october monthly mini competition: an unexpected journey

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ESCAPEES

“How did we get ourselves into this mess?” wondered Juneau, his stomach growling in anticipation of the next meal. Making his way through the tall stalks of bee balm, bending under the weight of an earlier downpour, this little fraidy cat seemed on the verge of a total meltdown.

Sitka, on the other hand, sauntered along the winding path ahead of his brother, intent on smelling every petal…leaf…twig…and clump of mulch. You name it; he smelled it. “This is heavenly,” he thought.

As he continued along, gulping in as much fresh air as his lungs would allow, Sitka meowed for the world to hear…”Free at last! Thank God Almighty! We are free at last!”

Meanwhile, Misha, the leader of the pack, ambled confidently ahead of the others. His swagger seemed a challenge, as if daring one and all to…”Try and stop me! Just you try!” He it was who had made a beeline for the back door when it was unwittingly left ajar. He’d peered at the outside world through the window panes on the French door. Now he was determined to experience all its delights…firsthand. No more playing like…”Alice through the looking glass.”

“If only those two slow pokes wouldn’t have come with me” thought Misha. “I’d have been into the next yard by now.” Muttering to himself, he added “I don’t even like those half-breeds.” Not being purebred Maine Coones like himself, Misha tended to stick his nose in the air when the three boys found themselves in one another’s company. Although Misha did need to check them out from time to time, by way of sniffing…their butts.

“I can’t go any further!” complained Juneau to his fellow escapees. Moaning to himself, he added “There’s nothing to eat out here.” He had to admit that even his bowl of bland, diet kibble was better than nothing. “If and when I get back inside,” gulped Juneau, “I’ll be ever so grateful. I won’t try to sneak a few bites of Sitka’s food. I won’t body slam Mocha. I won’t pick fights with Misha that I know I can’t win. I won’t drive Hugmamma crazy with my constant meowing.”

Juneau prayed hard.

Unfazed, Sitka lay down on a piece of slate warmed by the noonday sun. “Oh, this is just divine,” he purred to himself. Oblivious to his partners-in-crime, Sitka bathed himself, licking his silky coat to undo some of the spider webs he’d encountered.

Suddenly out of nowhere, a red squirrel was in front of Misha. At home on his own turf, the rodent raised himself up on his haunches as if threatening to lash out at Misha. Neither blinked. Seconds passed.

And then…Misha bolted! Without looking back, he squeezed through the door which had nearly slammed shut in an unexpected gust of wind.

Juneau followed in hot pursuit, leaving Sitka to wonder what all the commotion was about. Little did he suspect that there’d be a huge fuss once Hugmamma learned he was missing.

” SITKA!!!

 

acknowledging…friends

It’s so easy to make friends among fellow bloggers. We’re all carving out our own niches, trying to tell stories others might want to hear. Communities form quickly among like-minded spirits, kindred souls. Those who are creative, design awards of recognition for meritorious efforts. They compel us to stop…and smell the roses…enjoy the scenery…be grateful for this moment.

Kate of Believe Anyway at http://believeanyway.wordpress.com has invited me to join others in accepting The Lovely Blog Award

Her exact words were…

Gosh oh gosh hugmamma you are beyond kind and thoughtful. Hope you are doing well today. i do so enjoy your blog, posts, photos, poems, videos, philosophy, outlook, etc. I am giving you the Lovely Blog Award :-) . Cuz your blog is lovely! http://believeanyway.wordpress.com/2012/01/20/it-is-beginning-to-look-like-bragging-but/ [that is the link}. Have a lovely day/weekend. 

Theresa L Wysocki

It’s gratifying to receive the well wishes of friends, and even more so when bestowing them upon others as deserving, if not more so. I therefore pass along The Lovely Blog Award to Thirdhandart’s Weblog at http://thirdhandart.wordpress.com

Theresa Wysocki is a photographer of quality and excellence. Her elegant blog belies the country girl she seems at heart. Though her lens is focused upon her native Kansas, her photographs and accompanying short stories gather the world at her feet…in awe. I’m one of her greatest fans…

…i’m certain you will be too…

………hugmamma.  😉

published guest author: B.C. Young

I’m very excited to share the following interview. I’d seen a piece, “Persistence Pays Off,” written by B.C. Young as a guest author on another blog, Woven Strands, and liked what he had to say about writing. I visited his blog, The Time Capsule, and saw that he had published several e-books, Copy Bird, Going Home, and his current work in progress, The Miscorrection Novelettes, of which three pieces are completed, Sunrise (Book 1, Story 1), Arrogation (Book 1, Story 2) and Felix Culpa (Book 1, Story 3). Additionally, Young offers free reading of some flash-fiction stories he has written, based upon the Wordpress weekly photo challenge. And finally, his most recent post requests reviewers for his books, which he will, of course, provide. You can visit his website at http://the-time-capsule.com.

