Sunday, December 4, 2011

My "Duh" Moment

Following the advice of an old writing friend, I check my penname every once in awhile on Google, especially now that I'm producing stuff more frequently and (hopefully) proficiently. While there are a few other dbstevens people out there, "my" penname -- linked with my writing -- has usually come up within the first 10 search items, which I've been relatively proud of. But over the last month it's slowly climbed up to the seventh item, maybe the fifth...

Imagine my joy, then, when I checked again last night and saw this:

(Click on the picture for an enhanced view)

Nice, huh? Fiiinally. Number one search item is my name, my profile, my writing... but wait? I don't use that site.

Waaait a second.

While I do use other writing forums to promote my blog -- if you look at the picture again you'll see "Writer's Cafe" and that's me -- because that's what some of the best writers and bloggers suggest you do to grow your readership, I always reference my excerpts back to Kicking Corners. This profile didn't.

Upon further research of the Runonwords site, it's completely legit, it's actually a really cool writing forum, and my writing/penname is pretty popular on there. So much so that it rocketed my writing/penname to the top search item in Google.

The only problem, then, is that it wasn't me posting there, no one had asked to use excerpts of my writing, and there wasn't anything pointing readers back to my blog.

They say that "Imitation is the highest form of flattery," and in a way I suppose I am flattered when I don't think about the reality of the situation. Also, I'm grateful this person used my penname, rather than just reposting my writing in another name (who knows, maybe that's going on too? I need to check).


While I've contacted the team at Runonwords and they've deleted the account there (hats off to them, they were really quick to reply and great to work with), I've decided I need to seriously re-think this blog. For now I'm taking down my story while I process everything that's happened thus far with it.

And there is another storm coming so I'm officially not setting a deadline for anything tomorrow. We'll see you in a week or so. Maybe.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Utahns trying to cleanup mess left by wind

So I went to bed a little after midnight on December 1st, bound and determined to finish the "Black Luck" post during the boys' naptime ( and therefore by 4pm)...

Then this happened:

Link to the video here --,0,1346767.story

Multiple trees uprooted all down our street
Uh. I don't know this woman but she illustrates my point: it was insane.

It was probably around 2 am that I first realized there was a problem because the walls were shuddering and the windows were creaking. What the...

Somewhere in my groggy mind I remembered going to the store Tuesday night to buy some yogurt and overhearing the cashier say there were hurricane-strength winds projected to come roaring through our area on Thursday. The way she spoke about it reminded me of a groupy talking up her favorite band coming to town. I didn't even consider the storm could mean the fridge would go out, along with all the lights, the computer, any radios. Preparing for such a thing? I had no idea what that even meant.

Needless to say, all that yogurt was ruined.

As it turns out, it meant that at 2 am I woke up on Thursday morning to the screaming of the wind. I've always thought that was just a metaphor, but it was the most bizarre, scary sound, truly sounding like multiple people screaming different pitches and intensities. The whole house shook. I lay in my bed breathing fast, trying to figure out what to do (I feel like I'm writing about a character, but this really was me -- I really did lay there with my mind desperately trying to wake up and assess the situation -- it seems so surreal, now). When I looked out the window, anything that wasn't heavy or tied down was pinned horizontally in the wind. Screaming, screeching, objects that shouldn't be flying were flying.

It was just like the movies, except it was real.

Somewhere around 3 I was downstairs, watching out the back window in disbelief, when there was a loud boom outside and all the power went off. Without the street lights illuminating the chaos it was even more surreal. The noises, the feel of the wind pushing, pushing...I felt like it could tear the foundation up and we'd all be swept tumbling into the next street over. In reality, what did come up was part of our back fence and a huge limb broke off the tree in the front, nearly crashing down into our car but barely missing it. We were lucky. Not everyone in our neighborhood were as blessed.

Anyway. This continued through the next day, and even as it started to finally settle down Thursday evening, the power was still out. We are lucky to have a gas fireplace. Hubs (short for hubby, short for husband) had to work a grave shift so Alpha and Beta (son one and two) and I snuggled up in the room with the fireplace. I closed off all the other rooms and we were snug bugs as long as we stayed in there. It was freezing anywhere else in the place.

Long story short, our power didn't come on again til later today (December 2).

This is much later than my December 1 by 4pm deadline. I apologize for my delay -- I was puttering in my head about it the whole time -- I'm truly sorry. *sigh*

So what have I learned from all this?

1. Always listen to your cashier when they warn of natural disasters, even if they do sound like a nutty groupy, and prep the fridge/cupboards accordingly.

2. Keep on close hand lots of candles, matches/lighters, and flashlights; then know where you've put away all the above-said items so you're not ramming your head into things while you're blindly trying to find them.

