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Thursday, February 28, 2013 20 comments

An Open Letter to No. 2 Son on his Third Birthday


Our middle boy, No. 2 Son, turned three today… well actually, it was Tuesday, but I hope he doesn’t mind if I’m posting this a couple of days late.

Son, you are the cutest kid – and a most precious gift sent by God to keep your mother and me on the straight and narrow parenthood path.

Is this Cujo? Someone save me!
“Difficult” doesn’t begin to describe how different you are from your elder brother – (which leads me to note that I tremble to see how your fourteen-month-old brother’s personality develops.)
Trust me, your mother and I are happy, nay dare I say, ecstatic that the “terrible twos” are done. Indeed, we’re so excited about the upcoming year, we’ve dubbed it, on your behalf, the “terrific threes.”
(No pressure, Son, just a marketing tip I picked up from a baseball movie where they said if you call it, they will come and no-longer-have-temper-tantrums (or something like that…)

Your ability, however, to drive me nuts at the smash ( hmm, would we say “smash" - maybe too strong a word... I can still read most of my texts) of a hat - or smart phone - only serves to makes your teeth-filled grins, happy emotions and loving hugs all the more special.

Don’t be a hater (you’re only three, and Papa said NO!) but you are so unlike your older brother (the born entertainer/politician) that I’ve often made the joke if you were the eldest, you’d be an only child.

What's up with this shiny - and slow - Disney Transportation System?
Look, I'm obviously no spring chicken – more like a fall fowl – so I’ve also said, again in jest – that I hope you marry young and have kids early so I can be around (and can remember) to tell you “I told you so.”

Yes, Son, you are truly different, but that happened only through the grace of God, and we praise Him for the gift of you each and every night (if this sounds unfamiliar, it’s only because you are either wailing like a banshee or snoring like a drunken sailor.)

Your mother and I are blessed to have the responsibility of being your parents and now that you are three, I can (see the light at the end of the tunnel) start to see how you may want to spread your wings and fly. Sure, your older brother is a social butterfly, but you… you are like a bald eagle: Quiet, strong and aware of all that is going on around you.

I wonder…

Are you going to be an architect because you enjoy building all the towers of yogurt, sour cream and tins of tomatoes you love to construct in the aisles of the grocery store? (After I take my eyes off you for a mere seventeen seconds...)

Are you going to be a wrestler because you are most always in the middle of some melee?

Are you going to be in IT because you love playing with “Mama’s Computer” or “My Sony “Tab-e-wet? (One should note that Papa’s computer is off-limits…. It is not a good thing to see a grown man cry when a child informs him, “I dewete your fiwle, Papa… your fiwle is gone.”)

Whatever you decide, Son, just know your mother, siblings and I had a great time celebrating your birthday at Disneyland –  and my take-away memory will always be of you and I heading toward the exit of Star Tours. Your brother was already in the gift store looking for something Angry Birds-themed and I knelt down beside you.

“It’s getting to be the end of your birthday, Son. Have you had a good time?”

And, as if you had scored the winning goal in the FIFA World Cup, your two little fists shot upward and you screamed, “Yes.”

Our work in Disney was done.

Again, this is only through the grace of God, but our mission and our goal to give you and your brothers the strongest possible foundation that allows you all to grow into strong Christian men, continues.
Happy Birthday, Son – we love you.

(Now, put the tab-e-wet down and step away from the large puddle with those new shoes we just bought you… SPWAASH!!! (er, I mean SPLASH!!!)  ahy yai yai...)

Monday, February 25, 2013 26 comments

W.R.I.T.E @ Honolulu Retreat this December (Update #3)


By now, most Readers know I’m organizing W.R.I.T.E. (Writers’ Retreat Island-Time Escape.)
Originally announced here, the W.R.I.T.E point is to enjoy a FREE* writers’ weekend on Oahu, Hawaii.

(*How I wish I could arrange to bring everyone who wants to come by winning the Lotto here in Hawaii an-
oh, there is no Lotto in Hawaii… Well, if I won $1 million on a scratch ca-
oh, there are no scratch cards either…

OK, I tried… you’re on your own :)

Obviously, you’ll need to pay your way here, find accommodation, a rental car, pay for your own meals, drinks and stuff like that… but the rest – as in locations, I got covered J

As mentioned before, W.R.I.T.E is from Friday, Dec. 6 to Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, which coincides with the 72nd anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor and the 41st Honolulu Marathon.

No. 1 Son reads the names of those added to the USS Arizona Memorial

So, with a budget in the range of a big, fat ZERO, I can’t put on anything fancy, but I do have a rough schedule as promised – it will get better… (and don’t laugh :)

 Friday, Dec. 6, 2013
1 p.m.: Opening Meet and Greet session (Conference Room - Pearl Harbor)

Barbers Point Beach
2 p.m.: Travel to Barbers Point Beach (20 mins)

3 p.m. Guest speaker (TBD – don’t laugh, seriously)

4 p.m. read-and-critique session by the beach (until the sun goes down and we can’t read.)