I asked Mr. Young questions I thought relevant to those among us who have ever contemplated writing for publication. I’ve seen a number of well-written blogs throughout the WordPress community, so I know there are many who  would love the opportunity to have their words appear in printed form, and be paid for it. I think this published author offers wise counsel, and is a positive voice for persistence if you’ve a passion for writing, like I do. I intend to take his advice to heart.

Without further ado I give you author B.C. Young. I know you’ll enjoy what he has to say.

1. Who should seriously contemplate writing a book for publication?

In this day and age, I think anyone who has a story that has bounced around in their head or information on a subject they know well, should write a book. So everyone should write a book for publication if they are moved to do so. My philosophy is that anyone can write. This wasn’t how I thought in the beginning, but I’ve learned it over time. It’s a common misconception that you must be educated to write a book. While I use to think that exact same way, I totally disagree with that idea now. If you have passion for the story or subject you want to write, write it! If you stick to it, you’ll learn a lot. And as with any art form, you can only get better at it if you practice. So believe in what you want to write and know that you will continue to improve. A person should never let himself or herself become discouraged because they feel what they have to say is not interesting or up to the standards of other well known writers.

2. How realistic is it to think one’s book will, in fact, be published?

It’s extremely realistic. This is because traditional publication is not as important as it was in the past. It used to be that the only way an author could be published and allow for a large market to find what he or she offered, was to have a traditional publisher approve your manuscript for publication. This is no longer the case. Now, the writer can take the publication of their book into their own hands by self-publishing it. If they want a printed version of their book, you have print-on-demand services out their like CreateSpace, Lulu, and more. If they wish to offer their book as an e-book, that’s a very good option, too. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords make it very easy for you to get your e-book published. Some would say that you aren’t truly a writer unless you have been traditionally published. But this couldn’t be further from the truth! If your works are out there for people to buy and read, no matter what the format, then you are published. It’s a new way of thinking, and in a few years, I believe everyone will not differentiate between traditional and self-published books as they do now. 

 

3. Given the current flux in the publishing industry, with e-books gaining a stronger share of the market, how should beginners…begin?

They should begin by writing. Write, write, write! There’s no better way to improve your skill. If you have a blog, be consistent in writing on it. Find ways to challenge yourself. This is what I’ve done on my site. On a weekly basis, I write flash fiction. Most of it takes a minute or less to read. But I’ve been using it as a means to teach myself how to say more with fewer words. The practice pays off. If writing a large book seems overwhelming, start small. But whatever you do, do not stop writing. If you do, then you’ll procrastinate. You’ll find excuses not to write. And in the end, your writing will go nowhere. And remember that you have the control over whether or not your writing gets published. When it comes to writing and beginning, you can be your own best friend or your own worst enemy.

4. From beginning to end, what would you consider the average amount of time it takes to get a book to the point of looking to be published?

Because of e-books and self-publication, you have the ability to write a short story and have it published very quickly. This is what I did with Copy Bird and Going Home. I spent about six hours in total on each of those stories from writing, to cover art, file creation, and publication on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. Granted, there’s a learning curve to knowing how to do all those things properly. In the beginning all those steps may take longer for you. But as you become familiar with the process, it will go much quicker, as it does with any new process you might learn. So, the length of what you write is a determining factor. After the writing process, proofreading, and editing, it’s highly possible for you to have your book available for sale within one to two days – sometimes less. It’s really amazing when you think about it, because in the traditional publication of books, it could be a year before an author’s book can be purchased at a local book store. Which would you prefer, make money immediately in one to two days or wait a year to start making it? I think the answer is obvious. 

5. There are so many good writers, from what I’ve seen of other blogs on WordPress. What sets those apart who might be marketable, whether by magazine editors or book publishers?

