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Saturday, August 25, 2012

8/27 LIFE... or something similar...

This past Friday, my youngest daughter and I visited our local library. The library was hosting a discussion with a former NASA Astrophysicist. As both she and I are junkies when it comes to anything space related, this was a can't miss activity.

We were welcomed by the Head of the Library and offered "astronaut ice cream." Freeze dried chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry- just like those heroes ate! It had the density of Styrofoam, but if I'm honest, it wasn't all that bad. The chocolate sort of left an after taste similar to the skin that forms on top of warm pudding. It also stuck to our teeth, like that skin does.

It wasn't a huge crowd that gathered to hear the talk, but I was very pleased with the rather (for a small community) large number of children in attendance. As he spoke and displayed a variety of photographs taken with the Hubble Deep Space telescope, the oohs and ahhs from the kids was noted.

The pictures themselves were stunning. The different colors that could be seen so far off in space, of various star clusters, galaxies, and the like, were beautiful., but I was more taken in with the reactions of the kids.

In this day and age, when kids can get immediate pleasure via their XBOX or laptops, when they hardly form complete sentences while texting their peers, witnessing this group of kids getting more pleasure from learning science was fascinating.

The talk taught the kids, and reminded us adults in the audience, of just how small we really are in the universe. We are nothing more that atoms, smaller even, if taken in relation to the universe as a whole. The kids hadn't known that to be the case... at least, to see it visually solidified the fact.

Following the talk and Q&A session, we were invited to head outside, where the speaker had set up a large telescope. The craters on the moon were crystal clear. Sadly, Saturn was too low in the sky for viewing, but that didn't deter the kids from their excitement. I listened to them, many of them talking about how cool the moon's craters appeared... how they hoped one day to step foot on the small rock that orbits our planet.

My daughter has had a goal for a few years now. She wishes to be the first female to set foot on the Moon, then work her way to stepping on Mars. She's only 11 years old currently, with a long road ahead. She may change her mind one day... but I hope not.

When I was a child, my heroes were always the folks who dared to dream big, then set out to achieve that dream. Sally Ride- I remember her mission. I watched it on the huge console TV in my family's living room. I remember gasping at the realization that she was the first to achieve something great that hadn't been done prior.

Too many kids today have their eyes set on a different sort of prize. Wealth, fame, their own reality TV show. It makes me sad to think that they aren't getting the big picture: While we all want something to see at the movies, we all want a great summer song on the radio, it isn't so much about the end result as it is the trip to get there. In an age where you can be discovered on youtube and have instant celebrity status, it makes me wonder who the heroes really are. Worse yet, as parents, why aren't we pointing those heroes out?

It leaves me breathless each time my daughter tells me about her plans to get great grades, go to a great college, then work her way up the ranks to finally take a seat on that mission which will firmly plant her feet on another world. Not once has she mentioned how famous she'll be, how much money she could make, or even that her place in history will be cemented.

How fantastic is it, to have a dream only for the sake of dreaming?

WORD OF THE WEEK (8/26/12)

Word of the Week is a weekly blog post in which the author shares a random word with the readers, and challenges them to use it at least once in the coming 7 days. If you do, please share your sentence in the comments!

August 26th, 2012 WotW is : ABLIGURITION

Abligurition   \Ab*lig`u*ri"tion\

from the Latin word abligurire  and it means to spend in luxurious indulgence

Abligurition was used in popular English writings prior to the 20th Century. While it's translation from the Latin basically means to spend a lot of money to indulge, it was typically used in reference to that large sum of money spent on food and libations.

Lebron James club tab after winning the 2012 NBA title, including a whopping $75,000 bottle of Ace of Spades, would be considered an abligurition.

in a sentence: "I know they saved for their wedding for a year, but having both filet mignon and lobster tails for all the guests seems to be an abligurition to me."

But honestly- you can't take it with you, right? Why not spend it on food?

