Can You Vague That Up For Me?

Bronwyn Green's Random Thoughts

Archive for the tag “Jessica De La Rosa”

Wordless Wednesday: Summer Where I Live

wordlesswed

It’s another edition of Wordless Wednesday, and as usual, mine will probably have words.

There are some things that piss me right off about Michigan, but the landscape isn’t one of them. No matter the season, it’s almost always freaking gorgeous. Here are what some of my favorite spots look like in summer.

IMG_7773

Northern shore of Lake Michigan. We had so much fun swimming in the waves.

IMG_6507

Lake Superior in Gay, Michigan

IMG_6581

Lake Superior in Eagle Harbor, Michigan

IMG_6947

Lake Superior in Gay, Michigan

IMG_7697

Lake Superior in Munising, Michigan

IMG_7811

Lake Superior at Whitefish Point, Michigan

IMG_7667

Sunset on South Manistique Lake in Curtis, Michigan

IMG_7760

Floatie parking on South Manistique Lake in Curtis, Michigan

As you may have guessed, I really like being by (and in) the water. I try to spend as much time by the water as possible in the summer–as long as I have my SPF Vampire handy, that is.

Be sure to check out the other blogger’s posts to see what summer is like where they live.

Jess * Gwen * Kris * Paige * Jessica

Favorite Writing Advice

#writelifeapril

Advice is a lot like music. Or styles of underwear. Use what works for you, and leave the rest behind.

Obviously, I can’t tell you what’ll work for you, I can only share what’s worked for me, but look around. You might find something you like. Try it on. See how it fits. If you like it, it’s yours.

So, these are my favorite bits of writing advice.

Emotional Meat Grinder – The first book I ever finished had zero conflict, and my very wise forever-friend, Alex Kourvo told me that it doesn’t matter how much I love my characters, I still have to grab them by the back of the head and shove them face-first into an emotional meat grinder and make their lives hell. Then, when it’s really bad, I need to make it worse.

Write What You Love – There are some people who advocate writing whatever’s popular in hopes of riding genre coattails to fame and fortune. Here’s the thing about that. If it’s not a genre or subgenre you truly enjoy, it’ll show. I saw it often in when I edited for small presses, and I still see it now with my editing business.  If you’re writing something in hopes of a paycheck instead of writing it because you love whatever it is, it’ll never be as good or satisfying for you or the reader than if you’d written something you were passionate about.

Who Has the Most to Lose? – Someone in a long ago and far away critique group had some brilliant advice about POV (point of view) that’s stuck with me to this day. When you’re writing a story with multiple narrative POVs, you’ll have to decide whose POV each scene should be in. Ask yourself who has the most to lose. Who has the most to lose physically? Who has the most to lose emotionally? (Especially emotionally.) Nine times out of ten, the character with the most at stake (in the moment) is the POV you’re going to want to write that scene from.

If You Want to be a Writer, You Need to Make Writing a Priority. – (Full disclosure: I can’t remember who said this to me–in reality, lots of people–but I have to remind myself of it on the regular. Sometimes daily. Sometimes all day long.) This isn’t to say that life–the busyness that comes from living and interacting with other people, a day job, and the world at large–can just be ignored. But if you’re finding it hard making time to write, you may have to take a long hard look at how you’re spending your time and decide where you can cut back to make room for more writing time. Also, make use of whatever tiny pockets of time you have.

Please note, I’m not including depression or other illnesses in the list of busyness. Those are a whole n’other ballgame. But as someone with multiple mental and physical health bullshit going on, I’m reminding you to be gentle with yourself. Constantly beating yourself up isn’t going to suddenly make you more productive. Trust me…I know intimately of which I speak. Be gentle with yourself. Accept help when it’s offered. Ask for help when you need it.

Trust the Story. – Background to this. It’s a paraphrased Neil Gaiman quote. More backstory. Jess Jarman, Kris Norris and I have had a three way text chat going on for almost four years, now. It’s incredibly rare that a day passes that we don’t text each other. I came across this Gaiman quote: “Trust dreams. Trust your heart, and trust your story.” and shared it with them because I loved it so much.

