Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Skirt Power: I don't sweat, I sparkle

If you’ve thought about running a Disney race you’ve probably seen at least a bajillion pictures of people running in costume. They’re everywhere. Costumes are encouraged at these race (so long as they do not cover the face – for safety reasons).

Here's some totes adorb ideas from a running blog I love called According to Kelly:

Rapunzel (One of my favorites)

And the crew from Peter Pan (<3 gotta love tink)

Love these!! Check out more costume ideas on the blog According to Kelly.

Personally, the costumes took me by surprise at my first runDisney event in 2012 (my first full Marathon). I’d run several half’s and my hubby and I wanted our first FULL 26.2 to be fun, flat, and magical. The WDW Marathon was a perfect fit. And having grown up loving all things Disney (and having been to the park numerous times since I was a wee little kid) I was sure I knew what to expect.

I knew the parks would be magical to run through. I knew it would be like a bit of a peek behind the scenes. I knew the staff, volunteers, and character entertainment would be top notch (because, um Disney sets the bar pretty darn high). And I was sure the athletes running the race would be a mixture of serious, committed athletes and average, dream-big beginning athletes (like myself).

I never imagined so many athletes would be wearing costumes. From the serious to the average, costumes were donned by so many runners it was hard to keep track. You get your fair share of Disney Princesses but you also get Disney Villains, Pixar stars, and random superheroes.

The costumes that stood out the most to me were the ones that sparkled. Specifically, the skirts that sparkled. They were gorgeous, not just the glittery material used, but because of what they represented: women who worked hard but looked adorable doing it. Not it the perfect-hair and way that we expect of hard working women in the corporate world. These women were sporty, athletic, but having fun. Who knew a skirt could put a smile on your face?

The founders of the company have a pretty cool story: Get the deets on the Sparkle Athletic founders here.

Sparkle skirts were everywhere at Disney. So when I came back the next year to run the Goofy challenge (Half on Sat, Full on Sun – oh, and we decided to do the 5k on Fri too, why not?) I had to get my very own Sparkle skirt. Here’s a pre-race pic. As you can see, I’m ready to take on the day.

So when we decided to run the Dopey challenge I knew two things:

1. We would wear costumes

2. Mine would sparkle

If you follow me on Twitter you might have seen me post these:

Sketches of my Disney Princess costume ideas.

My hubby and I decided to do couples costumes for the 5k, 10k, and Half. (He, wisely declined to wear a costume for the full. I might be crazy!)

Obviously this will be a huge undertaking. Did I mention I am not crafty? But where there is a will there's a way. As the costumes come together I’ll include updates.

Do you have a Sparkle skirt, or any piece of clothing that makes you feel awesome/invincible/courageous/daring/inspired/vibrant? If so, share your story here:

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Exciting News About Aimee L Salter's Every Ugly Word

Did you hear? Aimee L Salter's book, Breakable, has been acquired by ALLOY, the new imprint that's part of Amazon Publishing’s Powered by Amazon program. I read it last year and it grabbed you from the first page. Breakable has been edited, redesigned, and repackaged in preparation for the re-release.

Here's the new title and cover:

Isn't it awesome? Every Ugly Word will be one of the first of three titles released under the newly launched imprint today!

Here's the blurb:

Every Ugly Word follows 17 year old Ashley who is relentlessly bullied at her high school and by her own mother, and his helplessly in love with her best friend, Matt, who is bullied by his father.

She seeks help by looking to her future self, “Older Me” who supports her through it all and teaches her to love herself. But is she really seeking “Older Me” or is she looking within herself for the answers?

When Ashley looks in the mirror she can see and talk to her future self. “Older Me” has been her support system through her relentless tormentor’s bullying, her unstable mother at home, and her forlorn love for her longtime best friend. But when Ashley discovers “Older Me’s” betrayal, she is targeted in the worst way and impends her last chance with Matt. She’s done with hearing every ugly word.

Buy it on Amazon

About the Author

Aimee L. Salter writes novels for teens and the occasional adult who, like herself, is still in touch with their inner-high schooler. She never stopped appreciating those moments in the dark when you say what you're really thinking. And she'll always ask you about the things you wish she wouldn't ask you about.

