Sunday, November 22, 2009
The Phoenix Rising Anthology releases this week!
Four Changeling Press authors joined together for this special anthology, in which our characters rise from the ashes and overcome great odds in order to rise and embrace life again.
My contribution is called Draggin' in Phoenix. This is a gender-bending little short, about Jessica, who is kicked out of her family home when her parents discover that her tendency to dress as a man isn't just the casual dress of a tomboy. Without the break with from her family, Jessica never have taken the risk and embraced her true nature.
Jessica and Alan are dedicated with great love and respect to Geri, Carrie, Chris, and others that had the courage to step out of the shadows and be who they really are.
Today I was thinking about some of the hard knocks that have affected my life. As a young woman, I became estranged from my father, and in the past years, I've never regretted that decision. So I wondered what would have become of me if I'd stayed close to him. What would have happened if my mother hadn't divorced him, and he'd remained a major part of my life.
It wouldn't have been good.
I wouldn't have attended college, and if I had, I wouldn't have struggled through all the obstacles that were thrown in the way. I might have remained in the dysfunctional marriage that I was caught in. In all certainty, I wouldn't be writing.
Sometimes we have to walk through fire and allow it to consume us in order to grow and become the people we are destined to be.
All proceeds from the Phoenix Rising Anthology will be donated to the Save the Quiet Kitty fund. Please visit their website for more information: http://www.savethequietkitty.com/
Buy link: http://www.changelingpress.com/product.php?&upt=book&ubid=1273
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
It's no secret that I'm a dog breeder. I am also an avid animal lover and very concerned about animal welfare. Not animal rights...animal welfare. There's a difference.
Since the 1980s, I've been showing, and occasionally breeding Siberian Huskies. These past few years I've pretty much let that sport fall by the wayside, I prefer to let others do the actual breeding and nurturing of puppies, while I pick my fluffy and later show it. Part of the reason that I choose to do this is that it's my way of addressing the issue of pet overpopulation. (Especially in my yard! LOL!)
A few years ago, an older breeder underwent some serious life crises and lost control of her kennel. Holes showed up in fences, and bitches were bred indiscriminately. Now these were all top quality show dogs, but still, she ended up with dozens upon dozens of unwanted puppies. Over a period of 3 years, my friend Barb and I, assisted by a local Siberian Husky rescue organization placed over 100 of these dogs and puppies.
Here's the deal. If they'd gone into a shelter, statistically, about 65 to 85 of those dogs would have been placed, the others would have been euthanized. Of course, that's based on the idea that a shelter would have had room for that many animals.
If they'd been rescued by PETA, 2 to 3 would have been placed, while 97 would have been euthanized. HSUS? Well, they're a political organization, and as far as I know, they don't do rescue. In fact, remember that money you sent to HSUS after Hurricane Katrina? Well, most of it didn't go to the animals affected by the hurricane. In fact, the majority of the money that wasn't sucked into the organization went overseas.
Surprised? Well, you should be. Horrified? Angered? Yes. Think of all that money that PETA rakes in. Only 1% is filtered to animal rescue. At their shelter in Norfolk, VA, only about 13 of over 2000 "rescues" find homes. The others die. This is the difference between animal rights and animal welfare. Ingrid Newkirk of PETA chastised President Obama for killing a fly during an interview, yet her organization routinely and apologetically KILLS thousands of companion animals on an annual basis. (see PETA Kills for documentation.)
As an animal expert, I frequently get queries about how to help animal. Well here's my answer: Support your local shelters. Seek out animal welfare organizations that support a "no kill" policy. Be realistic, in spite of those lofty aspirations, some animals are simply not physically or mentally healthy enough to be placed. There are few sanctuaries in the US that accept animals like this. One is Best Friends in Utah.
Investigate where your money goes. In my county, if our kennel club donates funds to the County Shelter, it gets sucked into the general fund and doesn't go to the animals. Instead, we try to meet other needs, such as purchasing raised kennel platforms to get the dogs off the concrete. We've also donated microchip scanners and tattoo guns, as well as dog food and medicine.
