Signs That You Might Be Mad . . . Or a Writer
1. Conversations go on in your head between people no one else can see and hear but you.
2. It is not unusual for you to plot someone’s murder during dinner, sometimes to the consternation of restaurant waitstaff and fellow diners who do not realize you are a writer.
3. You know odd facts like how a noose can be knotted that will enable a person being hanged to survive and navigation tricks for sailing in the Caribbean when you’ve never owned a sailboat, nor plan to own one.
Can you think of any other signs?
Labels: signs that you might be mad . . . or a writer
Don't Worry, Be Happy
If you didn’t final in the Golden Heart, it’s understandable that you might be disappointed, but sooner or later you’ve got to brush yourself off and get back to the computer. Without any revisions at all, that same manuscript could final next year (it’s happened to me). Or better yet, you might sell before you ever have a chance to enter the Golden Heart again. If you feel like you’re doing everything possible to get published, then let the disappointment and/or frustrations go and keep writing. One of these days it will happen. "When you get in a tight place and everything goes against you, until it seems as if you could not hold on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time when the tide will turn.”
–Harriet Beecher Stowe
We’ve all heard stories about authors who wrote a dozen books before finally selling or who we’re about to give up and then got THE CALL the next day. If you keep writing, keep improving, keep believing, keep sending your stuff out there, it could happen to you too. But if you quit, you'll never know.“We are made to persist. That's how we find out who we are.”
–Tobias WolffHow about you? Do you have any prepublished war stories to help keep us unpublished writers motivated?
Labels: Keep writing, Motivation, never give up
This week on the Wet Noodle Posse
Noodlers wind up March Madness and Spring Forward into April with the following blogs:
Monday, March 30th: Theresa Ragan Don't Worry, Be Happy
Tuesday, March 31st: Maureen Hardegree Signs That You Might Be Mad…Or a Writer
Wednesday, April 1st: Introduction to April’s Spring Forward Theme
Thursday, April 2nd: Maureen Hardegree Put a Spring In Your Step
Friday, April 3rd: Q&A What’s Your Favorite Sign of Spring & April New Releases
Labels: Maureen Hardegee, signs of spring, spring forward, Theresa Ragan
Winners of The Mad Writer's Tea Party Giveaways!
Thank you all for making Tuesday's tea party so much fun! And congratulations to the winners of the random drawing for giveaways. Click here to see the list of prizes
, complete with photographs.
If Teapots Could Talk
Diane St. Jacques
polka dot mug & Murchie’s tea
mini tin of Angelwater
mini tin of Philospher’s Brew
mini tin of Casablanca
Dragon Tears (shaped tea)
Sacred Ember (shaped tea)
And as an added bonus, I'm tossing in a copy of my second book.
With This Ring (ebook format).
The winner is Cheryl S.
Congratulatons to all of you!
Winners, please send your name and mailing address in an email to lee-at-leemckenzie-dot-com and I'll send your prize to you.
Until next time,
Labels: Lee McKenzie, Mad Writer's Tea Party
Here's a question to ponder on this Friday:
What keeps you sane in the sometimes chaotic writing business?
For me, it's coffee, friends, family, and the ability to find humor in most situations.
Labels: staying sane in the writing business
Humor Amidst the Madness of Terror
Madness. A strange subject we have this month! So I thought I'd tell you a little tale about a very dangerous, very sly, intelligent and enigmatic man and a funny, strange event that he may or may not have deliberately caused to happen.
It just happens that right now I'm studying one of the most bizarre eras in history, the Terror, a part of the French Revolution when even the revolutionaries themselves turned against each other. At its center was perhaps the maddest, yet perhaps sanest man of them all, Joseph Fouché. If he was neither or both of those, perhaps he was both the most unprincipled or most passionately principled of all the French fanatics. He is known as The Executioner of Lyons, responsible for the deaths of thousands merely on the basis of their status as aristocrats and/or wealthy men, and yet later seemed to be the only voice of reason in all of France, calling for the repatriation of those who had previously fled to escape the guilloutine. He supported Napoleon in his rise to power, but betrayed him in the end, and Napoleon later said if he had won at Waterloo, he would have had Fouché shot.
So much for the man's history. His unique ability to gather information and persuade men to act based on fear for themselves had kept his soul and hide together in this terrifying time. And the same traits qualified him to take on the Ministry of Secret Police. He had fingers in every pie. His network of spies reached everywhere, and very few of them knew any of the others. And although he received reams of reports daily, he filled several wastebaske
ts every day with reports he didn't want.