While we were all working on newer to us genres and sort of stepping into the literary unknown (for us anyway) of self-publishing, we were having a lot of of doubt. Certainly, self-doubt, but also story doubt. We’re all mostly pantsers as opposed to plotters, and we’d often find ourselves second-guessing where the characters and the plots were heading because it wasn’t where we’d thought they’d be going. When that happened (and still, today, when it happens) we always tell each other, “Trust the story.”

Thus far, trusting the story and going with my gut has worked beautifully, and it’s brought me to places I hadn’t had any intention of going, but the books are better for it. I’m sure that one day, it might backfire and I’ll end up with a mass of revisions, but so far, this works for me, and I’m going to keep doing it.

Do you have any writing advice you swear by? What is it? Be sure to go check out the other bloggers’ favorite writing advice. Jess, Gwen, Jessica, and Deelylah.

Top 10: Lessons I Learned from My Parents

top10-05may

 

I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all learned things from our parents–some intended and some…not so much.

10.) If you want a piece of machinery to work better, you need to swear loudly and profusely at it. I’ve seen this demonstrated with boat motors, tractor engines, combines, arc welders, and gas grills. I’ve used this technique myself with cars, computers, and sewing machines. Dad was right. Machines respond better when they know who’s in charge.

9.) Knitting is cheaper than therapy (unless you buy really, really nice yarn, and then you probably still break even). I don’t know that this bit of wisdom was ever verbalized, but it was certainly demonstrated on the regular. Thanks for teaching me the art of therapeutic knitting! (Full disclosure: sometimes I swear loudly and profusely at my knitting, too.)

8.) You can always use a good piece of rope. This is one of those things I remember hearing all the time as a kid. Literally all the time. And my dad always had various lengths of rope or baling twine to fix stuff. And he wasn’t wrong about that advice, either. This is a link to a thing I wrote for his retirement party a few years ago…involving a good piece of rope.

7.) Do what it takes to follow your dreams. This is one of those double whammy kind of lessons that I got from both sides–from both the parent who did and the parent who didn’t. My dad grew up on a working dairy farm and he was a journeyman welder and did maintenance on the kinds of machines you find in metal fabrication factories.

My mom grew up on a small sustenance farm and became am OR nurse. However, she realized really quickly that wasn’t what she wanted to do with the rest of her life. So she went back to school and double majored in psychology and philosophy and graduated at the top of her class. Then, she went on for her master’s in psych and her her doctorate. She ended up becoming a psychology professor and a leading expert in child development.

Just a few years ago, I found out that what my dad really wanted to do was teach history and write westerns. I wish he would have. I think he would have been happier.

6.) Life is too short to stay married to someone who isn’t right for you. This right here was a huge gift. I was sad that my parents divorced, but it was truly the best gift they could have given us kids and themselves. Everyone was happier, and I learned that it’s crucial not to sacrifice your happiness for anyone else and not to allow them to sacrifice theirs for you.

5.) It’s possible to be so tired that you can do some really fucked up stuff when you’re exhausted. That shit will become family legend. My mom once washed a load of clothes with maple syrup. She also once made quiche with spearmint instead of parsley. It was the literal. worst. (My brother Tim still ate about it, but he bitched the entire time.) I shaved a big chunk of hair off the top of my head thinking my razor was a comb.

4.) Wildly inappropriate lullabies are the best lullabies. My mom rarely sang us traditional lullabies. We got a lot of Simon and Garfunkel, Beatles, Carly Simon, Carole King, and John Denver and the occasional Bob Dylan and Gordon Lightfoot. I kept up the tradition with my kids with a lot of Dar Williams, Tori Amos, Kate Rusby, and other fantastically morbid Celtic folk songs.

3.)Once upon a time” are four of the most powerful words in the world. Both my parents were (and are) huge readers. And my mom always read to us. I loved story time, and I loved it even more with my own kids. Some of my favorite memories involve cuddling up with my kids and books.

2.) There’s no such place as “away”. Stuff doesn’t magically disappear when we get rid of it or throw it away. Donate what’s still useful and recycle everything you can. Yeah, mom was/is a bit of a hippie. And I’m okay with that.

1.) Unconditional love is everything. It’s the best thing my parents taught me, and I hope that it’s the best thing I’m teaching my own kids.