Donate your time. It's painful, but volunteer to go and socialize kittens or groom and walk dogs. If those animals don't survive their time at the shelter, at least you've made a difference in the life they've been allotted.
Spay and neuter your pets!!!
In times of crisis, there are sites you can research that have volunteer and donation guidelines. The following post was specific to Hurricane Gustav, but has some helpful information in the event of any emergency.
Remember that old phrase? "Think globally, act locally." Here's how to make a difference.
The following post was written by Lynn Szymurski, who lives in New Orleans.
Date: Sat, 30 Aug 2008 01:16:42 -0500From:
Lynn Szymurski Subject: Gustav links foraide & support
Hi all,I've put this together very hurriedly tonight to send out to those of =you that have requested info regarding Gustav and the links I promised. =I hope this will answer your questions and inquiries for you, and I will =forward more on as I locate them. I really need to think about packing, =but too much on my mind for that.
This is a nationwide website where you may select a state and find out =ways to donate during disasters that affect any part of the state. The =link for LA is listed below. You may find access on how to donate =financial support, products and how to volunteer to help.
FEMA's Hurricane Gustav links and timelines regarding new releases: =http://www.fema.gov/hazard/hurricane/2008/gustav/index.shtm
Thankfully, in 2006, the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards =(PETS) Act mandates FEMA to ensure all state and local emergency plans =address the needs of individuals with household pets and service =animals. Good article at this link: =http://ohsep.louisiana.gov/newsrelated/petplan70908.htm =20
Great website for the entire United States in preparing for any type of =disaster. Contains links on how to evacuate during every possible =scenario, gives listings of every state's contact information and phone =numbers during emergency situations. Everyone should have this website =bookmarked: http://www.ready.gov/america/index.html
For volunteer work in LA: =http://www.volunteerlouisiana.gov/1800Vol/OpenIndexAction.do
For product donations and details of what is actually needed, this =webpage will list the items needed, when needed by, etc.
This is the legitimate site of links to legitimate nonprofits in =Louisiana and secure ways to donate. =http://www.aidmatrixnetwork.org/CashDonations/Default2.aspx?ST=3DLouisian=a
Thank you for your support and concern for us. It is greatly =appreciated....Permission to crosspost granted.
Siberianly,Lynn SzymurskiRichlynn SiberiansNew Orleans,
Friday, November 6, 2009
(First posted at TRS Blue November 6, 2009)
Well, things being what they are, I find myself at the local tire shop, taking care of bunches of stuff that my aging mother let go on her van. Windshield wipers, alignment, spare tire, and so forth. It’s dreary outside, drizzling and wet. To cap everything, I’m coming down with a cold.
The good thing about a tire shop is that it’s one of those male havens, a place where women are patently out of place in spite of the pretty blondes working at the counter. I sit here with my laptop, gazing covertly at the limping redhaired man with the fox-headed walking staff, the bearded fellow in the plaid flannel shirt and pristine white tennis shoes, and the cowboy with his hat hair and beautiful redheaded girlfriend.
It’s not a bad place to be on a drizzly morning.
My active brain begins spinning stories with the characters that are so ready to be written. The tire technician with the shaved head keeps sending glances toward the skinny guy that’s running the register, and the middle-aged cashier clearly has something going with the young hunk that works the alignment bay. Up at the front office, the manager of the shop is sitting at his desk, his head just inches from the blonde girl’s breast as he explains a mistake.
It doesn’t take much to dig up the inspiration, does it? It comes from so many places, both expected and completely surprising.
Outside the window is the bad section of town, where down and out drifters wait in line for a warm lunch and a place to crash for the night. These days, the Mission is filled to capacity every night.
The young man on the bicycle has kinky, wild hair and the eyes of a madman or a prophet. He’s clearly seen too much in life. He’s late for check-in at the mission, so he’ll spend a cold, damp night sleeping in the bushes across the street from the tire shop. His dreams will be vivid and populated with images both amazing and frightful. Perhaps he will come face-to-face with the magic that accompanies his every thought and action. I make a mental portrait of him, for he will take a role in a future story.
