The Making of a Minion
I like making hats. I crochet as a hobby...and I've figured out how to make some fun things. Now, I can't read a pattern for anything. I wouldn't know where to begin. Perhaps it's my lack of patience. Perhaps it feels tedious. I admire people who can follow patterns and make beautiful things! For me though, it's just something I like to do. I like to crochet silly things to make people smile.
Like most knotty girls, I have a collection of yarn. We recently moved, and I gave quite a bit away to rehab places who could use it. But I kept some that I liked. I was going through it the other day and found...MINION yellow!
My kids are taken with the Despicable Me stories. So making a minion hat was the perfect idea!
As he took shape, the kids started to smile. At the stage above, I think they caught the vision. I added a gray braid to look like goggles. A black strap. And trimmed him in blue like the overalls. The finished result?
Okay, he's far from perfect. I see all the flaws. But my kids are enamored. My oldest slept with this hat last night. So, it did as I had hoped. Made people smile. Made my kids smile. And that's totally worth the hours of stitchery.
And I know this post had nothing to do with writing...but I couldn't resist. I love those minions!!
Last night, I shared one of my very favorite musicals with my middle child--Into the Woods. I've done the show several times, and I have many reasons it's a favorite, but I'm going to save that for another day. It did inspire me to begin a series of blogs on some of my favorite movies, books, musicals, etc. And so thus begins the series with...
I've been familiar with the Peter Pan story from early on. Of course, I saw the Disney version as a kid. I had the book that I often read along with its corresponding record (yes, RECORD) that played on my tan Fisher-Price player. Oh, how I loved that device! But I loved imagining soaring over the rooftops of London and through the stars with Peter, Wendy, Michael, and John even more.
Somewhere along the line, Cathy Rigby revived the musical role made famous by Mary Martin. They showed it on network television, and I was transfixed. People....flying onstage! What kind of magic was this?!
And then, when I was in middle school, Hook came out. Hands down, one of my favorite movies of all time. I saw it in the theater a countless number of times. I love the colors, the costumes, the storyline. And Toodles yearning for his lost marbles stole my heart. I think Dustin Hoffman played a phenomenal and somewhat loveable Hook...
...compared to Jason Isaacs, of course, who made Hook super mean! That's what he's good at, though, and admit it---we all love him for it. I stumbled upon Peter Pan with Jeremy Sumpter quite by accident. Never saw it on the big screen...regretfully. I like this version as well.
And of course, there's Finding Neverland, which brings out quite a bit of emotion. But definitely worth seeing.
When I worked at Disneyland, I was fortunate enough to assist with the Fantasmic! production. In the middle, the Columbia sails the river, laden with pirates. Peter Pan and Hook duke it out among the rigging. I got to ride the Columbia a time or two during the performances. What a trip! "Oh, Mr. Crocodile...do you like codfish?"
Sad to say, I've never really read the book! I've started it several times, but became distracted. It's waiting for me on my Kindle, and I'll get around to it someday. But J.M. Barrie, thank you for the amazing, iconic characters you created. And some of the most memorable lines.
_"Dark and sinister man, have at thee!"
_He gave us Neverland and taught us to believe in fairies. What a brilliant legacy.
When I worked for Club Disney, I had the cutest couple working for me. They were on the countdown to their marriage, and they celebrated their negaversaries...their six-month negaversary, four, three...
You get the point.
But I wanted to share with you my contestiversary! One year ago, July 15th, this lovely thing happened to me:
Click here. (You can click. It's a perfectly safe website. I promise. And I admire your wisdom and discernment when it comes to internet safety!)
I was fortunate enough to record a video blurb with the publisher about this winning.
So I won't bore you by recapping all the details of that morning. But it was exciting and wonderful, and it led to me holding one of the most beautiful things in all the world (aside from my kids!)--my book!
If you haven't read Asylum, you can check it out by clicking the link. It's available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Parable, CBD, and other fine retailers.
And I'd love to know what you think. Reviews help authors to grow stronger in their writing!
A Bit of Reflection
Several years ago, I completed a manuscript for NaNoWriMo. Of course, it was in my series. I titled it Catoptrica. I'd learned the word "catoptrics" and was totally fascinated with it. My story had a mirror component to it, so it seemed logical to use that.