One day one of his associates, named Réal, complained to him he dreaded going to the theater that night because he knew the overly anxious Gohier, another agent, would draw him aside, asking as he always did for a report for him to check out, which Réal never had. His eyes sparking with mischief, Fouché pointed to a wastebasket and said "Give him one of those."
Réal, glad to be relieved of the tedium of Gohier's approaches, complied, picking out a report by an agent of a possibly illicit assembly in the garden of a house outside Paris. Gohier glowered and said he'd heard of these meetings and was surprised that so little concern was given to them when they were clearly dangerous. The conspirators gathered nightly in the garden, he said, and they spoke in such low, conspiratorial tones that the agents were unable to hear their plans. Clearly arrests were called for. And off he went to Diligently perform his duty.
At this point, Réal began to worry that he might have missed something important, and that could reflect badly on himself. So he sent his own men to investigate as well. And the following night, he paid a visit to Gohier's home. The property, it seems was owned by a hatmaker. "On fine nights,... the manufacturer sets his hats out on poles in his garden to dry. Now, if you imagine a hedge at the height of the poles..."
Well, Fouché was also known for his very sophisticated and subtle sense of humor...
Heroes: How Much Damage is Too Much?
I love a tortured hero. Nothing I like better than a hero who has had pain and heartache and trauma in his life, who has deep wounds that only the heroine can heal.
The problem is, in real life too much trauma can cause damage that can’t be rectified.
Freud was right about some things. What happens in the first five years of life is crucially important to future development. Remember Harlow’s monkeys (famous experiments about attachment)? The ones who had a wire mother could not learn to form attachments to other monkeys later.
Nowadays we call this an Attachment Disorder.
Attachment disorders are associated with early experiences of neglect and abuse, of children who have been abruptly separated from caregivers after the first six months and before three years. Such children cannot give or receive affection.
Heroes in fiction must have received love early in order to give love to the heroine later. So, please, no matter what torture your hero endures, give him someone to love and care for him in those early formative years.
So, what do you think? Do you worry about things like this when crafting your heroes? Do too-tortured heroes bother you?Visit Diane’s website for a sneak peek of her eShort Story, The Unlacing of Miss Leigh, and her novella, Justine and the Noble Viscount, in THE DIAMONDS OF WELBOURNE MANOR. Diane’s contest is still on, too!
The Mad Writer’s Tea Party—Exotic Teas
Did you know that all teas—white, green, semi-green, oolong and black—are in the same family of plants? Or that many of the world’s finest teas are grown at high altitudes, on misty mountain tops? The mist allows the sun’s heat to reach the plants, but protects them from direct sunlight.
White teas are the mildest tasting and the lightest colored, so I was surprised to learn they have the highest anti-oxidant content—three times higher than green tea. White teas should be steeped for three to five minutes.
Green teas have a stronger taste and deeper color than white teas. They are best brewed with water just before it comes to the boil, It’s important not to oversteep the tea as that will break down the antioxidants and other nutrients. Think about what happens to spinach that has been overcooked. Yuck. The same thing happens to tea.
Although green tea contains some caffeine, it also lowers blood pressure. So unless you’re really sensitive to caffeine, you can probably drink it bedtime and still be able to sleep.
Black teas are high in vitamin A, and they also help to normalize blood sugar levels.
One of today’s giveaways is a package of a tea called Sacred Ember. It’s a white tea that has been hand tied around the flower from a lily.
If you have a clear glass teapot, watch the tea as it blossoms and appreciate the delicate color and suble flowery aroma. A cup of tea becomes a total sensory experience.
Matcha—a Japanese green tea that has been ground into a fine powder—is one of the most unusual teas I’ve ever tasted.
Traditionally, matcha is brewed in a small bowl and whisked until frothy. It’s a strong-tasting tea with an earthy, robust flavor and a seaweedy scent that’s reminiscent of sushi, and not clear like most teas. Matcha contains seven times more vitamin C than a glass of orange juice. I recently attended a tea tasting at which the demonstrator used it to make smoothies. If matcha isn’t your cup of tea, you might enjoy this.
a generous spoonful of matcha
one cup of soy milk
Put everything in a blender and process till smooth. You can also add a little ice, or use frozen banana slices for a colder drink.