What kinds of things did you learn from your parents? I can’t wait to check out the rest of the parental lessons, and you can too by clicking on the bloggers’ names. Jessica, Jess, Kellie, Paige, and Deelylah.

What would the title of my memoir be, and why?

triple banded

Please Note: If Kris Norris ever abandons me, this is how shitty my future book covers will look. *makes plans to bribe Norris with Tim Horton’s tea*

I feel like the “why” of this title can best be summed up by potential chapter headings comprised of things I’ve said in text messages.

1.) If I don’t answer for a bit, it’s because I’m driving home from the motherfucking store.

2.) I’d run away and join the circus, but I have no marketable circus skills. And also clowns.

3.) Yes…I ignored that little voice in the back of my head that said that person was batshit crazy. Again.

4.) Math is hard, yo.

5.) I cannot possibly people today.

6.) I’m sorry my cat hates you.

7.) Look, I just need some cheese.

8.) Is it wrong that I’m proud of my four-year-old niece for using “What the fuck” properly in a sentence?

9.) I don’t recall becoming a bigamist, but at the same, time, my brain has been nothing but cracks, lately. So…maybe?

10.) The hold music is static-y soft jazz. I am in hell.

11.) Excellent. I feel like the more people we have spreading the accelerant, the quicker it’ll be over.

12.) Filed under bad ideas: Don’t look at fabric you made your kids’ clothes out of. Especially not while you’re ovulating.

13.) I’m gonna need bail money. There’s a neighbor kid out there somewhere blowing a goddam gym whistle.

14.) But in Clue, aren’t you just supposed to murder people with the candlestick? Or are we lighting candles to celebrate afterward?

15.) I feel like we won’t be able to have our podcast if I’m in jail, though.

16.) I have zero of popsicles. And also zero of patience.

17.) Never look a gift moodswing in the mouth.

18.) I am a font of random information.

19.) Fuck that. I’m putting on my ruffle-butt undies and my ruffled bonnet. And we’re gonna go Pollyanna the fuck out of everything.

20.) ADD Powers ACTIVATE! Form of Squirrel!

That’s it for me this week, be sure to check out the other bloggers’ memoir titles. Jess, Jessica, Deelylah, Gwen, and Kellie.

Promptly Penned: Three More Days

promptlypenned

Prompt: Three more days of this.

I looked at the calendar.

January 17th, 2021. 

Three more days of this. Just three more days, and the nightmare would be over.

That’s it for me this time–short and sweet. Be sure sure read the other bloggers stories. Jess, Deelylah, Jessica, and Kris.

The Worst Place I’ve Ever Been Stuck – What Happened

Suggestion: If you’re reading this post and are stressed out by current events, I suggest skipping to the last paragraph where there’s a link to something just weird enough to be distracting and possibly amusing. 

So, this post…I’ve been thinking about it for a while, and I’ve been having trouble narrowing my focus. Look…I have a lot of options for an open-ended topic like this. There have been a lot of places I’ve been stuck that have super sucked, and I could blog about them, but honestly, I’m in a shitty place right now, and maybe it just feels so bad because I’m in the middle of it? I don’t even know anymore.

The place I’m stuck right now sucks ass. I’m currently stuck in a near-continual loop of almost paralyzing fear. The months prior to the election, I’d have a political/policy-related nightmare once a week or so. Since the election, I’m having nightmares multiple times a week–sometimes a couple times a night, and well, they’re all variations on a theme. A very orange-y nightmarish, rights stripping, nuclear code having theme.

The fear doesn’t go away when I wake up, either. I think of all of the horrific, soul-crushing scenarios that could possibly happen to the people I love, to the people I don’t know but who are far, far more vulnerable than they were even a month ago. I constantly come up with new and terrifying scenes to torture myself with, and let me tell you, my imagination is fucking vivid. I never used to have panic attacks, but boy howdy, I sure do now.

So, I guess the worst place I’ve ever been stuck is my own mind…and what happened? I don’t know. It probably involves using more inhalers than I should and fighting harder–both my own imagination (which if it’s not going to help me write books needs to sit down and shut the fuck up, already) and the things that are going on in reality.