Visit Aimee’s Website |Like Aimee on Facebook |Follow Aimee on Twitter

About Alloy Entertainment
Alloy Entertainment, a division of the Warner Bros. Television Group, develops and produces original novels, television series and feature films. More than 75 of AE’s books have been on The New York Times bestseller list, including The Vampire Diaries, Pretty Little Liars, Gossip Girl, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, The Luxe, Veronica Mars: The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line, and The 100. AE has successfully adapted several of its properties into hit television shows for broadcast across multiple networks, including The CW, ABC, ABC Family and Nickelodeon. Current Alloy Entertainment television series include Pretty Little Liars, The Vampire Diaries, The Originals and The 100. AE feature films include Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 1 & 2, Sex Drive and The Clique, with several additional projects currently in development including Sisterhood Everlasting, The Merciless and The Brokenhearted.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

All Aboard the #RWA14 train

Today I leave for #RWA14. You may remember that I attended RWA13 last year and had a blast. I'm at it again this year and ready to learn.

I have a pitch appointment and plan to attend several amazing lectures on craft. If you are also attending, I hope to see you there.

Follow me on Twitter for real time updates.

I'll recap the highlights upon my return.

See you soon.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

My Second Blogaversary *fire glitter cannons*

Another year another blogaversery.

It’s been two years since I began my humble blog journey. So, like last year, I’m going to celebrate with a little blog stats (in case you couldn’t tell, I love stats). So here we go:

Number of blog posts this year: 95
Top five most popular posts this year (in order):

1. Literary vs Commercial Fiction 113 hits

2. Learning to Log Line (by lurking around the internet)110 hits

3. 8 Literary Agents You Should Be Following in 201483 hits

4. Supporting Small Business aka Your Favorite Author54 hits

5. Being Professional Means Being Thankful42 hits

I accomplished several of my blogging goals:
1. Write regularly
2. Create a resource list that I – and other writers – could use on this wild ride
3. Participate more fully in the writing community.

Note: you may remember earlier this year I set some huge blog goals and later had to make adjustments. Yeah, well, I’m loving the new, more realistic goals, and am still very pleased with how everything is going. I rarely have days when I write more words for blog posts than my WIP which makes me happy.

All in all, I’ve really enjoyed this last year. I think blogging has made me accountable and more committed to my goals. All of the work and discipline over the last year has made me a better writer.

So happy blogaversary everyone who's enjoyed this blog over the last two years. To celebrate I’ve collected hot boy gifs for your enjoyment.

Chris Pine, because he’s mighty fine:

Jax Teller, because he's a bad boy with honor:

Longmire, because rural justice packs a punch:

Iron man, because who doesn’t want brains and beauty:

And my classic crush, Mr. Thornton of North and South, because of this moment:

Stay tuned this week for #RWA14 tweets (follow me on twitter).
You might also like:
My year in review: 2012
2013 Year in Review - and other observations from a caffeinated introvert
5 reasons to attend a writers conference
RWA13 recap

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Rom Coms - more than just a pretty face

It’s no secret around here that I love Rom Com’s. I’m practically as obsessed as Mindy Lahiri from The Mindy Project.

And since I fancy myself a storyteller I thought I’d spend some time breaking down two important story elements in a Rom Com I love. Two very essential plot elements in any good Rom are - the incomplete hero and the third act twist. Now, you may know these two elements by a different name so I’ll spell it out.

The incomplete hero is essential in any love story and is, simply, when the hero is missing something necessary. Now, keep in mind that Rom’s have two technical heroes: the Hero (man) and the heroine (woman). Often you will see this abbreviated as H/h. Anyway, in a Rom both H and h are missing something – they are incomplete. And together, they are complete. Oh yes, exactly like crazy-eyes-Tom-Cruise said.

I can't be the only one who thinks he looks crazy here. Right? No? Oh, okay.

The third act twist
probably has some fancy name in the Rom genre but I just don’t know it. It’s essentially a pinch point at the end of Act II marking the beginning of Act III where the couple faces their greatest challenge and are, usually, forced apart. Each member of the relationship will have to do something to overcome the situation in order to be together again.

So, before we get two far into the weeds, let me illustrate how these two elements play an important role in one of my fave Rom Com’s, Two Week’s Notice, starring Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant:

Warning - spoilers (if you haven't seen it yet, get on it!)

This is an adorable story about an attorney who hates big-business but lands a job working for big-business and falls in love with the big-wig boss. It’s a bit of millionaire-playboy-meets-enemies-to-lovers. Their story is improbable at best. And that’s part of why it works so well. In this story, both the H (played by Hugh Grant) and the h (played by Sandra Bullock) are incomplete. Hugh’s character, George Wade, is a playboy. We see him listless and unhappy in his current existence. He has everything he wants but he’s not fulfilled. He needs something more but doesn’t really articulate that. But we do know that his boss tells him that he must hire a new, competent, attorney ASAP. Sandra’s character, Lucy Kelson, is incomplete as well. She’s a brilliant lawyer but she can’t seem to win any cases. All her pleas and protests to save local landmarks are failing.