Potentially Deep thoughts for 8/25/12


 ** The thoughts expressed within this post are not shared with the majority of sane and rational folks, and are merely the opinion of the author. Please be advised.**

I sat outside on my patio yesterday, the weather being fantastic (not too hot for Late August… clear blue Skies above…) as I was all alone, the sounds of nature were my music. Crickets chirping in the overgrown grass. I watched small butterflies twirling around. Even the bees made me smile.

Until the thought hit me… What if they attacked?

Yes, I asked the question. What if the grasshoppers and ants and bees and all the other insects met one evening, decided to put aside their differences, and take over the world?

We. Would. Be. Screwed.

While we go around living our human lives, we pay little mind to the insects nearby. We see an ant and, for no reason really, we step on it. Our children (or husbands) see a spider. They panic! We grab a shoe and whack it to death. What if the insect world decides “Enough is enough! We’re not gonna take it anymore!”?

Okay, I know what you’re thinking… she’s crazy! With tiny brains, insects can’t form the needed battle plans…

Oh really?

A plague of locusts wipes out entire crops. Sure, it’s their nature… probably… 
West Nile Virus and Equine Encephalitis are just illnesses that happen to be carried in mosquitoes, yet they don’t get sick.

What if the war has already begun? We all have had bugs buzzing around our heads while at a bbq or picnic, maybe they’re scouting the location? Next comes the moths. Their mission: destroy any and all items, such as clothing, that can keep the humans protected from us. The third wave of attack is the garden bugs, attempting to wipe out of food supplies. Then, they activated the Special Forces of the bug world- insects that carry disease. The next wave, almost in sync with the IGB (Insect Green Berets) would be those insects, like wasps and bees, that carry allergy inducing substances in their tiny bodies, and closely following behind is the venom bearing bugs- poisonous spiders and the like.

The Bug World uses scare tactics, too… creeping around in your house, lurking in the shadows, waiting…. 

Who hasn’t seen a movie with giant spiders, or worse than that? TONS of spiders (like in Harry Potter). We’ve seen video footage of swarms of bees, thousands of them, buzzing around. The noise alone sends shivers up one’s spine.

The next time a pesky little ant goes marching by with a crumb in his grip, maybe, just maybe, we should step to the side… give them a wider berth, and let then carry on with their ant lives.

 We have no way of knowing which action- DEET filled repellent, garden spraying, or just smushing one lonely ant, will be the spark to ignite the Insect Revolution.  We have two choices- rectify our ways now, or prpare for the war that lies ahead.

Viva la Bug-olution!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Blog Schedule!

I wanted to share with you all my blog schedule. I've tried to keep it varied and interesting, with a different theme for each day a week! Granted... there may be days when I can't post... life does tend to get in the way on occasion, but this is my basic format for posts!
Enjoy!
~LCM


MONDAY: Life… or something similar- These posts will relate directly to my “real” life. As a wife and a Mom of three kids who sits on a few school committees, loves Pop culture, and can, at times, lose a little control (I know… you’re shocked) these posts will reflect on my real world.

TUESDAY: Book review day- my take on books I’ve read, using a star system. I don’t factor editing into my reviews, unless it took away from the story.

WEDNESDAY: WTF Wednesday- okay…this could be anything! Strange news stories I’ve stumbled upon that you may have missed, observations of mine into things, or maybe my impressions of activities or events happening in the world.

THURSDAY:  Author Day- featuring author interviews, stalker links, and buy links

FRIDAY: Realm Related- Fridays, I will blog about news and events related to my writing and books.

SATURDAY: Potentially Deep Thoughts- I say potentially because let’s be honest… It’s me! Some of these posts may in fact be deep- insights into the world around me, while others will probably be as shallow as a puddle. In any event, they are my opinions on the topics shared.

SUNDAY: Word of the Week- Maybe it’s just me, but I LOVE learning new words. I have been doing this little lesson with my kids for years… picking a random word, offering the definition, and challenging them to use it at least once during the week. Now, I shall be sharing this with you!

Realm Related

Good Friday Folks!

