is Marcy Shuler! Congratulations, Marcy! If you’ll send your address to me at KOBrien@aol.com, and tell me which book in the Bell River series you’d like, I’ll get it sent out to you as soon as possible.
Thanks so much for stopping by to talk about the sweet rides we remember so fondly!
LOL…no, not those facts! But now that I have your attention…
I recently finished the fourth book in my Bell River Ranch series, and the heroine, who is a gifted massage therapist, got me thinking about talent.
Everyone has a talent, thank goodness. But we all also have weak spots…things we’d love to be good at, but just aren’t.
For instance, I can’t sing.
My sweet mother-in-law, a great believer in positive thinking, warned me never to say anything negative like that about myself. But I’m a great believer in facing the truth, and the truth is…wow. I really can’t sing.
This doesn’t make me feel like a failure. It doesn’t even keep me from singing with mad abandon—whenever I’m alone. Not being able to carry a tune is simply the luck of the draw. It’s not even as annoying as some of my other DNA glitches, like fine, straight hair and 20/400 vision.
Besides, I’ve been aware of the singing problem since I was four, because that’s when I met my best friend, Celie. Celie has a beautiful voice. Right away I realized we weren’t hitting the same notes when we sang along to our favorite songs. Hers were the actual melody. Mine were sort of… free-form, impressionistic noise.
Kudos to her for never pointing that out or making me feel crummy about it.
In fact, the first time she ever mentioned the situation was quite by accident, when we were both grown and married with kids. Miraculously, both my children inherited their father’s lovely, accurate voice. One day, when Girlchild was about six, Celie heard her singing a silly Irish song called “Harrigan,” one of our childhood favorites.
“Awww, who taught you that song?” Celie asked fondly.
Girlchild smiled. “My mom.”
“Oh, yeah?” Celie looked perplexed. “But…who taught you the tune?”
And just in case I needed a refresher course in Reality, I got one the other night, right before Halloween. We had an awesome spider ready to hang by the front door. It was sound activated to descend ominously whenever a squealing trick-or-treater arrived. Unfortunately, only a particular high-pitched, horrible shriek could set it off. His Highness and I had thoroughly and hilariously tested that.
For the time being, though, Big Spider lay quietly on the kitchen island every day, watching us while we made sandwiches and took our vitamins. But then…one night, when I came in from my walk with my earbuds still in, still singing merrily along with Fun about how young we are tonight, guess what?
Yep. Big Spider went instantly into action, his fishing line extending with a panicked mechanical creak. He crawled halfway across the island before he ran out of line—and he probably thought that wasn’t nearly far enough!
So, there you go. Case closed. But hey, even if a career in opera is out for me, maybe I can help you get rid of your household pests.
How about you? Is there some talent you wish you had…but simply don’t? Does it bother you?
My author copies of my December Superromance, THE RANCH SHE LEFT BEHIND, have arrived, and I’ll send a free book to one random poster today!
How They Met Themselves, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, watercolor, 1864
Not long ago the Norwegian and I were out for dinner when a complete stranger approached me and asked if I had seen the show Breaking Bad. I hadn’t, but he told me that Anna Gunn, the woman who plays Skyler White on the show, was my doppelgänger.
I looked her up when I got home. I could see a vague resemblance in the photograph. Of course, it piqued my curiosity about the show, especially since it has garnered so many awards. I started watching it and now I joke that I have a serious meth addiction. Really, I don’t. And I know drug addiction is no laughing matter, but the show’s writing is incredible and the acting is superb… But I digress.
They say everyone has a double. I guess mine might be Anna Gunn – sort of. We’re not identical. Our noses are completely different, and once I started watching the show and saw a more dimensional version of the actress, I thought she and I resembled each other less. Sometimes I think mannerisms and certain expressions make people similar even if they don’t look alike. In fact, that’s one of the story lines in my book, Celebration’s Baby, which will be out in April 2014. A secondary character, Maya, lost the love of her life years ago. He died in an accident and she hasn’t been able to love since. Fast forward years later, a man who reminds her of her old love shows up. She can’t decide if she’s attracted to him because he reminds her of her dead lover or if her heart is truly ready to love again.
He’s not exactly a doppelgänger, not in the true sense of the word. Then again, the meaning of the word has changed over the years. In folklore, doppelgängers are perceived as sinister versions of a person – an evil twin. In the old days, when you saw your doppelgänger, it was a harbinger of bad luck or an omen of death.
But, of course, the contemporary meaning of doppelgänger is simply a look-alike. Doppelgängers are a running gag through the sitcom How I Met Your Mother: at one time or another, the characters have spotted uncanny look a likes of each other, except for Barney (Neil Patrick Harris’s character). The absence of his doppelgänger is used as a significant plotline, which I won’t spoil in case you haven’t seen the show and want to.
Who’s your doppelgänger?
Celebration’s Bride is available now!
RT Book Reviews gives Celebration’s Bride 4.5 stars and says, “Thompson’s reality TV show setup rocks the pages with its quirky cast. Her couples’ imperfections make them realistic and alluring….”
Celebration’s Family - February 2014
Celebration’s Baby - April 2014
1) Do you have a favorite word?
2) When you’re asked #1, do you have to stop and ask, “Favorite word, as in how it sounds? Or favorite word, as in how it looks?” For example, “egregious” sounds awesome, but looks gross. “Glimmer” looks gorgeous, but is kind of blah in the ear.