I think originality and consistency are determining factors. If an author has one book published and that’s all they do, how likely are you to buy something they wrote? Probably not very likely. However, if they have a lot of books they’ve written, now what will you do? No doubt you’ll browse the catalog they have to offer and find what interests you and read one of their books. From there, you might decide to read another book, if you enjoyed the first one you read. If you think of yourself as a writer, keep writing, and get your stuff out there by any means necessary, and you’ll get noticed. Will it be a magazine or book publisher? Maybe. But does that matter? What’s the point of writing? To have other people read what you wrote, and hopefully they enjoy it. If you reach the reader, it doesn’t matter how you’re published. So if you have a blog, write. If you have a story in mind, write. Set a goal to reach the reader and not the publisher. Then, you might just find the exact thing for which you are searching.

 

  Click on any book to view it on b.c. young’s website.

let him know hugmamma sent you…and that you enjoyed this interview…i did!

postaday 2011 topic: interview #3

Ever since I took up the challenge to interview someone, I’ve loved the thought of doing it. I enjoy sharing my blog with others who are generally in sync with my world view, but bring their own flavor to the mix. Multiplying my single voice by many, gets the message out farther, that we are all one people, striving to live our best lives, under the “same sky,” to borrow filmmaker Francine Le Franc’s message about the mothers of Rwanda.

Scriptor Obscura was the first blogger to follow me, and make me feel good about what I  had to say. She made me blush when she invited me to post to her blog. Friends and family have suggested that I am a writer, but to have a total stranger weigh in, was the icing on my cupcake. The fact that she’s closer in age to my 25-year-old daughter, makes her admiration of my writing doubly special. I think you’ll see her youthful, tech savvy, style reverberate throughout her responses. But like my daughter, Scriptor Obscura is an “old soul,” with a passion for life. She’s become like an internet daughter, with whom I always share hugs. Sit back…and smile for a while… 

 1. Your blog’s appearance looks so advanced. Are you naturally tech-savvy,or have you taught yourself by trial and error, or by gathering info wherever you can?
Thank you for the compliment about my blog! I have taught myself through trial and error and experiences over the years, and also by learning and gathering info as I go…and I’m still going! We never stop learning new things, as the saying goes…
2. You seem passionate, a person of convictions. What are your passions, your convictions, your causes?
I always have trouble answering questions like this one, so here is a song that basically explains how I feel: It is titled

Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise, by The Avett Brothers

The Avett Brothers in Cleveland, OH Grog Shop

Image via Wikipedia

Here is the link to the video of it on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEr9gMYdkHI  And here are the lyrics to this song:

 

There’s a darkness upon me that’s flooded in light
In the fine print they tell me what’s wrong and what’s right
And it comes in black and it comes in white
And I’m frightened by those who don’t see it

When nothing is owed, deserved or expected
And your life doesn’t change by the man that’s elected
If you’re loved by someone you’re never rejected
Decide what to be and go be it

There was a dream
One day I could see it
Like a bird in a cage I broke in and demanded that somebody free it
And there was a kid, with a head full of doubt
So I scream til I die or the last of those bad thoughts are finally out

There’s a darkness upon you that’s flooded in light
In the fine print they tell you what’s wrong and what’s right
And it flies by day and it flies by night
And I’m frightened by those who don’t see it

 3. What relaxes you, comforts you, physically and spiritually?
These pictures express it best.

 
 4. Where do you live? It needn’t be specific. It would allow my readers and me to see the scenic backdrop against which your life unfolds. I live in Pennsylvania
 
 5. Is there something you’re longing to do, which you’ve not been able to do thus far, for whatever reason?
Oh, so many, many things! It is difficult to pick and choose just one thing! But if I had to choose one thing to start with, I would say that it has been my absolute lifelong goal to have a book of my short stories and poems published! I would absolutely love to walk into a bookstore and see my book displayed for sale on the shelf! By the way, if anyone has any advice or suggestions for me on how to get a book published, I would love to hear it! I would also love to walk into my local library and see my book available on the shelf for people to check out and read! Wow, this would be absolutely and completely amazing, to have people checking out and reading my writing! I would love to see what people have to say about it!
Thank you so much for the opportunity to be interviewed on your blog, hugmamma. I really appreciate it!
Huge, huge hugs…your friend, Scriptor Obscura.
 
 
You’ve many years to realize your dreams…and the energy and perseverance to make them come true.
 
 
sending huge hugs back at you…hugmamma.