I’m giving away some great prizes
today. To be eligible to win one, simply post a comment. Winners will be announced tomorrow on The Writer Side of Life.
Ready for more tea? Please follow these links to a chat about tea parties on The Writer Side of Life
, and then drop by the Harlequin American Romance Authors
blog for some tips on making and serving your own Afternoon Tea.
Labels: Lee McKenzie, Mad Writer's Tea Party, tea parties
Villains: How Much Insanity Is Too Much by Diane Gaston
A reviewer of one of my early books said that my villain was stereotypical. She was right. He was just too over the top. Too insane. Too cliche.
As a former mental health therapist, I took the criticism to heart and rethought my depiction of villains. Maybe it wasn’t a good idea to make them too insane.
Most villains are at least sociopathic. (another word—psychopath; technically—antisocial personality disorder). Look here
for a great site describing a sociopath.
Briefly, a sociopath is a person who has no regard for right and wrong, who may often violate the law and the rights of others, lands himself in frequent trouble or conflict. A sociopath may lie, behave violently, have drug and alcohol problems, and may not be able to fulfill responsibilities to family, work or school. (Mayoclinic.com
This is a good foundation to craft a villain. The temptation is to stick only to the symptoms. This makes the villain more of a caricature rather than a three dimensional person.
So here’s my fix.
Put the villain under the same scrutiny as the hero and heroine. Give him his own Goal, Motivation, Conflict. Create a backstory for him. Give him some redeeming features. Make him like a real person. Three dimensional.
In reality sociopaths can look like the rest of us. They can enter reputable professions, attend church, marry, have children. But within a normal looking life they can be highly egocentric; they can lie, steal, betray.
So, what do you think? What do you think makes the best fictional villain? How much sociopathy is too much?
(Come back Wednesday, Mar 25, to read my take on Heroes—How Much Damage Is Too Much?)Visit Diane’s website for a sneak peek of her eShort Story, The Unlacing of Miss Leigh, and her novella, Justine and the Noble Viscount, in THE DIAMONDS OF WELBOURNE MANOR. Diane’s contest is still on, too!
Labels: Diane Gaston, villains
This Week on The Wet Noodle Posse
March Madness continues with the following blogs:
Monday, March 23rd: Diane Gaston Villains: How Much Insanity Is Too Much?
Tuesday, March 24th: Lee McKenzie The Mad Writer’s Tea Party
Wednesday, March 25th: Diane Gaston Heroes: How Much Damage Is Too Much?
Thursday, March 26th: Delle Jacobs TBA
Friday, March 27th: Q&A
Labels: Delle Jacobs, Diane Gaston, heroes, Lee McKenzie, mad writers, tea parties, villains
With men's and women's collegiate basketball tournaments and St. Patrick's Day coinciding this week, the noodlers suspect there's quite a bit of beer being consumed.
So what beer or beer-like beverage do you like? If you don't like it, why? Do you have any good recipes that include beer in the ingredients?
Here's a simple recipe using beer that's great with a nice hearty stew.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Mix 4 cups of Bisquick and 12 ounces of beer together in a large bowl.
Drop biscuits onto a greased cookie sheet (if you're more into free form) or into a greased muffin pan (if you like them round).
Bake for 15 minutes.
Labels: beer, beer biscuits
March Madness of the Basketball Kind
This month we've been talking about "March Madness" of all kinds. I've always associated that term with basketball because I love college basketball and look forward to the NCAA basketball tournament every year. I love to watch the games, and I can catch up on my ironing while I watch. In fact, I just finished making my bracket picks for the tournament. I know they are probably all wrong, but every year, I hope I've picked enough winners to win the pool. My best showing has been third place. Even though I picked the winner of last year's tournament, I didn't pick enough winners in the earlier rounds. So I failed to place.
As I got ready to write this blog, I wondered how the term "March Madness" originated. I discovered that Henry V. Porter, a teacher and coach at Athens High School in central Illinois, coined the term when he wrote an essay that was published in 1939 in the Illinois High School Athlete.
In the essay, he described a basketball fan. I could see myself in his description. (I just have to change the "he" to a "she.")
I've quoted a portion of the essay below.
