation.  One day.  Somewhere in the mountains is where I’d go.  I live around beach area, but I’m not really a sand/water person.  Maybe I’m like a cat in the regard that I don’t do water (yes, I bathe).  I’d rather wander about where there are trees ( I have planted over 16 in my yard-so yes, tree lover I am).  Then again, perhaps a new lifestyle (a reboot, if you will) would be best.  I’ve often told my husband that I would love to move to the mountains to make jellies (yup, I’m a jelly/jam maker-dandelion, cactus, fig, pear, & peach so far) and write/illustrate my books for a living.  A reboot like that though, takes a lot of courage.  Right now, debt and kids in school seem to also make that reboot a little fantastical.  It’s frustrating that my life has me excelling and making a living doing the things I dislike.  I think…no, I know I need to turn that around.  I need to work at excelling and making a living doing things I actually like for a change.  Hopefully, when the world stops again and the reboot happens, I may have the courage to do just that.

Introvert with Extrovert Tendencies

Yup, that’s how I often describe myself.  I’m like a malfunctioned Ying/Yang as well.  What sucks about it is that I’m also an author sooooo, when I am advertising/marketing anything goes.  It also depends on how much sleep I’ve had and how the mood swings with the lack of sleep.  I do like when the “I don’t care, I’m exhausted so it WILL work” mood kicks in.  It’s the “Why do I keep doing this, no one seems to be paying any attention and I obviously suck” mood that really bites.  It’s not that I don’t believe in myself or my work.  Far from it.  I love my characters and stories so I could never be embarrassed or ashamed of them.  If anything, I want people to meet them.  They are, after all, a part of me so in a way, my characters/stories introduce me.  Yes, even the villains are a part of me.   

In crowds or at large social gatherings or even the small ones…well, let’s just say I’m a wrapped up nerve about to burst if I can’t find a quiet corner to hide…er exist in until the event is over.  Of course, if books or writing is mentioned….well then, there is no off switch and that bundled nerve unravels (so run).  So why do I find it so hard to market/advertise via social media?  Well, I’m not a pushy or ‘assertive’ type (I’m the horrible meek, quiet, you don’t see me).  Stupid, right?  Yes, it bothers me too.  It’s this annoying little malfunction or glitch in my programming that says it is impolite and people don’t want you to shove your ‘wares’ (in my case, books) down their throat-mention maybe, but don’t suffocate them.  I really don’t mind seeing Tweets or FB posts where others are presenting/selling their work (even if it is like every five minutes)–if anything, I will retweet/repost for them (well, not every five minutes). I seriously want them to do good and I hope my wee bit helps.  I always hope they do the same for me (for which I’ve learned that most don’t) and I, for some annoying reason, feel embarrassed at asking them to do the same for me (I have this silly notion in my mind that people should do things because they want to and not because they were asked).  Yes, I’m afraid that I am really that simple and silly.  I probably need to see a shrink for this defect.

Ah well, my psyche will always be an issue I guess and writing/drawing will always be my therapy.  I just need to work A LOT more on the ‘speaking up’ part and maybe learning to ask people for things.  Fortunately, we are all ‘works in progress’ so there’s still time/hope.  So with that said, while I am in the ‘just give it try’ mode, I will beseech those that read this to aide me.  Lulu (who I mostly publish through) sent an email saying that if the author gets family/friends to Tweet about their book then they will add the author to their giftguide.  I really don’t know how many Tweets must be tweeted before they decide or even if there is an end date.  I don’t imagine the same Tweeter posting loads of times would be of any help so one tweet per tweeter would most likely do.  So if you have a Twitter account and could, please, copy/paste/tweet this for me: 

Please RT @Luludotcom http://www.lulu.com/shop/christy-condoleo/pell-shade-and-the-mysterious-paper/paperback/product-18622243.html?mid=cjaffiliate #lulugiftguide for “Pell Shade and the Mysterious Paper” to be in their gift guide
 
I always return courtesies so if you are ever in need, I will definitely assist! Thank you!
 
Just so you know what your tweeting about: “Pell Shade and the Mysterious” paper is a middle-grade chapter book about a little girl who has discovered that there is something more to the origami paper her aunt gave her as a gift. It has received really wonderful reviews.  You can check them out on B&N, Amazon, and (of course) Lulu — unfortunately, each site has different reviews (I wish I could group them together so people didn’t have to site skip).
 