It's my first Friday post on the new blog, and as I have set myself up on a schedule, that means Realm Related! Fridays I will share news about my writing, insights...who knows!

This week, I do have some news to share!

Obviously, since you're reading this, you already know about the new blog! Thank you for checking it out! Please, make sure to follow!

Today is day one of my Cafepress Shop! http://www.cafepress.com/maggiehenningandtherealm
I have created a variety of items, all relating to book one, Phoenix Rising. Some are flat out funny, others will let fans show off their love of the books.

Now... before you say "WTH? She's trying to make money?" (Don't lie...you were thinking it) let me tell you about this...

One of my kids has Pervasive developmental Disorder. PDD is an Autism Spectrum Disorder that deeply effects a person's social skills and abilities. This has been challenging for my child. parents- you know how your kids always want to be "on the go", participating in sports, clubs, complaining becaude you won't just drop them off at the mall to hang out with their friends? These are things that parents sympathize with. And, these are examples of things my child never does. They prefer to stay home, usually absorbed in a book or game. They try to avoid situations were they have to interact with others. Often times, they misunderstand social cues. While the "typical" kid hears "Nice Shoes!" from a peer and immediately knows if that peer is picking on them or complimenting them, my child has to spend a long time trying to figure it out.

The Last Phoenix Shop items have a variety of prices, but all base prices are set by Cafepress themselves. I have "mark ups", and I have kept those mark ups incredibly low- only a dollar in most cases. 50 % of all the money I get from the sale of these items will be donated to Cure Autism Now, a charity that is working to get funding for research related to Autism and its related disorders.

The number of diagnosed children on the Autism Spectrum continues to show just how prevalent this condition is. For families, I can tell you the diagnosis day (DD) is, at first, like having a death in the family. When we heard ours, we spent a day thinking of all the things my child would never do... but then, the next day, we brushed ourselves off and decided they could do ANYTHING, it just may require extra support.

I want you to know that anything you buy comes with not just my sincere thanks that you are supporting the characters and my books, but that you are also helping toward meeting a goal that in the future, will help so many many more.

Please, check out the shop! If there is something in particular you'd be interested in seeing, let me know! Currently, the shop has mainly items related to book one Phoenix Rising... but as the release date grows closer for book two Phoenix Burning, you can rest assured that more items will be added!

 http://www.cafepress.com/maggiehenningandtherealm

have a great day everyone!
~LCM

Thursday, August 23, 2012

AUTHOR YOU SHOULD KNOW: Brenda Hastings

Brenda Hastings is the author of  Our Forbidden Love (The Forbidden Saga)The Supernova Saga. Book one is out now and I have had the chance to read it... WOWZER!! This isn't about your friendly, sparkly vampires! Not a book for the kiddos...

I was lucky enough to catch up with Brenda during a brief few minutes between her writings, to ask her a few questions about OUR FORBIDDEN LOVE.


Hey Brenda! Thanks for doing this interview! In three sentences or less, can you tell us a little bit about your latest release?
Our Forbidden Love is told through Alexia Greene’s words, describing her life as a vampire servant. She tells of her heartache, pain, suffering, fears ... and eventually, love, as she fights to survive in this cold, sadistic world. It’s the first of five books in the series, and opens to a world where not only vampires thrive, but other supernatural creatures as well – all fighting to be considered number one.

Was there a particular event or person that inspired you to write this story? And what genre would you say your release is?
I have always been fond of the supernatural; in particular, vampires. So it didn’t surprise me when I sat down with pen in hand and began writing about them. I wouldn’t say there was one person or event in-particular that inspired this series, as much as I would say my adoration of the concept of beings that did. I have always wondered if such mythological beings could indeed be real.  With today’s pop culture sharing my same interests, I imagine that would be pretty interesting.
Our Forbidden Love, and the entire Forbidden Saga, falls under adult fantasy. This is not for younger audiences; these vampires are evil. The violence and sexual content make this adults only.
 
