Sunday, December 30, 2012

Like Everyone Else

If you look closely, you'll see a double rainbow
I'm in that recapping/reviewing mode and the reality is that January 2012 may as well have been January 2002. Yes, my brain is that fuzzy, but if I dig deep into the crevasses of my grey matter I know there were definitely some highlights, some low lights (really? can't I come up with anything better than that?), and moments that I know will carry me into 2013 and get me off to a good start.

This year, I learned to really appreciate the blogosphere, and found an amazing community of writers. Names I love seeing as commenters on my blog and posts from others that I look forward to reading. I learned the importance of having the "email" button on a blog-- if it's not in my inbox, I'm not reading it. With the hope that others behave the same, I put one on this blog and I have to believe it helped. The blogosphere also led me to my first experiences writing flash fiction and finding the best creative/writing partners in the world: Jen and Lauri!

I learned the value of discipline. In 2011, I participated in Tara Lazar's PiBoIdMo and well, failed. Miserably. I started 2012 by participating in Julie Hedlund's 12x12 in 12, and didn't make it past March. Another failed attempt at discipline. Then, April came and I jumped in with both feet for the A to Z Blogging Challenge and learned the value of balance between planning ahead and winging it (I'm a pantser by nature). This was a happy and successful place for me. I met tons of other bloggers, read some great posts, and really saw the value of the blogging community. In November 2012, I participated in PiBoIdMo again, and succeeded in coming up with 30+ ideas for picture books.

Throughout all of this, I started querying. Yes, the time consuming, daunting, and humbling process of sending our work out to be exposed and either accepted or rejected by the powers-that-be in the traditional publishing world. Twenty-something attempts, one nibble, and all rejections are where I ended up. I questioned my story, my writing, my methods, and the whole writing thing. But, alas, that's why God made Stephen King. Aside from being a huge fan of his, I will never forget that he was rejected over 30 times and eventually had to create a pseudonymn to be published. I'm not there yet, but more importantly I haven't given up either.

I tried something new this summer, Letters From Camp. Inspired by my own memories of writing letters to my parents during the summer, and finding myself busy with swim meets, camps and reading, I decided that writing letters to my parents might be a good way to fill them in on my summer. Thanks Mom, for always reading them and sharing your thoughts and memories.

Starting on January 1, I'm participating in Katia Raina's 31 Minute Challenge. I learned last April that I need goals and deadlines to go with them. I have goals, and for January I will have deadlines. January will be the start of daily writing time for me- whether it's writing, editing, blogging, or social media work- it all ties in and I can't wait. This is going to be my year.

Not that 2012 wasn't my year. For my day job, writing for MyVeronaNJ.com, it was a great year. I'm known over there for my Crock It! series, but I also cover day trips, new businesses and the occasional press release. February 2013 will mark the 3rd anniversary of Crock It! and with that comes both improved writing and photography as well as learning how to create my own recipes. I have taken all of that time and experience and put it into Cook It! Verona which also gave me some insight to the world of self publishing. You can flip through the pages below, and yes, the photographs are all mine. Did I mention that I have grown to love photography?

So, I fondly say goodbye to 2012, with graditude. It was a great year and I'm looking forward to more fabulousness in 2013. Happy New Year everyone!


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Cookielypse!


Shannon over at The Warrior Muse is co-hosting the Choose Your Own Apocalypse blogfest with Chuck over at Apocalypse Now.  The premise is simple: there are many who believe that in accordance with the Mayan calendar,  life as we know it will end on 12/21/2012. What they can't agree on is how. So, Shannon thought a party was in order and as long as it's the party season, I'm in. The rules are simple:
Choose my apocalypse
Tell about how I prepared for my survival amongst everyone else's demise
Describe my apocalypse and how it goes down

And so, here is my apocalypse situation. You'll have to forgive try to understand my humor here- I've been in the kitchen for daaaaaaaaays!

Quick. Over here. I'm writing this from the safety of my basement.
There's been an accident. No, an overtaking. Yes, that's right. An overtaking and I don't think there was anything accidental about it.
Up to my eyeballs in cookies this year, like every other year. I've got trees, people, wreaths, and angels. I can't say who started it, or how, but I think the little guys got tired of me nibbling while cooking. I always eat and cook, so I can't really understand why this time was different.
It was the final two dozen cookies. Or maybe the final 21 since I had grabbed, and eaten, 3 on my way from the drying rack in my dining room to the kitchen.
I was reaching into the fridge for the milk. You know- to go with the cookies. I heard the crumbling, crunching sound of footsteps that obviously were not my own. I was securely placed in front of the fridge moving jars, containers, and endless amounts of butter and eggs to find my milk.
The tree cookies had grown to the size of small conifers- right through to my second floor.
The angels wings came to life and lifted them right off the drying rack.
The wreaths hurled themselves toward me, and I thought for sure one would end up strategically placed right around my body, and not in the fun hula hoop way.
But, the worst was was the cookie people. Walking. No, marching in a straight tight line right toward me.
How did I take care of myself when I was sure imminent demise was on its way to myself and my neighbors?
Milk.
Yes. I headed to the basement, locked the door, and found a steady supply of milk. You know, for the cookies. Wouldn't want Santa to be thirsty and all that. Anyway, it turns out the sugary sweet little guys, or trees or things, don't like milk. Balances out the sugar too much.
So, for now, I'm safe. In my basement with my milk.
Wish me luck! If the world ends, and anyone asks; Yes. I got milk. And NO, never trust a cookie!
They do look tasty though, don't they????

Friday, December 7, 2012

I'm Not A Food Blogger, But.....

I have exactly just under 4 months until the A to Z Blogging challenge starts up for 2013. And I'm a bit stuck. Or perhaps a better word is torn.
I learned during last year's challenge that I really love writing flash fiction. I also learned that in order to be successful, I need a plan. I'm a pantser when it comes to writing, but I need a format to follow.
I learned last May how much fun it is to make homemade ice cream. While ice cream and flash fiction really have nothing to do with each other, they are both the subject of my dilemma.
26 alphabetically inspired pieces of flash fiction (I already have some words courtesy of my kids) or.....
26 alphabetically inspired ice cream flavors.
As with any alphabetically inspired project, some letters are easier than others.
For ice cream- the letter C is super easy. There's cinnamon and chocolate and a bazillion variations of both of those. For X- that's tricky. Is Xanthum gum in ice cream? It shouldn't be, but I will really need to get creative about this one.
Even as I write this, I think I'm coming to a decision, or at least my taste buds are. I mean, really, who wouldn't want 26 days of this?:
Coffee Chocolate Chip
Thoughts anyone? Favorite flavors? Ice Cream challenges?????