Monday, May 23, 2011

Self-Published Fiction Book Award Contest

The grand prize is $500, second $100, and there is also an honorable mention. Click on over for the rules. Entries must be postmarked by November 30, 2011.

The contest is open to all fiction books (self) published or revised and reprinted in 2005 through 2011. They are accepting printed and bound books to which the author owns all rights, and judging primarily on content and writing quality. No handwritten books are accepted.

For all the details and fine print, please click on over to the Creative Arts Council's website.  
Good luck to all the entrants!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Facebook Faux Pas

"Uuuuuuuhhhhhh," she groaned in a six-syllable southern accent that almost ended in a whine.

Don't you hate when you say or do something stupid, usually without thinking, and surely without realizing that what you're saying or doing just ain't right?

Image courtesy of 1001
Today I read something on Facebook that triggered a knee-jerk reaction and I reposted it. An hour or so later, to my chagrin, I reread it and realized that at the end of said post was a line that went something like:

"Let's see who has the guts to repost this. Only 1% will."

Ya think?

Maybe because everyone else READ the whole damn thing and refrained from taunting the rest of us. Or is that leering?

Thank you to Theresa Brown Milstein who slapped me back to sanity. Very gently, I must add. It was really more of a nudge.

Okay, so I'm part of that 1%. I am almost ashamed. But not. Because it makes several points:

  1. It is decidedly better to look before you leap;
  2. It's always wise to read the whole thing before making a decision to act;
  3. There's a reason we're taught to reread, reread, reread;
  4. There is a very good reason we must be diligent in editing;
  5. There is always someone willing to jump on your bandwagon;
  6. There is usually someone around to point out your uh-oh's;
  7. If you're lucky that person will be a gentle soul;
  8. The longer you leave a boo-boo uncorrected, the more likely others will find it;
  9. It's cleansing to snitch on yourself once in awhile; and
  10. When all else fails, hit the delete key.
So. Rather than a rant about how Uncle Sam takes care of everyone but its own, I'll share something I read this afternoon mere moments before discovering the faux pas.

"Just for today I will be agreeable. I will look as well as I can, dress becomingly, keep my voice low, be courteous, criticize not one bit. I won't find fault with anything, nor try to improve or regulate anybody but myself." ~ borrowed from Al-Anon Family Groups pamphlet, JUST FOR TODAY
And, yeah, that includes the U.S., old flames and moi.

Happy Friday Y'all, Olivia J. Herrell
P.S. Don't do nuthin' I wouldn't do!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Hooty Hoo, Writing Breakthrough!

Just poking my nose in to say Yeeehaaaa!

Tonight I read through all that I had written so far on this new novel. It needs a name. It's no longer really 'my new novel'. I have, after all, been writing it for, umm, too long for it to still be termed 'new'.

But, I spent hours tonight reading, editing, honing, agonizing the perfect brew for this story.

And added about 400 words. So, HEY, I DID IT, WORLD! I sat down and wrote.

Quickly before I go, because it is, after all, 1:00 a.m.:
  • I've settled in to my one-bedroom house.
  • I have a big 'ol yard with a small forest around me, in the middle of downtown (old town) Villa Rica.
  • Bugsy lo-o-o-o-v-e-s his new home and gets to hang out in my chair on the porch all day.
  • He no longer has a litter box indoors. Woohoo.
  • I now have a bed, a chest of drawers, a sofa, a table, and more stuff coming.
  • I still need a washer and dryer.
  • I'm 6/10 of a mile from my office.
  • The train track runs through town, about 200 yards from my home, though it's two streets, a couple of houses and a forest away.
  • My landlord just okayed a garden in the front yard and my cousin will be here to till it tomorrow.
  • He's also okayed a patio out back, with tiles that were already here.
  • I've met the neighbors in all three of the 'across the street' houses.
  • I found a writing chair, with ottoman for $20 and a seascape for another $40.
  • I made and now sit in the 'writing alcove' in my bedroom. (Oh wait, my writing alcove is my bedroom!)
  • Bugsy is curled up beside me on his throw on the ottoman, which I'm using (for now) as an end table.
  • He has been asleep for hours, though I keep petting him to make him purr.
  • That should be a hint, though, dontcha think?
  • It's time for bed.
Well. It's raining. I'm happy. I'm writing again. Calvin's still coming to Atlanta. My business is growing. Life is good.

Thank you. Thank you very much.

Night y'all, Olivia J. Herrell

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Happy Death Day, Daddy

Cinco de Mayo. You do know this is an American holiday, right? And has nothing to do with Mexican Independence?

Well, good.

Thirty-four years ago today my daddy died, two weeks after he turned forty-nine. The death certificate said myocardial infarction. But I knew he died of a broken heart.

He’d seen much, including the Pacific from an aircraft carrier in WWII when he was barely shaving. Did a tour in Korea, then back to the states. My daddy gave up much, got a lot, drank a lot, lost it all. My mama. Us kids. Our respect and love.

Twenty years later, six years sober in AA, I came to understand. And to forgive. To be sorry for my part in the demise of our relationship.

To regain my love for him.

It took me all those years to remember the man who had adored me as a child, lifted me to his lap to watch TV, taught me how to ride a bike and drive a ’68 stick-shift Beetle.

How could an intelligent young woman spend so many years not remembering the man who let her sit in front of him and drive the beat-up old tractor he doted on, showed her how to husk corn and tell if a bean was ripe? Who painstakingly repeated the name of every widget and tool in his impressive collection, no matter how many times I asked? (How else do you think I scored 98 percent on the ASVAB?)

It took me another five years to mourn losing my daddy, not just once, but three times. It was 2001, the towers were smoldering, and so was I.

I wrote it out, my hurt and pain. Somewhere those pages must still exist. I wailed and cried for the six year-old who lost her hero to alcohol. Then I sobbed as I grieved for the drunken, drug-addicted twenty-year-old who declared she was glad that asshole was dead and dulled the pain at his passing in her own bottle.

Finally, I mourned for the years lost, hating the one parent who actually got me. He was the one who accepted me as I was, encouraged me, praised me. The one who almost busted a gut he was so proud at my high school graduation. He missed my college graduation in '81. He died in '77. He was there for my doctorate in '98, tucked safely in the pocket of my dress under my robe. By my heart.

The two most thoughtful gifts I've ever receieved were from him: a hot-pink Samsonite suitcase with my initials on the latches and an enormous, Unabridged Webster’s dictionary.

Did that man know me or what? Seems he knew I'd turn out to be a vagabond writer.

So, for my Daddy, thirty-four years gone, I dedicate this song, his favorite, and this video of Audrey Hepburn singing Moon River. Keep watching at the end of the song, the videographer delivers a treat: clips of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, from beginning to (almost) end.

I love you, Daddy. I see you and feel you here in Villa Rica, home of your piney woods. And I'm thinking of you on this blackberry winter night.

Happy Cinco de Mayo.

~ Olivia J. Herrell

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Z is for...


And that concludes the A to Z Blogging Challenge (which actually ended three days ago).

Did I peter out? Yes. Yes I did.

But I blogged fifteen of the thirty days. Not totally shabby on my part. I made it around to meet a tiny fraction of the other 999 bloggers. This WAS shabby. I still have many others to visit.


~ Olivia J. Herrell

BTW, I'm in the process of setting up yet another blog/website, this one for my day job. If you're interested check it out: Chiropractic and Natural Healing
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