"In everyday life he is a sane and serious individual trying to earn enough to pay his taxes. But he does a Jekyll-Hyde act when the spell is on him. He likes his coffee black and his basketball highly spiced. He despises the stall — unless his team is ahead. It is a major crime for the official to call a foul on the dribbler — unless the opponent was dribbling. His moods are as changeable as the March wind. He flies into a frenzy at some trivial happening on the court and before his vocal expression of disapproval is half completed he howls in delight at the humorous twist of a comment from a bleacher wit. He is part of the mass mind and is subject to its whims. He berates the center for attempting a long shot and lauds him when it goes in the basket. He is consistent only in his inconsistencies.
The thud of the ball on the floor, the slap of hands on leather, the swish of the net are music in his ears. He is a connoisseur in matters pertaining to team coordination and artistry in action. The shifting zone, the screen and the spot pass are an open book to him. He speaks the language.
He is biased, noisy, fidgety, boastful and unreasonable — but we love him for his imperfections. His lack of inhibitions adds a spontaneity that colors the tournaments. Without darkness there would be no light. A little March madness may complement and contribute to sanity and help keep society on an even keel.
The writer's temperature is rising. The thing is catching. It's got me! Gimme that playing schedule!"
Are there any other female basketball fans out there? If so, who do you want to win?
Labels: Henry V. Porter, high school basketball, Illinois, NCAA men's basketball tournament
The Simple Benefits of Taking a Deep Breath
March Madness…weather, lions, lambs, round-ball. The Ides of March. The Rites of Spring.
I don’t know about you, but where I live we had January and February Madness and when this month is over I’m sure we’ll see at least a bit of April, May and June Madness. And so on and so on...
Everyone knows life is crazy nowadays; our recent blogs and our readers’ comments bear that out. But what do you do when things get so crazy you don’t know what to do to calm things down?
How about taking a nice deep breath?
Think about it. Just a second or two to check your approach to a problem, to pause before you speak, to get some oxygen into your brain before you explode, use words you don’t normally use in public, or worse, say yes when you mean no.
Author Janet Evanovich’s character Stephanie Plum calls it a “mental doughnut.” If I had Stephanie’s life, I’d be taking a lot of mental doughnuts.
So far, the deep breath method is working for me. All I have to do is remember to breathe…
How about you? What’s your life-calming device?
What are you working on?
At the moment, I happen to be pushing through my first romantic thriller! Exciting but difficult in the sense that I’m definitely writing out of my comfort zone. How many different genres have you tried writing in? Are you more comfortable writing a contemporary vs. historical? Do you feel as if you can write a better paranormal and yet you get the most editor/agent bites with your romantic suspense or romantic comedy? What are you working on right now?As a reader do you try to push yourself to try new things when you’re at the bookstore? What’s your favorite genre and why?
A lot of questions, I know, but curious minds want to know!
Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Labels: novel writing, reading, what are you working on?
Why I Hate St. Patrick's Day
First let me establish that I am three quarters Irish, that my sisters and I all have “een” in our names, and that I do wear green on March 17th , mostly so I won’t get pinched. I have no idea how that little tradition began, but children in school yards all over the U.S. who don’t wear green tomorrow will run in fear from their classmates due to this “cute” custom. I also love a good parade, and some of the best non Mardi Gras parades are held on St. Patrick’s Day. Green Beer? I could take it or leave it. What made me hate the holiday as a child was—cue evil music—Corned Beef and Cabbage.
Just the idea of it, the memory of the boiling cabbage, its odor punching me as I walked in the door after school, breaks me out in a cold sweat. The way I was raised I had to clean my plate before I could leave the dinner table. Believe me, I would have been happy to send starving children the soggy cold cabbage on my plate, cold because I saved the worst for last. A method I also employed with lima beans and green peas. I’d start with the boiled potatoes (seasoned with a pinch of salt and maybe, if I was lucky, pepper), move on to the corned beef, then gag and dry heave my way through the cabbage. Leftovers on the 18th weren’t much better, corned beef hash with a poached egg on top. At least Mom didn’t put the cabbage in the hash where it could touch and contaminate the potatoes and beef.
There is a reason we don’t see Irish cuisine-based restaurants popping up on every corner. O’Charley’s might have an Irish sounding name, but it does not serve traditional Corned Beef and Cabbage. Boiled food, dry soda bread, undercooked bacon and eggs are not all that appetizing. There’s a reason the Irish are better known for their beer, stout, and whiskey—it helps the food go down.