Very soon the work on the van will be finished, and it will be time to leave. These players will continue to move on a stage outside of my vision, but their stories will continue to unwind, leaving me to wonder and to imagine.
Belinda McBride writes erotic fiction, and is published at Loose Id, Changeling Press, and New Concepts Publishing. She welcomes you to visit her site at http://www.belindamcbride.com
And her blog at
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
I write because I must.
I write because I have something to say.
I write to release the music in my soul.
I write because I’m sure it’s an easy way to make money.
I write because I have a book inside of me somewhere.
We’ve all heard these comments at some point, and perhaps they are truths to some, myths to others. (Especially the part about the money!) With the start of NaNo, there are people all over the world setting their writing goals and starting their journey. We’re beginning day 3, and already you see writers at 12K per day, and others who haven’t yet begun. The complaints are beginning as well, as are the comments that indicate that many writers are discourage and ready to drop already.
I signed up for NaNo this year simply because I’ve never done it. This past summer, I participated in 2 week Fast Draft challenges with a small group of authors, and felt that experience prepared me for NaNo. And in a way, it has.
In order for me to complete the 50K word count, I calculated the words per day that I need to write. I gave myself several days off, (after all, November is a busy month!) and that still came to less than 2K per day. Easy, right? Well, maybe not, considering that my grand total word count for October was about 7K! LOL! But that was intentional; I built a break into my schedule this year. There were some edits, and some serious plotting going on, and I did some uncounted words on several WIPs, but my focus was on taking some time to refresh my mind. NaNo seemed like a good way to get back into the habit of writing, and also to narrow my focus to one project.
Why do I write? All of the above comments have applied to me at some time, but the main reason I write is that my brain has some chemical issues. I’m a bit clumsy with communication; it’s difficult for me to verbally express what I wish to say to someone. I am capable of expressing myself in writing.
I have racing thoughts, and those of you who have experienced this know how distressing it can be. From childhood, stories and scenarios have flooded my brain non-stop. Many writers say they are full of stories, but this is a bit different. It’s an obsessive/compulsive issue that is nearly crippling. When the racing thoughts kick in, I babble non-stop, and sleep is nearly impossible. It slowed me down at school and sometimes interferes with my job.
When I purchased my first laptop and began writing compulsively for hours on end, it wasn’t for creative expression. It was for survival…for sanity. That first year, I probably wrote 400K or more. Of that, two novels and a novella emerged and made it to publication.
Thankfully, the discipline that it takes to write constructively was drilled into me in college, so after the first few months of simply pouring myself out onto my hard drive, I was able to slow down, to take the time to polish my words and sentences, and to consider actually selling what I’d written. Because even if my stories don’t sell, they’re going to be written.
The wonderful thing is that I’ve discovered that this outlet I have has the potential to be fun. Note that I said that it has the potential…it also have the potential to be nightmarish and stressful. Anyone who’s written on a deadline or found themselves blocked will discover that this craft is not always fun, nor is it easy.
Like all things in life, there must be balance and moderation. So yes, there are spikes in my creativity where I can write a 30K novella in days. Other times it takes months to grind out a short story. But over all, slow and steady is what it takes. Setting a daily goal. For some, it is a word count goal. As a general rule, I don’t keep track of my daily word count unless I’m on a challenge. My rule is to never let a day go by without doing something constructive, whether it’s writing, plotting, doing a book video, or seeking inspiration. (AKA research
So if you’re doing NaNo…good for you! Just realize that if you don’t meet word count at the end of the month, you have not failed. Look at what you have done and realize that those are words that you wouldn’t have written otherwise.
If you do meet the 50K goal, excellent! Now is the hard part. Don’t leave that manuscript languishing on your hard drive. You’ve given it life, now start polishing and editing. Look at the market and see where your book fits. Expand on it, tighten it, and make those words into a living, breathing document.
It might be the only book you have in you, but I’m willing to bet that if you’ve written that much, there is more inside.
I’d like to hear why you write, and if you’re participating in the Challenge, what your feelings are about it.