Can you see where this is going? On the highest, most basic level, each has something that the other needs. Lucy plays an attorney. George needs an attorney. Lucy needs access to funding to ensure social justice in her community. George runs a multimillion dollar business and agrees to let Lucy manage their pro-bono charity efforts. Each character provides something for the other character.

But they still hate each other. At least at first. So it’s not like they fall into insta-love just because she’s an attorney and he’s rich/powerful. They have to learn to respect each other’s differences.

I just love the setup here.

But the setup is not enough. Once the couple learns to respect each and maybe even falls for each other they must be tested. And that’s where the third act twist comes in. In Two Weeks Notice the third act twist is a little muddy for me. I think it’s probably when Lucy learns that George went back on his promise to her and agreed to demolish her cherished community center. But that’s not the worst of it. When Lucy decides to go back and talk things through with her boss she finds him in his underwear playing strip-chess with the new attorney.

Now, Lucy is done, she leaves and takes a new job at legal aid. How the two characters work through this big issue is what makes for a satisfying ending. Will he overcome his shortcomings? Will she?

The third act twist has to be meaningful enough to one or both of the characters that we feel the pain – otherwise the crisis won’t seem legit.

When I think about these two very important story elements I see them, not just in my fave movies, but in a lot of my favorite YA or NA Contemp Rom’s. Do you enjoy these elements of Rom Com’s?

Do you see theses story elements playing out in your favorite novels?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Training for Dopey Challenge

Back in April I posted a little bit about my goal of running the Dopey Challenge in 2015. For those who don’t know, the Dopey Challenge is part of Walt Disney Word’s Marathon weekend. In the Dopey, one person signs up for and completes 4 races over 4 days: 5k on Thursday, 10k on Friday, Half Marathon on Saturday, and a Full Marathon on Sunday. It’s 48.6 miles over 4 days and it’s not till January.

But training starts this month. I’m following the standard run/walk training plan for the Dopey (you can find it here on the WDW Marathon website). It basically involves running 3-4 days a week which I'm really excited/nervous about.

I can't wait to run down main street again. Such a magical race.

Here’s a pic of my new shoes.

Shiny, right?

At the end of training I’m sure these shoes will be wrecked. If they even last that long. Chances are high that I will be buying another pair before race day.

I’m telling you about my training for two reasons:

First, to warn you:

But also to keep myself accountable (just like I do with my writing and word count).

Are there any fellow #runDisney fans out there? Share your runDisney or other running goals here.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

I Can Haz Productivity: June 2014 Month in Review

I cannot believe it is July. What the what? Even though I feel like I’m desperately out of step with my goals (I am making adjustments to get back in line) I’m happy that June is done. For one main reason – the dreaded test from hades is done. See here where I decided to celebrate the small things.

We were also fortunate enough to sneak away for a vacation with Handsome Jack’s family. I love them and now that only my BIL lives in GA I see them less and less. We spent a week on the beach in Florida and it was nice. We even went for a run on the beach, which was not nice, but we ran while on vacation so, yay! Here's a pic of a cute stray cat we befriended on the beach.

Now that the test is done I no longer have class three days a week. Which means I have more time to write. I didn’t get much writing in during the vacay (but that was okay). Since getting home I’ve been a little writing bee. Words in the morning, words in the evening, words at supper time. When words are on a bagel you can have words anytime….I mean….

Maybe I’m a tad bit hungry. What I meant to say was this month saw more words than last month (which is always nice). And overall, I was so much less stressed out (the beach might have had something to do with that).

(Check out my calendar. Toothless approved the use of this image)

But enough yammering about the month. Let’s take a look at the stats:

0 Novels read for fun

1 Beta for a CP

1 major-soul-destroying-test from hades

1 out of town Vacay

2 movies watched in theaters (x-men and HTTYD2 – both excellent)

0 races (but several gym workouts)

And words, not many words but I don't want to lose sight of the fact that any words are better than no words *does happy dance * For a grand total of 11,799 words. This brings my total ‘tracked’ word count to 46,479 for the year! Things are starting to get back on track and that feels good.

And as for miles ran, I am happy to report, 17.2 miles logged. Which brings my total ‘tracked’ mileage to 79.6 miles this year. I’m happy to be falling in love with running again.

All in all, it’s not a bad month. Looking forward to making further strides in my draft next month. #NeverGiveUp #NeverSurrender

How are your writing goals coming along?
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