What foods did you develop an aversion to as a child? Have you tried them as an adult? Will you be eating your Corned Beef and Cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day?
Labels: corned beef and cabbage
This Week on the Wet Noodle Posse
March Madness month continues.
Monday, March 16th: Maureen Hardegree Why I Hate St. Patrick's Day
Tuesday, March 17th: Theresa Ragan What Are You Working On?
Wednesday, March 18th: Karen Potter The Simple Benefits of Taking a Deep Breath
Thursday, March 19th: Merrilllee Whren TBA
Friday, March 20th: Q&A
Have a Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Labels: Karen Potter, Maureen Hardegree, Merrillee Whren, Theresa Ragan
We hope you're all enjoying March Madness month.
By the way, congratulations to noodlers Terry McLaughlin and Dianna Love who are both finalists for the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence! Terry's A Perfect Stranger finaled in the contemporary series category, and Dianna's Midnight Kiss Goodbye in the Dead After Dark anthology finaled in the novella category.
Our question to explore this Friday is:
How do writers or screenwriters keep readers sympathetic to mad characters? What works for you as a reader or film buff?
Labels: mad characters
Daylight Savings Time—Exactly What Are We Saving?
Maybe you’re different from me. Maybe you like Daylight Savings Time. I dislike it intensely. The only part I do like is when it ends and I get that extra hour of sleep back that I lost. My father calls standard time “God’s time,” and I understand why.
Some facts you might not know. One hundred and thirty-one countries do not observe Daylight Savings Time, such as Canada (with the exception of Montreal). Of the countries who do observe it, there is no official day that all countries use; the start date ranges from March 8th to April 24th. Most countries who observe it, start on a Sunday with the exception of several middle eastern countries which start on Friday. Not all of the United States participates. Let’s all move to Arizona and Hawaii! It was originally adopted by some European countries in 1916. Ben Franklin suggested the idea in 1784. Some people claim that driving accidents have been reduced. I suspect whatever gains were initially made in that department have been diminished completely by the vast number of people who drive while talking on cell phones. During WWII, between February 9, 1942 and September 30, 1945, daylight savings time was constant and called “war time.” Some countries call it “summer time.” I prefer to call it “Pain in my Patoot Time.”
Does Daylight Savings Time improve our physical health?
No. Some studies even indicate that we’re more likely to have a heart attack during the transition phase as our internal clocks try to cope. Children are sleepy in school during the transition phase as well which means they won’t learn as much. Note that the time switches occur during the school year—not during breaks. Adults are sleepy at work which cuts productivity.
Does Daylight Savings Time improve our mental health?
No. A study by the Japanese indicated that suicide rates actually increased during transition. I would like to add an increase in crankiness of the general public to the argument, which I have observed in myself and others (Yes, I realize my observation isn’t scientific). Some will argue that the increased leisure time we gain attributes to better mental health. However, if the sun is still shining when most people get home, they won’t see it as an opportunity to do something leisurely like sit outside and read a book. No, they’ll see that they need to mow the lawn, weed the yard, sweep the driveway, clean the gutters that pine seedlings are sprouting in. That leads to an increase in stress. Many people even end up working longer hours because the sun is still up.
Does Daylight Savings Time save our planet?
I highly doubt it. Bigger inroads can be made by simply switching to fluorescent bulbs. And the argument that having an extra daylight hour means kids will have more time to play outside, thereby saving energy, are under the misconception that children still play outside. Maybe they don’t know that the majority of American children, those who aren’t super busy with extra curricular activities, prefer firing up the television, computer, and the game station to riding bicycles—all of which require electricity, which then uses more power and saves us nothing.
Is Daylight Savings Time worth the discombobulation to the population? Is it worth the aggravation of changing our VCR’s, TV’s, microwaves, ovens, clocks, car clocks, digital thermostats twice a year? I think not. For the record, I also dislike having to change the time on all those items after the electricity cuts out during thunder storms.
How about you? Are you on the Daylight Savings Time bandwagon? If so, why? Or do you think DST was devised in an era much different from the realities of twenty-first century life and no longer makes sense?
Labels: daylight savings time
Weird Beer, and It Isn’t All Green
Green beer, anyone?
This artificial shade of green might be a festive way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, but it sure doesn’t appeal to me. Maybe because it only works with pale watery beers and, green or not, those don’t appeal to me, either.