As I started rebranding the series, I decided to change my titles to everyday words people know and use. But I couldn't let go of Catoptrica. It has such a cool sound to it. Go ahead. Say it out loud.
Yeah, not exactly an everyday word.
Well, yesterday, I was commenting on something, and I used the word "shattered." And it struck me...
That's what the title should be!
So here is my official announcement to let the world know...Catoptrica is is hereby titled Shattered. You can read more about it by following the link, but it's the story of Seraph Clairet and Echo Criswell, whom you might have met in Asylum (if you've read it, of course.) I love the characters in this particular book, and I look forward to eventually sharing them with you.
Man of -- Meh
All right...I'm a little behind the times, but I finally got to see Man of Steel tonight. As a whole, I guess you could say I enjoyed it. Good cast. But I did have some "issues" with the movie.
I think the movie was really hyped up by Superman/comics fans. And that's wonderful. I'm so glad you guys enjoyed it. But I grew up in the 80s--not reading comics other than Archie--and Christopher Reeve was my Superman. As much as I like Henry Cavill (He'll always be my Charles Brandon. Don't know who that is? Look it up. Important history!), I have to say I prefer the Christopher Reeve canon. And I really didn't expect to feel that way.
By the time the movie was over, I was so thankful I wouldn't have to see any more stuff get blown up. My goodness! They covered ever disaster we've had in this country in the last 12 years--aircrafts smashing into buildings, tornadoes, etc. I was a little over the pyrotechnics before the prologue was even finished!
I didn't care for the Krypton scenes at all. Reminded me a lot of The Chronicles of Riddick (and I enjoyed that...) My idea of Krypton was a more ethereal, enlightened world. This Krypton was cold and technology-driven. I did think Zod's ships were pretty cool.
I had trouble finding any empathy/sympathy for the characters. We were slammed into the story so quickly, it was hard to pick up any relatable things about any of the characters. Lois Lane was...blah. I like Amy Adams as an actress, but there was nothing to grasp onto as Lois. I missed that charming "love" story between her and pathetic, nerdy Clark at the Planet. (SPOILER) When Superman finally kissed Lois in this newer version, it seemed like it was more out of relief rather than out of any kind of love developing between them.
So, yeah...don't think I'll be looking for this one on DVD. I'll stick with the cheapo 4-DVD value pack of Christopher Reeve and be happy. And I might sneak in a viewing of Superman Returns. That wasn't too bad, either.
Oh...one other funny thing. I recognized Tahmoh Penikett as one of the minor characters (shout out to BSG fans!) In my book Fusion, I "cast" him and Henry Cavill as two brother
You know how some people take stuffed animals or their favorite rubber ducky on vacation with them, just to record their adventure with silly photos?
Well, last night, I did that with my book. I took a copy of Asylum out on a dinner adventure to my favorite restaurant in Colorado Springs. Appropriate because Fargo's has long been a family favorite, and we have celebrated many occasions there, including my wedding rehearsal dinner, my dad's memorial lunch, and most recently my book release party.
Enjoy these photos. As the summer journeys continue, there will probably be more!
In Praise of Literary Agents
This morning, I started thinking about the queries I have out there to various agents (and no, this post is not meant as a kiss-up to those agents should they peruse my site!). I asked myself, "Why do you want an agent?" In a world of self-publishing, e-publishing, and other amazing options, there's been a lot of talk about whether agents are really necessary.
My goal is to go the traditional publishing route. I realize that's a HUGE dream that has a very real chance of never happening. There's so much talent out there. So many fantastic authors... I'm honored to even be thinking about joining their ranks! But that saying is stuck in the back of my head..."Go big, or go home." I'm still going to shoot for those stars.
With my goal in mind, I believe an agent is a must. The way I see it, an agent is an intercessor. Someone who believes in me and my writing and is willing to try to sell it to the world. A friend. A companion to walk with me across the rough road of publishing. A cheerleader. And a dose of reality.
After giving this some thought, I hopped online to check my email and social media. I stumbled across this great article. A tribute to a literary agent. Click here. My favorite quote: "Creative people need champions who are not related to them."