Here’s what one reviewer wrote on B&N (Author Anna del C. Dye for Readers Favorite) : “What a riveting tale is found in Pell Shade’s story! It is a must for elementary age, tween and young adult homes. It will receive their parents’ and teachers’ complete approval. I thoroughly enjoyed the characters and the most interesting plot I have seen in a long time. It has a refreshing new concept, one that will be loved by many readers as they discover this new well-written series. Aunt Syne is looking for a gift for her niece Pell. She wants something special and finds it in the “Rare Find Store.” The owner doesn’t want to be paid, and he knows exactly what she needs. When she gives it to her niece, the girl isn’t very impressed. The gift only consists of origami paper and a thick, probably very boring, instruction book. Everything changes when Aunt Syne makes a bird with it, and the creation starts flying. Well, all is swell and fantastic until a very disagreeable man wants Syne to give him the stack of paper. He says the papers belong to him and he won’t give up until he gets back what is his. More problems arise when the man kidnaps one of the two heroines and wants to exchange the papers for the person in his hands. Their only hope lies with two unlikely friends they find in kids that have nothing but each other.
 
This tale is quite unique and will be very compelling to many readers. I know you will love it, as I did. It is, without a doubt, a page-turner. I can’t wait for the next piece in the series. Well done.”
 
Image
Statua Magis = Imagine More
(In Pell Shade, it is what brings the origami paper to life)
 

Indie Author Roller-coaster

I am a daydreamer who decided to let loose my stories, characters, and thoughts into the physical world via words. Now, those daydreams are written on paper or across an electronic screen. Due to the fact that I am impatient and headstrong, I self-publish. Oh, I do occasionally try to locate a traditional publisher or an agent, but after the second or third send-off I lose the desire. The reason for my search: I suck at marketing. Oh, I’ve wonderful ideas that have even been ‘borrowed’ by other authors and a few small publishers I’ve met at local signings, but I am not a car salesman. I do believe in my books and love them, but I’m mostly an introvert. I write because there is a story to be told and I want to share it. So what if my books are not published through the traditional methods-there are plenty of Indie Authors out there today. Of course, that decision is like buying a ticket for a roller-coaster. I loathe roller-coasters, but I have rode them for my children. Much like I am with the ride I loathe some aspects of being an Indie author, but I love creating stories. Daydreaming is my thrill and like the air we breath, I find it necessary so I continuously ride.

Inspiration may come in even the smallest tidbit (i.e. word, object, sound, etc.) and a story is created. Praise from not only one, but multitudes of readers give affirmation that I did something right and I am on a smooth track. With that said, the soul-sucking, muse-killing, ‘step on me please’ moment can cut short the track and I drop. An example for this is learning that a school mate, who took the traditional route, landed an agent and then subsequently a publishing house for two books. It’s yin/yang hell and those random happenings pop up like an extreme game of whack-a-mole or the straight tracks and sick drops of a roller-coaster. Writing is addictive though so what can you do? Once you finish a story and receive praise… Well, it’s like eating chips or chocolate gummi bears — one is not enough (story or accolade).

Did I mention those pesky outside forces that do not involve the ‘creative world’, but yet can have a damning influence? Ah yes, those lovely reminders that elves are not cleaning your house, you doubt there is a paying job that you will ever like, you have yet to find a tree that grows money, a vacation is something everyone else gets, exhaustion flows through you more than your own blood, and those darling angels you gave birth to no longer adore you. Yeah, those wonderful dips in the Indie ride can zap your muse. What can you do when that happens? Good question. I’m not certain there is just one answer. I think everyone must find their own solution. For me, I hang on tightly, tuck my chin to my chest, and close my eyes when it goes for the drop. It’s hard and sometimes it takes a few tries, but my chin eventually does unglue from my chest and I reopen my eyes. Once I get over mourning ‘what I am not’ and decide that I don’t really want to get off the ride, I force myself to sit in front of my laptop or stare down at a piece of paper with my pencil in hand and tell myself that I will…

There will always be calm lulls and teasing dips that sometimes turn to acrophobia-worthy high climbs and heart-squeezing drops…you just need to be stubborn and hang on to the bar.

Speak to me!

wordpress

Only, please don’t use big words…unless you know their definition.  It’s not that I don’t know or like ‘big’ words, I just don’t like listening to someone who misuses them.  Yes, some words sound smart and may make you feel like you are Einstein, but know your word (meaning) and how to use it (please) before your mouth spouts it out. If used improperly, you end up sounding rather…silly.  Seriously.  I am a writer and a word geek.  I’d much rather hear or read someone use two sentences to get a point across than to try to use one word that they have absolutely no clue what it means.  No, I don’t correct them (unless I’m editing for them), but I do cringe (or  twitch).  People who use big words are not smarter nor do they sound smarter and really, what is a ‘big’ word?  Well, to be honest, I’m not quite certain.  I don’t imagine that it’s just the length of the word that causes it to be big.  I have said five letter words and had to define them before.  I’ve even looked up six letter words.  Perhaps, it’s the familiarity?  I pick up words from conversations/reading and sometimes use them unintentionally so I’m willing to believe that others do as well.  The one difference is that I also pick up the definition/meaning as well.  If I run across a word that I am unfamiliar with (be it reading or conversation) and I have even the slightest question as to its meaning, then I will look it up  to be certain before I use it.