These days, lots of small micro-breweries are experimenting with unique brews that incorporate some unexpected ingredients, with surprisingly delicious results. And not a pale watery one among them. Here are a couple of my favorites.
Raspberry Wheat Ale
I’ll take pink over green any day! Served cold, this is a refreshing summer sipper. Set out some frosty glasses and a plate of cheese and fruit, invite some friends, and you have an instant patio party.
Double Chocolate Porter
Chocolate beer? Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it! This one’s really astonishingly good. Rich and mild, with a distinctive chocolate flavor. A perfect after-dinner drink to enjoy in front of the fire.
Nut Brown Ale
I’ve tasted several varieties of this, including one made with hazelnuts. Delicious! Goes well with full-flavored foods, like a rich pot of stew or roast chicken.
With St. Patrick’s Day coming up next week, I can’t let you go without a small sampling of “green” beer.
From the Dead Frog Brewery
near Vancouver, BC.
Why would anyone open a brewery and call it Dead Frog? According to their website, “Our name might be funny, but we are very serious when it comes to brewing.” And who could resist their advertising slogans?
There’s more hops in a dead frog.
Nothing goes down like a cold dead frog.
Would you like flies with that?
Fun and catchy!
What's your favorite brew? Any suggestions for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day?
Labels: Lee McKenzie, St. Patrick's Day, weird beer
by Terry McLaughlin
Writers often make their characters seem more real--more human--by gifting them with flaws or quirks. After all, though we humans may find reassurance or security in conformity, it's our differences
that make us far more interesting to each other.
A quick online search turns up many examples of famous eccentrics. William Blake and his wife used to sit nude in front of guests and recite passages from Paradise Lost
. Albert Einstein found sailing on windless days more challenging. Johnny Appleseed and Thoreau were both considered nonconformists.
In England, eccentricity
became so fashionable that some aristocrats hired a hermit or wild man to install on their estates.
Most of us know someone whose hobby or collection seems to have gotten a little out of control. Many others are guilty of some odd habits, particularly with their pets. One Englishman enjoyed feasting with his menagerie, going so far as to install a trapdoor in his dining room so his pet giraffe could join him for Sunday lunch.
Do you know someone who might be considered slightly offbeat? If you were a character in a book, what quirk might make you memorable?
Lord of the Dance
By Debra Holland
Years ago, I saw Riverdance (although not with Michael Flatley) and became an immediate fan. I even wanted to take Irish folk dancing lessons. (But I stuck to country western and ballet.) I also enjoyed the televised version of the show, but seeing it on TV was not as enchanting as watching the original.
I’d always wanted to see Lord of the Dance, but never did. So when I saw an ad in the paper that the show would be touring in Orange County at the performing Arts Center, I put in a request to my wonderful boyfriend, Don, who bought 5th row, middle seats.
Although Michael Flatley wouldn’t be in the show, the paper ran a long article about the local star, Jason Gorman, who would perform as the “master,” and I looked forward to seeing him.
Don and I spent two enthralled hours, captivated by the vibrant music, astonishing dancing, and colorful costumes. Although the show is loosely a good versus evil tale set in a mythical time and place, it’s mostly a collection of dances with a cast of about 40.
Our seats put us at foot level to the stage, giving me ample opportunity to study the marvelous footwork. As fast and furious as those dancers moved their feet, I doubt the male stars reached Michael’s record of 35 taps in one second.
I especially loved the male lead, handsome, masculine, sexy, whether he danced alone or with the other men. The beat of the music, flashing feet, pounding of their shoes on the wooden stage made for a mesmerizing experience.
The beautiful, rhythmic music, colorful costumes, handsome dancers, vaguely gothic setting totally immersed me in a stimulating, creative environment. About a third of the way through, a story idea came to me. Paranormal. Irish. Time travel. I never thought of writing an Irish story before.
On the way home, Don and I talked about what we liked about the show. I took the time to jot down the story idea on the small pad of per I always carry in my purse. (Don’t all writers?)
My notes will end up in my “ideas” folder. But who knows? Maybe one of these days I’ll even write the story. :)
Labels: Irish dance, Lord of the dance, Riverdance
This Week on the Wet Noodle Posse
March Madness continues this week with the following blogs:
Monday, March 9th: Dr. Debra Holland Lord of the Dance
Tuesday, March 10th: Terry McLaughlin Embracing Eccentricities
Wednesday, March 11th: Lee McKenzie Weird Beer and It Isn’t All Green
Thursday, March 12th: Maureen Hardegree Daylight Savings Time—Exactly What Are We Saving?