I'm looking forward to my relationship with my future agent. No clue who that is at this point, of course, but I'm confident I'll be matched with the right one. Until then, I keep writing. Keep querying. And keep hoping for the best.
If you have an agent, what's your favorite thing about them?
At the Chapel
When I worked at Disneyland, I purchased a VHS tape--a tour through the Magic Kingdom. I cannot tell you how many times my kids have watched that video. It was intended to be a remembrance of my time at Disney...but instead, it became a sing-along favorite.
One song has Mickey and Minnie singing about making memories. It seemed fitting to use that as my title today. Since we've returned to my hometown, we've been taking in some tourist attractions, mostly to give the kids something to do.
We recently went to the United States Air Force Academy. I've been there many times, of course. I even spent two years up there, doing theatrical productions with some of the cadets. What a fantastic place! I'm obsessed with the chapel. It's such a unique structure and absolutely marvelous inside. The colors are breathtaking, and there is a magnificent pipe organ.
Today, we visited a farmers' market and walked around Old Colorado City. Again, a place I've been many times...but we had such a great time! We enjoyed samples and got some fresh produce. I even found a mug at a little British shop. I'll include a picture at the bottom of this post. It's absolutely perfect for me.
After walking around, I drove us to a little park in Manitou Springs to let the kids play. We found a stream behind the park. Growing up in the mountains, I got to experience stuff like that...but my kids haven't. So, off came the shoes and socks and in went the feet. They had a marvelous time! And I had soggy kids to put back in the car.
Instead of going home and getting a bath, we got ourselves decked out in swim gear and headed to our apartment complex's pool. A oncoming storm got us out a bit earlier than we had hoped, but we still had a lot of fun.
When the kids are in bed, I always like to ask them what their favorite part of the day was. The answer I get the most? "Being with my family." What a wonderful treasure. I love that answer.
Didn't get much writing done today, but I imagine you can understand why. As much as I love writing, I would surely trade it in for moments like these. They slip away so quickly. I'll take 'em while I can get 'em.
Last night, I took my kids to a parking lot close to our minor league baseball stadium to enjoy a fireworks display. Glamorous, I know. It was crowded and crazy. We had a guy walk by and ask if we would be able to see the fireworks from where we parked. Turns out...we couldn't. Guess he saw three pairs of young, eager, excited eyes and knew what a fool their mama was. But we were able to walk down several spaces to find a choice spot. Not that big of a fool, thank you very much!
Before the pyrotechnics list the sky, I kept thinking, "This was a mistake. It's late at night (WAY past bedtime!), and the traffic afterwards will be a nightmare..." Oh, did I mention my husband and brother were at the game? I had dropped them off earlier so they wouldn't have to deal with parking. Yes, they would need a ride home, and we'd either have to duke it out with hundreds of thousands of cars (perhaps not quite that many...but close) or sit and wait it out.
We sat. And waited. And this foolish mama uncomfortably distracted her children while the dude in the car next to us macked on his girlfriend (child of the 80s here).
All that said, did it turn out to be the mistake I thought?
Not when my three-year-old's face lit up brighter than the bursts of light in the sky. Not when my five-year-old cried out, "Happy birthday, America!" Not when my seven-year-old stepped close to rest his head against my side.
It wasn't a mistake. It was a memory. And it's a good one.
God bless America!
Last night, I received a text from my brother, asking if my family had dinner plans. So I called my husband.
"What are we doing for supper?"
My brother and I grew up in Colorado where we ate DINNER every night. My husband, a Southerner (he claims Texas, but that wasn't until later in his life...), swears that dinner comes at the noon hour, while supper is the evening meal.
For a long time, I mentally shifted gears and called the evening meal supper, just to be able to relate a little easier to my husband. Of course, we lived in that part of the world for a while, so I had no need to discuss dinner plans with my brother. Now we're back in Colorado, living about a mile or two from him, so I'm all over the place - dinner? supper? supper? dinner?
I guess as long as my kids are fed and their little tummies are full before they go to bed, it doesn't matter what we call it. I'm grateful my family is in a place where hunger isn't really an issue. May we always be mindful of those who suffer so, though.
Award-winning sci-fi author * Christ follower, wife, and mom * broadcast content producer. And yes, I am a real duchess. http://amzn.to/2eLTlH3