Okay, so this wasn’t the most cheerful or uplifting post. I apologize. As what will hopefully be a peace offering and distraction, I thought I’d share an older post about the time I was trapped at the tire place with the guy who was telling me his life story and also quizzing me about John Denver, the Rocky Mountains, and the UP. That wasn’t a great place to be stuck, but in retrospect, it’s a fuck of a lot more fun than here. I almost miss that dude.

Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ posts: Gwen, Kellie, JessicaDeelylah, and Paige.

Dear 2016, You Can Fuck Right Off

So, this post is meant to be the annual look back at 2016 and a look ahead at goals for 2017.

15621843_10154957609539203_6152349202604051134_n

I think Helen Mirren said it well. For me, this year has pretty much sucked endless ass–particularly on the professional, cultural, social and political fronts. But for the sake of this post (and my mental health) I’m just going to focus on my own professional issues.

The short version of this post is: I feel like I’ve failed miserably on the professional front and I hate everything.

Here’s how everything shook out.

I’d planned to write 5 books and 36 pieces of flash fiction.

I wrote 36 pieces of flash fiction, 3 short stories, and  1 book–1 book that I dearly love. And then? I was stupid enough to release it four days prior to what may have been the most contentious, awful election in all of U.S. history. Way to think that through, Bron.

I’d planned to write all 76 scheduled blog posts.

I actually did that – plus 35 more for a total of 111 blog posts. So, that was good.

And Jess and I did start our newsletter, finally. So, that’s good, too.

So that ended up being:

Writing: 89,471 words

Blogging: 77,482 words

Client Editing: 1,431,892 words

That’s a far cry from last year, but it’s also not zero, so…

And to be fair, I don’t hate everything. But I do hate the stress, anxiety, depression, and fear that have been my constant companions for the last 12 months. I’m usually a fairly positive person, but worry and grief over world and cultural events (as well as a few personal ones) have made that more than a little difficult.

15697899_10158020247080078_8263140852823532585_n

But, ultimately, my family and friends are safe and sound and whole and mostly well, and for me, that’s the most important thing.

So, my goals for this coming year are:

Get a handle on the negativity that’s seems to be plaguing me.

Do what I can to affect positive change in the world–even if they’re only small things.

Write day and night like I’m running out of time.

How about you – what are your goals?

Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ goals: Gwen and Jessica.

Promptly Penned: Too Late

Promptly Penned

It’s the last Promptly Penned of the year – yeah, I don’t know how that’s possible, either. Here’s the prompt, and my story’s down below.

It’s odd how life is rarely about those big important choices, but hinges on the small stupid choices you didn’t even realize were choices until it was too late.

 

Pink or blue?

Chocolate or vanilla?

Wheat or white?

Cake or pie?

Apple or cherry?

The waitress stopped at my table and pulled a handful of those little non-dairy creamer containers from the stained pocket of her apron and dropped them on the table–the plastic and liquid rattling strangely against the formica.

“I’ll be back with your pie, hon.”

I forced a smile. “Thanks.”

Coffee or tea?

Cream or sugar?

Dumping five of the little creamers into my coffee, I watched as the clouds billowed upward, swallowing the inky darkness.

Paper or plastic?

Pencil or pen?

Right or left?

Diet or regular?

I reached for the Sweet ‘n Low then changed course and grabbed the sugar container instead.

As she walked away, my dad came in from outside, his rig parked at the far end of the diner’s parking lot. He leaned over and kissed the top of my head before sliding into the molded plastic bench across from me.

Top or bottom?

Up or down?

Happy or sad?

It’s odd how life is rarely about those big important choices, but hinges on the small stupid choices you didn’t even realize were choices until it was too late.

“What’s so important that you wanted to talk to me in the middle of a haul, Abby-girl?” he asked as he glanced over a plastic laminated menu that had a sticky-looking jam smear across the front.

I shrugged. “Can’t a girl just want to spend some time with her dad?”

His eyebrows rose ,and he looked at me over the top of his menu.

Cash or credit?

Good or bad?

Boys or girls?

I took a sip of my still too-hot coffee and scalded my tongue. Quickly gulping the metallic-tasting tap water, I tried to cool the burn and figure out how to approach it.

“Abs?” he asked. “You okay?”

I closed my eyes. “Kevin and I broke up. I’m pregnant, and Katie and I are getting married. We don’t want anything from you, except for you to be there.” My words left me in a rush, and I cracked open my eyes.