Friday, March 13th: Q&A topic—How Does a Writer Keep a Reader Sympathetic to a Mad Character?
Labels: daylight savings time, Dr. Debra Holland, eccentricities, Lee McKenzie, Lord of the dance, mad characters, Maureen Hardegree, Terry McLaughlin, weird beer
What's your favorite movie featuring Irish characters?
I have two favorites. One is the John Ford classic The Quiet Man, with actors Maureen O'Hara and John Wayne. The romance is fabulous, the scenery gorgeous, and the humor still resonates today.
Another favorite is The Secret of Roan Inish, an enchanting story about a young girl who is sent to live with her grandparents on the Irish seacoast after the death of her mother. While living there, she's told various legends, including those about the Selkies, seals who transform into humans.
If you're looking for some great reading this month, don't miss the new releases from Colleen Gleason and MJ Fredrick:
As Shadows Fade
The Gardella Vampire Chronicles (5th in the series)
By Colleen Gleason
Directly descended from the very first vampire hunter in the Gardella family, Victoria knows she must continue the lineage so humanity will have protectors against the undead.While Sebastian Vioget appears to be both the perfect warrior and lover to ensure the Gardella Legacy, Victoria cannot forget Max Pesaro - the former slayer still haunted by the vampire queen Lilith's obsession with him.But it is Lilith's obsession that may save all of humanity. Demons, enemies of both mortals and the undead, have found their way to earth. To defeat them, vampires and slayers must fight side by side. But Lilith wants Max in return for her cooperation ‐ a small price for the world, but too high a price for Victoria.
Into the Hunt: Unauthorized Essays on Supernatural
Essay about Supernatural’s real star, the 1967 Impala
A relative newcomer to the paranormal-teen drama scene, the hit TV show Supernatural has already developed a rabid and deeply committed fan base since its debut in the fall of 2005. When their dad mysteriously disappears, brothers Dean and Sam Winchester join forces to bring him home and are pulled headlong into the world he knew best—one full of demons, spirits, monsters, and ghouls. Featuring essays from three lucky fans as well as leading writers and pop culture experts, this insightful anthology sheds light on a variety of issues, including why such a male-centric show has such a large female fan base, “Wincest” and homoeroticism, how Supernatural can be interpreted as a modern-day Brothers Grimm, and the questionable nature of John Winchester’s parenting habits.
Labels: Colleen Gleason, favorite movies featuring Irish characters, Gardella Vampire Chronicles, MJ Fredrick, Supernatural
Tips for Surviving March Madness
Last month, Dr. Deb Holland blogged about how to keep romantic relationships thriving. One piece of advice she offered was to “be your best self.” Sometimes that means doing something for the other person, even if you don’t want to, just because you love him or her. If you’re in a long term relationship with an NCAA men's basketball fan, here are some ways you can make the month pass more quickly and be your best self.
Learn the Lingo
March Madness is code for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Playoffs.
A bracket is the breakdown of who plays who. 65 teams get an invitation to play.
The Sweet Sixteen are the top sixteen teams who will compete for the men’s NCAA title.
The Elite Eight are the top eight teams competing for a spot in the Final Four.
The Final Four are the top four teams who survive the regional playoffs.
A Cinderella Team is an underdog team who beats a powerhouse team.
Selection Sunday is the day everyone finds out which teams have been invited to the NCAA tournament. This year Selection Sunday is March 15th.
Know the Basics of the Game
If you don’t know a free throw from a lay up, go to Coaches Clipboard to learn basketball terminology. http://www.coachesclipboard.net/BasketballTerminology.html
Gamble a Little
Have your own tournament pool with your significant other. Whoever wins gets a foot massage or something equally pleasing.
If You Can’t Beat ‘em, Feed ‘em.
Food is the great pleaser. Why not invite friends over to watch some of the games? Make some game favorites that are easy to eat in front of the TV (subs, chili, chips and dips, cookies, brownies, hot wings, soft drinks and beer). You may score more points with your hubby than North Carolina’s star point guard!
Who do you think will win this year’s tournament? Are you participating in a pool? What are some good tournament watching treats you'd recommend?