You have 24 hours to hang out with one of the characters in your latest release. Who do you pick and what sort of things do you guys do?
I love when people ask me questions like this. Because I wrote the books, I have a good idea of what the main characters, Alexia and Tristan, are thinking. Still, I think I would choose Tristan. The forth book in the series is actually about Tristan. It’s a diary of sorts and explains much about his heritage and how he came to present time when Alexia first met him. I have had the most fun writing that book. I think I have always crushed on Tristan. LOL! His story is the most in depth mysterious.
 
Can you tell us a little bit about the cover art to your latest release?
My publisher, Danielle, is amazing! She asked what I had in mind for the cover and created an image that exactly matched it! It’s Alexia, and behind her is the manor – where the Wellington family holds her and several other humans captive.
 
About your writing process- any special quirks, (i.e.- Music v. Silence? Need coffee?) that you would share with us?
When I write, it can’t be silent. LOL! I need to listen to music, it helps set the tone of the scene. Different genre’s for different scenes. At the same time, I can’t have people talking to me or making too much noise around me. For some reason, that is a distraction.
 
Do you outline before you write? Why or why not?
It depends on the story and how much of it has come to me before I sit down. Sometimes the story comes fast and I can play it out in my head before I ever jot it down, other times I can picture bits and pieces, but not enough to gain ground. Those are the times when I write outlines. Either way, I do take notes. I have dozens of notebooks stocked full of notes.
 
Aside from your own work, what’s the last thing you read and would you suggest it to others?
It’s been a while since I have read anything, but the last book I read was Pocketful of Fear, by Joseph Rubas. If you are a horror, paranormal, supernatural lover, you will enjoy this book.
 
About how long did it take you to write your latest work?
My latest is still in the works. Our Forbidden Love took me about a month, two if you count how many times I changed it, and even longer if you count how many alterations I just made during the final edits.
 
What book(s) are you anticipating win the next few months?
I haven’t had the chance to read it yet, but Tsunami by Crystal Ward just released and I am eagerly looking forward to reading that one. I loved Supernova.

How about a few randoms-
Favorite book? MINE!  I have several books I consider favorites: Being completely unbiased, I love all of the Firefly and Wisp published books.
Favorite movie? Again, I have several. Being silly, my ultimate favorite movie has always been The Little Mermaid.
The ever important, Coke or Pepsi? Pepsi
Your “can’t live with outs"? My laptop, cell phone, and friends.
Your biggest supporter in your writing career? My mom, Diane.

Brenda- you totally rock! Thanks so much for answering! Please, tell us where we can stalk...umm, follow you?

I have several pages and always welcome friendly stalkers. :-)

www.facebook.com/brendasstories
www.facebook.com/brendahastingsauthor
www.facebook.com/theforbiddensaga
www.brendahastings.com
www.brendahastings.weebly.com
www.wix.com/theforbiddensaga





BOOK REVIEW: Awry by Chelsea Fine (Archers of Avalon: book 2)

O...M...G...

When I bought my copy of book one in the Archers of Avalon series, Anew, at the time I hadn't imagined that I was on the cusp of something fantastic... When I finished it, I didn't hesitate for a second in picking up book 2, Awry...

Now that I have finished AWRY, I am left with one simple feeling...


OHMIGODTELLMETHENEXTBOOKISOUTALREADYBECAUSEIMAYLITERALLYDIEIFIHAVETOWAITFORONEMINUTEFORMORETRISTAN !

SERIOUSLY! That is really one word...no breathing, no pause...

Chelsea Fine's characters are so fresh and engaging. To say her story telling is brilliant is the biggest understatement OF THE CENTURY!! Hell, even of the LAST CENTURY!!!

How did I stumble on these books? How did I not know Tristan was out there...waiting for me? 


Umm... I mean Scarlet... yeah, that's what I meant... sure...

As excited as I am for the third book (out in December) at the same time I want to push it away because I know its the end of this series.

These are some of the very BEST young adult books I have read... how is Chelsea Fine NOT on the top of the best seller list in the NY Times? Seriously!!

You NEED to read this books... don't hesitate. I promise you won't be disappointed