3. Check the weather forecast before promising to finish posts by a certain deadline.

Thanks, all, for your continued interest and support.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Your wish, dear reader, is my command

We're rounding into weekend number four and I must admit I've been a little unhappy with how I've been using all that valuable time. Every weekend I've wondered to myself, "To post today, or not to post today. That is the question." So I'm waffling between three choices for the next little while and as your author, I'm asking your opinion on which one to chose:

1. To write everyday, through weekends and holidays, until this version of my story is finished. I'm all for doing this, I'm just worried my story will become flat? But maybe if I'm conscious of it, and if I'm getting great feedback from my readers (Dude. You're story's becoming like roadkill -- stinky, ugly, sad, dead, something you avert your eyes from... do I need to keep going?) this won't become a problem...

2. To write Monday-Friday and take the weekends off to get various other things done in my life, blah, blah, until my story is finished. In this case I would have "weekend intermissions" where I post links to other blogs, stories, DIY projects, pictures, videos, that I find interesting but will most likely have very little to do with my story (and yet heartily entertaining, of course, nonetheless)...

3. To write Monday-Friday and take the weekends off to get various other things done in my life, blah, blah, until my story is finished. In this case I wouldn't really post anything on the weekends. Lame, I think, but I can't really tell if people are even reading my posts on the weekends anyway? Maybe that just makes the blog more fun to read and catch up with on Mondays? Dunno.

So please give me your thoughts and/or vote in the comments section, or if you want to email me I love mail. Phone calls, if you have my number, are welcome too.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Intermission

I'm hugely thankful for all those who are reading my blog -- both those who are doing so silently and those who are leaving me comments. Your presence gives me confidence and energy, two things I very much need right now.

Thank you.

An Unrefusable Summons

Removed by author, please refer to My "Duh" Moment

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Initial Plans and Prologue

Dear Potential Reader,

I'm getting into writing again and I plan to make this blogged story my daily practice -- it'll be one my readers can have a say in (all hail "Choose Your Own Adventure" books), that's very unpolished since I'm pumping it out on the fly (and most likely written somewhere around 4:30 in the morning being that that's one of the only times I can do it), but it'll hopefully grow a healthy life of it's own as I hear feedback from you and I get in the habit of writing and writing and writing...

Here's how it'll work:

1. I write a few paragraphs about the main character, Aimee, and then present a decision she has to make.

2. You read that day's excerpt and then vote for what decision she makes in a comment to that post. I'll need your vote by midnight so I can plan and write accordingly for the next day's post.

3. The plot continues in a few more paragraphs based on the winning votes made by you, my readers.

In return for your feedback I promise to always:

1. Keep my posts short enough you can read them and vote quickly.

2. Try to make my story interesting enough you want to return and have a say in how the story progresses.

3. Respect what you have to say and incorporate it when and if I can.

These are my Initial Plans. 

**Update: It may be obvious, now, that though people are viewing the story they stopped voting a couple of posts in, so I'm continuing the story sans the "choose your own adventure" angle. But I still very much appreciate your input and feedback. Please read, enjoy (or not), and give me your thoughts at will. 


Here's my Prologue, and what little back story I'm willing to give (alluding to the fact that yes, there's more back story -- I'm not writing entirely blind -- and that I do have a general direction I want the story to take, but you will be the ones deciding how it goes there):

Aimee is indistinguishable from any other girl walking down the street in  jeans and a loose gray-green jacket, perfect for the turning weather of autumn, and she likes it that way. When she wears her long, curling blond hair down, people look once, then they look again with their eyes slightly squinting as if they're trying to place her in their memories. So she wears it up and tied back tight to make it look straight.

She's neither old nor young; she's not tall or short; she's closer to the high end of her BMI but that just makes her look curvy rather than lanky. She's never been rich, yet she always keeps enough change in her pocket to grab a quick coffee on the way to work in the morning -- a desk job she hates, but pays enough to keep her from looking elsewhere.

Which is barely enough to make rent in the city she lives in, a pretty big place with lots of smaller sprawling cities around it, but is far from being one of those huge, swallowing metropolises. She has a tight group of friends that all live relatively close. Some of her family are near too, while others live farther away. She has only sisters, of which she gets along with about half.

She's been in love many times, but isn't currently in a relationship with anyone. The last guy she dated left her for the fourth girl he cheated with. Aimee would have forgiven him again, but he'd needed something more. Someone more. More brunette? "It's not you, Babe, it's me. I'm just screwed up." His razor is still in her bathroom.

Now she has to make a decision, though. She has to leave town in a hurry, and doesn't have time to pack. She has a couple of purses -- more like overgrown bags with junk and random receipts littering the little pockets -- one of which she has to throw over her shoulder and run out the door with, hoping desperately it'll have some of the stuff she needs. She doesn't have time to check the contents.

Does she grab the red, wrinkled leather one that most likely has her wallet and cell phone?


Does she grab the green one that matches her jacket and hopefully has all the contact information both for herself and her friends and family, and a keyring credit card clipped inside?
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