Labels: NCAA men's basketball tournament, tips for surviving march madness
This time of year, when the trees begin to bud and the daffodils have bloomed, when even the air begins to have hints of spring in it, I get the urge to clean and cull. If there's a warm day, I like to open the windows and let in some fresh air. I go through closets and start bagging up stuff for the Goodwill. I start making lists of what spring cleaning tasks to do each day. So I thought I'd share some of my ideas with you.
1. If you only have a little bit of time a day to clean, divide up the tasks on a calendar or task sheet. For instance, you can take a room a day, or perhaps a different task each day -- like washing the windows one day, cleaning closets another, shampooing the carpets another. You can even tackle one room at a time, but perform different tasks in that room each day. However you need to divide it to get it done. If you're in the mood for a different look in your home, plan how you want to rearrange your furniture or if you want to change it out for new. Maybe all you need to accomplish the desired change is a new shade of paint on the walls or new drapes.
2. Cleaning the house isn't the only spring cleaning you can undertake. Has it been awhile since you cleaned out your filing cabinets? Take a drawer each day and toss/shred any paperwork you no longer need to keep. This gets rid of clutter and frees up space.
3. You can do the same with your e-mail accounts. Go through saved e-mails and see if you need to either answer them or send them to the trash.
4. Tackle the garage or other outbuildings. Clean, organize, cull.
5. One task I have to undertake each year that I don't particularly like but which is necessary is weeding the flowerbeds. Ugh. Plan your yard work the way you did the housework -- different tasks each day. Weeding, mulching, trimming, mowing, changing your landscaping. It can be divided as easily as other tasks that will take you several days.
6. If you have a rainy day, maybe you can use that time to organize photos albums, scrapbooks or other projects that have been put on the back burner for months (dare I say years?).
As you are able to mark these tasks off your list, you'll feel a sense of accomplishment. Not to mention a lot of it counts as exercise. :)
Happy spring cleaning!
Labels: spring cleaning
Four Leaf Clovers: Are You Feeling Lucky?
Superstition has it that a four-leaf clover will bring good luck. But I was curious as to why this plain little plant would hold such magic. Here are some of the explanations provided in Claudia De Lys’s 8,414 Strange and Fascinating Superstitions.
The luck derives from the plant’s connection to Eve. Some legends claim she brought a four leaf clover with her when she and Adam were exiled from paradise. If you find one, you have luck because the plant originated in paradise. The luck’s even stronger if the four-leafer is found in your yard, unless you’re one of those people who think of clovers as weeds.
Druids also revered the four-leaf clover for its magical powers. They believed that a person who found such a rare clover would have the ability to detect evil beings. If you can see these evil beings, such as witches, you can avoid them—thus, the clover was viewed as a good thing to have in your possession.
The Irish connect the four-leafed clover to the shamrock, a similar green plant. The shamrock is lucky because it is believed to keep snakes away. It also was useful to St. Patrick who used the shamrock to explain the holy trinity and convert the Irish to Christianity.
Which story of how the four-leaf clover came to be associated with good luck do you like best? What other explanations have you heard? Has a four leaf clover ever brought you any luck?
Labels: four leaf clovers and luck
Welcome to March Madness Month
March heralds both spring and the NCAA men’s basketball playoffs. It’s a month chock full of interesting factoids. Julius Caesar was told to beware the Ides of March, which is the halfway mark in the month. He didn’t and was subsequently assassinated in the Roman Senate on that very day. St. Patrick’s Day arrives two days later, on the 17th , where many Americans celebrate with parades, green clothing, and green beer, and (my apologies to those of you who actually like traditional Irish fare) eat the gag-inducing meal of corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes—all boiled.
Please join us for lively discussions about all things Mad and March, from beer to tips on how to do a little spring cleaning to developing characters who are mad.
March may have come in like a lion here in the deep south (five inches of snow where I live in the Hotlanta suburbs), but here’s to hoping it goes out like a lamb!
Labels: march madness
This Week on the Wet Noodle Posse
Monday, March 2nd: Introduction to March Madness Month
Tuesday, March 3rd: Maureen Hardegree Four Leaf Clovers: Are You Feeling Lucky?
Wednesday, March 4th: Trish Milburn Spring Cleaning for the Home and More
Thursday, March 5th: Maureen Hardegree Tips for Surviving March Madness
Friday, March 6th: Q&A and March New Releases
Labels: march madness, Maureen Hardegree, spring cleaning, Trish Milburn