He nodded once then turned to the waitress who was wiping down the counter. “When you get a second, hon, I’m gonna need a lotta  coffee–black. Oh, and all the coconut cream pie you got.”

She nodded, and he turned back to me. “Okay, how about you start at the beginning.”

That’s it for me this week, but please be sure to check out Jessica and Kris‘ stories.

Promptly Penned: The First Line

Promptly Penned

Prompt:

Use the first line of a nursery rhyme as the first line of a dark narrative.

Side note before I begin this prompt. I was researching nursery rhymes and realized that most of them are plenty dark on their own without my help. Like Goosey, Goosey Gander is apparently about killing Catholic priests who were in hiding when they refused to convert, at Henry VIII’s insistence, to the Church of England.  Also, I recognized a vast majority of the nursery rhymes (including Goosey, Goosey Gander) from my own childhood. And my mom wonders why my short fiction tends to be on the darker side. Gee, mom…I can’t imagine why. I wonder why on earth that would be. *gives her the side-eye*

Okay, so here’s the story. (You’re welcome, mom.)

“Ride a cock-horse to Banbury Cross,”

The sounds of children’s voices echoed through the valley–high and sweet, lilting through the chilly autumn air. Girls and boys rose from their beds or left their evening chores, shambling dazedly out into the dusty road, and turned toward the emerald green hill rising in the distance. They dragged hobbyhorses and poppets behind them as their song carried hauntingly across the land.

“To see a fine lady upon a white horse.”

The children plodded forward, eyes fixed unseeingly on some the middle distance, unaware or uncaring as their parents called to them, their cries becoming increasingly more desperate. Pitious. Attempts to tug or carry the young back into the houses failed. Even the smallest of the small were able to pull free of their parents’ frenzied grasp. They stood watching, shivering in the cold, their breath puffs of steam. The children didn’t shiver. Nor did their breath cloud the air.

“With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes,”

Every house in the village stood empty of children, save those too young to climb from their cradles. But they sang their own mournful song, longing to join their sisters and brothers as they marched onward toward the green hill in the distance. The hill they’d been warned away from time and time again. The hill where none of the village folk would tread. The hill, it was whispered, would swallow a person whole. Perhaps none in recent memory, but it had happened, and so the warning remained.

“She shall have music wherever she goes.”

Parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles followed behind, weeping  and helpless beneath the purple dusk that crept across the sky. At the head of the procession, I looked back at my new charges from atop my snow colored steed and smiled. Turning in my saddle, accompanied by the delicate jingling of bells, I led the children forward as twilight cloaked the land drawn toward the hill by the scent of sweetmeats and warm puddings, fruits and ale cakes.

Whispering the spell to lift the glamour, the side of the hill opened, spilling golden light on the ground, forming a pathway to lead the children forward.  Raucous music drifted out into the gloaming, the rhythm twining around the procession and urging it closer. As the music took hold, the lethargy that had claimed the children lifted and they began to dance as they made their way into realm beneath the hill, heedless of the cries of their parents. Centuries have passed since we’ve had fresh blood.

Be sure you check out the other bloggers’ stories. Deelylah and Jessica.

The List (yeah, that one)

First off, before I jump into the post, I want to introduce you to our newest and final member of our blogging team: Deelylah Mullin. She’s an author, editor, and all around nifty person. I think you’ll like her, too!

Now, on to the post.

Remember that episode of Friends where they all had a “freebie” list of five celebrities they could sleep with without it being considered cheating by their significant others? Welp, we decided to make our own lists.

As it turns out, this is harder than I would have expected. I mean, there are metric fuckton of attractive humans out there. Well, attractive and talented. And intelligent. There’s something about that combo that just works for me. Add in funny, and it’s all over.

Now, these are in no particular order, because unlike some people, *gives Jess Jarman the side-eye* I don’t play favorites.

Aidan Turner

8c90cd0cda964097751aafb99965b999

Colin Morgan

Eoin Macken

Hugh Dancy

 

Nope. I don’t have a type. I have no idea what you people  are talking about. Seriously. Move along. Off with you. Go see who the  other bloggers fancy.

Torrance

Paige

Jessica

Deelylah

Jess

Gwen

 

Post Navigation