Words can be powerful tools, but only if you know how to use them properly.

Random tidbits…

When I write, I constantly research.  I may write fiction/fantasy, but I feel I should know the truth of the subject matter that I am focused on before I write or better still, alter.  No matter how tiny or seemingly inconsequential the matter.  Yes, I’m that annoying.  I’m currently working on a picture book (over 500 words) and a pic book (only 500 words) for a contest entry.  Yes, yes, children’s stories, but that doesn’t mean that there can’t be some fact in them.  For example: In my children’s pic book, “Something Greater Than Fear”, my dear Ms. Figgs takes some spider web and applies it to the owl’s wound to stop the bleeding.  That’s a fact.  Also, spiders to me are fascinating yet they also freak me out.  While these websites aren’t the original source I discovered it, they too support the fact. http://www.funtrivia.com/en/subtopics/The-Amazing-Spider-Web-319037.html and  http://www.livescience.com/1094-spider-silk-repair-human-ligaments.html .  I always check more than two or three sources and always check the source itself.

So…did you know birds have the sense of smell, but some rely more on their eyes and sense of touch than smell? I was researching crows for this one. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110412201724.htm  and http://www.birdsandblooms.com/Birds/Summer/Can-Birds-Smell-or-Taste/  Also did you realize that only male crickets chirp? http://cricket-breeding.com/how-and-why-do-crickets-chirp/   Some seaweed…have air bladders in it to help it float. http://nature.ca/explore/di-ef/isap_e.cfm  Also, ‘ginormous’ is actually a word despite my 2003 copy of Microsoft Word’s spell checker!

Also, a fun fact…I research any name that I give my characters.  Some may be gaelic and some may come from what the story is centered around.  For example, in Pell Shade, almost all of the names come from paper, writing tools, or ink.  Mnemosyne was the Greek Goddess of Memory or Mother of the Muses.  Awl Blott, well since he is the bad guy…Awl – a pointed instrument used for piercing small holes and Blott – take off the extra ‘t’ and you have a spot or stain, especially of ink on paper.  I feel a name is just as important as the character.  To quote Boingo from “Hoodwinked” :

“Dolph, tie up the brat; Liesel, hold the book; Vincent, get the truck; and Keith… darn it change your name, please. That’s not scary and I’m embarrassed to say it. Boris, try that. Keith, ya know, OOOO Watch out for Keith!”

Turtles!

Holidays bring out the baker in me and this is such an easy treat that the wee ones can help through all of the steps (maybe not the oven though).  While these little treats don’t require ANY fuss (other than unwrapping a bazillion chocolates), they still require a bit of ovenly heat and assembly.  I would say that they are cheap to make, but pecans are pricy.  It’s not necessary to use the exact brands I did – well, except for the Rollos, of course I think there is a knock-off brand out there.  I had one bag, but thought to purcahse another (I’ve loads of goodie recipients).  I asked my dear husband to pick up an extra bag of Rollos and of course, it has become the ‘hot’ thing to buy so he picked up a few rolls from the checkout area as a substitute.  I don’t know how cost effective it is, but there are 6 to a roll and that’s 6 I didn’t have to unwrap.

 

Ingredients:

Bag of small pretzels (I like to use the square ones)

Bag of Pecans

Bag of Rollos

 

Utensils:

Cookie Sheet

Oven (350 degrees)

 

1) Take your ingredients and prepare.  You could, unwrap all those lovely chocolately carmel candies at one sitting and put them

all in a bowl until you are ready to assembly OR you can just unwrap as you go.

EXIF_JPEG_T422

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2)  Place pretzels onto an ungreased cookie sheet-leave a wee space between them.

EXIF_JPEG_T422

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3) Place unwrapped Rollo candy onto the pretzel.

EXIF_JPEG_T422

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4) Heat on 350 degrees in oven for 3-5 minutes.  You may want to keep an eye on them-three minutes goes by faster than you think.

 

5) Once warmed enough, take a pecan a press (gently) it into the softened Rollo.  I like mine to keep the carmel inside the chocolate.  In this picture, I actually left them in too long so the one with the pecan was already flattened.  The others somehow managed to stay in form (so I pressed the pecan in them after the picture was taken).

EXIF_JPEG_T422

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6) Let them cool and you have a great little treat!

 

7) There are a few variations however that you can use in this recipe–only you probably shouldn’t call it Turtles if you use them.

  • Instead of pecans, you could use M&M’s, walnuts, or any other type of small goody.
  • You could choose a different shaped pretzel.
  • You could use a white chocolate disk instead of the Rollos.

 

However you make them, have fun and then share them with everyone!