3) Do you have a most-hated word? And can it change from year to year? For instance, I’m in a writing program right now, and the next person who says “trope” to me is taking a big risk.
4) Do you know, and even use, any of the nonsense words, like “brillig” or “snicker-snack,” from “Jabberwocky”?
6) When you come to a grammatically incorrect lyric, do you ever correct it as you sing? I mean, no one corrects “I can’t get no satisfaction,” but what about “I’m not willing to lay down and die, because I am an innocent man”?
8) Do you steal great lines from your favorite movies and use them in your own life? “Frankly, my dear,” you might say when someone points out there are 1,000 calories in that slice of cheesecake, “I don’t give a damn.”
9) Do you ever write down your wishes, as if that gives them reality and power? Do you sometimes refuse to speak your fears out loud? Do you have your own “He-who-must-not-be-named?”
10) Fill in your own Word Freak Truth here. Chances are, if you’re a Word Freak, you probably didn’t have to take this quiz to know it.
So how did you do?
If you answered “Yes” to five out of the ten questions, you’re probably a word-lover, at least.
Six or seven “Yes” answers, and you’re definitely a member of the club!
Eight or more? We’re best friends and just don’t know it yet!
So, come on…share your Number 10 with me!
What quirky thing do you do that proves you belong to this club? I can’t wait to hear!
In January, I read a book called The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. It’s an account of how the author spent one year “test-driving” the theories and practices of happiness. Before starting her research, she’d had an epiphany: “The days are long, but the years are short.” She realized time was passing and she was not focusing enough on the things that really mattered to her.
The book resonated with me. As a writer, life is a constant juggling act. I’m always mindful of striving for balance between family and work. More often than I’d like to admit, life gets out of balance. The result: my family and I get very unhappy.
Enter The Happiness Project.
I loved Gretchen’s method: after analyzing what made her happy, what made her unhappy and what felt “right” and what could be a better fit, she identified twelve areas of her life that needed attention and devoted one month to exploring each in an effort to enrich her life and make her truly happy.
Among practical and profound tips for living a happier and more fulfilled life, the book also made me realize that all my New Year’s resolutions and goals didn’t necessarily have to be tackled at once. Why not break them down, assign them specific months in 2013? Why not look at it as my own personal Happiness Project? It seemed like a good way to make it easier to achieve my goals without feeling overwhelmed Also, I hoped to keep each ball in the air as I add others (after the previous goals had gained traction). As we prepare to enter the last third of 2013, I wanted to review what I’ve done so far and what I have left to tackle in the final third of the year.
Here’s what I’ve been working on:
1. January – Set office hours and guard them
I have definitely been more mindful of “reporting to work.” Because of that, I’ve been more productive this year. I’ve met my Special Edition goals and have been working on some other projects, too.
2. February – Limit social media time to make room for other things in life
This is a struggle for me. I can get *so* caught up in social media – especially FaceBook and Pinterest. I’ve had to really reign myself in. Sometimes I fall off the wagon, but I get right back on. Many of you know I’ve been MIA on FaceBook recently. I will continue to strictly limit my time until after I meet my October 1 deadline.
3. March – Learn to say, “No, thank you”
Another difficult task. However, I’ve started to look at time as currency and I’ve been on a pretty strict “budget.” This, along with maintaining my “office hours” had helped me be more productive.
4. April – Mental declutter: Let go of what weighs me down/doesn’t make me happy
This was one of the best things I’ve done for myself. However, I’m often plagued by “mind squirrels.” I use affirmations to keep the under control.
5. May – Refill the well: dedicate at least one hour once a week to art journaling
As much as I hate to admit it, this one had been hit and miss. I need to focus on it more. See, by revisiting these goals, I’m reminding myself what I need to work on.
6. June – Make more time for reading
This had been going well. I should’ve kept a list, and I think I’ll start. I want to concentrate more on the classics – one of my goals (not on this list, but on my actual list of 2013 goals was to read all of Jane Austen’s works this year. I’ve read three so far… I have some catching up to do. Right after I finish MY LIFE NEXT DOOR by Huntley Fitzpatrick. It’s one of the best books I’ve read all year.
7. July – Physical declutter part 1: tackling my closet
Just in time for RWA! I did go through my closet and try on EVERYTHING. I sent donated fifteen bags of things I no longer needed. Then, of course, I went out and purchased things for the RWA conference. Not fifteen bags worth, but I didn’t feel as guilty adding more to my closet.
8. August – Physical declutter part 2: tackling my office
This had been interesting. I’ve been deep in deadline since returning from the RWA conference. So, I’ve used the Fly Lady’s suggestion of throwing away or donating seven things every day. It’s a slow method, but I can see the progress. This task will probably stretch to the end of the year.
That’s it so far. I still have the following on the list:
9. September – Time to get healthy: yoga, water and vitamins
10. October – Continuing education
11. November – Gratitude
12. December – Take inventory and plan for the new year
I’ll check in toward the end of the year and report on my progress. In the meantime, have you revisited your 2013 goals? Or what would you like to accomplish between now and the end of the year? I have some books that I brought back from the conference to give to a couple of people who post.
Nancy’s book CELEBRATION’S BRIDE is available now. RT Book Reviews gave it a fabulous 4.5 star review, saying ” Thompson rocks the pages with her quirky cast. Her couples’ imperfections make them realistic and alluring….” I hope you’ll enjoy reading the book as much as I enjoyed writing it.