Sat. Dec. 7, 2013

8 a.m. Breakfast on the bay at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam (JBPHH) (Details to follow…)

9:30 a.m. Travel to meeting room (Pearl Harbor – 10 mins)

10 a.m. – noon Workshop (TBD)

Noon to 1 p.m. Non-hosted lunch at base food court.

Bellows AFS
1:30 p.m. Boat ride/tour to USS Arizona Memorial
3 p.m. Travel to beach at Bellows Air Force Station (20 mins)
3:30 p.m.: Read-and-critique session by the beach (until the sun goes down and we can’t read.)

Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013
6 a.m. to 2 p.m.: IF you’re interested in joining me, I’m running the 41st Honolulu Marathon. (It won’t take me eight hours – maybe seven J  - I’m just blocking the timeframe.

IF you’re not doing the marathon, here’s a provisional schedule:

8 a.m. Breakfast on your own
9 a.m. – 10:30 Workshop TBD (Pearl Harbor meeting room)
10:40 – 12:10 p.m. Workshop TBD (Pearl Harbor meeting room)
12:20 – 2 p.m. Workshop TBD (Pearl Harbor meeting room)
3 p.m. Closing ceremony, non-hosted “early dinner” at Sam Choy’s (beachside) Seafood Restaurant (JBPHH)
The schedule is TENTATIVE, but I plan to lock everything down and add more as I can (i.e. I’m looking for volunteer speakers with related expertise – no “little blue pill” salesmen need apply. J.
The schedule will be updated at least monthly through September and then I will update it weekly.

I’m also going to reserve every Monday for the latest news and updates. (Next Monday, I will fill out some of the TBD slots :)

If you have a question, leave it in the comments – and I will respond via comments – or directly if requested.

PS… one other announcement:

The Linky List for the Got Green 2.’0 BlogFest goes live Friday…

Hope you can join me in celebrating all things Oirish… to be shure J

Wednesday, February 20, 2013 44 comments

Southern California Writers' Conference Recap


Dear Writer, this post is for anyone who’s ever wanted to attend a Writers’ Conference but lacked the finances, time – or the nerve.

This past weekend I attended the 27th Southern California Writers’Conference, and how I wish you could see a picture of the pre-me (I was very small and malnourished) and the post-me (well actually, you can. Here’s a group shot:)
It's Serious Business During a Rogue Read & Critique...

 I arrived at the conference hotel Friday at about noon, but I was all down in the dumps because WIP#1 (a memoir) is finished and edits are well underway, but like that guy in the movie, Wayne's Globe, I suffered from a severe feeling of I'm-not-wordy.
Within several hours though, I was surrounded by hundreds of writers, many of whom had brought books that filled the mobile bookstore in the conference foyer.

Like Russell Crowe in that opening scene of Gladiator, I ambled the long table, my splayed fingers traced the front of the soft paperbacks and felt the sharp corners of the hard covers.
I looked around… these books were written by someone attending this conference. Wow…

Time to network!

Oz Monroe rests while Paul de Lancey talks :)
I arranged a small platoon of trusty business cards in my shirt pocket, and within minutes the first card had been swapped for another writers.
The fun had begun - and it didn’t end - for me - until 4 a.m. Monday morning. (Sleep is so over-rated at SCWC…)
The Read and Critique sessions are one of the main reasons why I attend SCWC... and the "Rogues" (so called because they begin at 9 p.m. and continue sometimes until 6:04 a.m.) are among the best ways I know to get real, honest live feedback from people who know what they're talking about.
All told, I participated in:
My Stash :)

·         Nine workshops

·         Attended a five-agent Q&A panel

·         Spoke with four agents, (none of whom had extra heads, flame-filled nostrils or gargoyle features)

·         Listened to three amazing speakers, Caitlin Rother, David Brin and Andrew E. Kaufman

·         Earned two rounds of applause at “read and critique” sessions

·         Won one award (2013 Southern California Writers’ Conference “Outstanding Memoir” Award.)
SCWC Director, Wes Albers, Me & SCWC Exec. Director, Michael Steven Gregory

Sure, I didn’t walk away with an agent or a publisher offering a bag of swag, but let me tell you… when I heard my name called out among the many at the annual awards ceremony – it was such a validation to know my hard work was recognized – by my peers.

My peers.

Read & Critique Sessions - where an encouraging word is only a seat away!

The same people who, after I begrudgingly read the final chapter of the memoir (I felt it wasn’t “right” but knew I needed the honest feedback) went quiet… before they gave me a round of applause.

My peers.
Letting our hair down - for those that had any :)

 So, Dear Writer, I don’t know where you are in your journey, but I’m right there beside you - and I've got your back if you need it.
Don’t lose the chance to meet some amazing people, build new working relationships and find yourself in a room with someone like Stacey O’Brien, who was rejected so many times she stopped counting - but who also spent two years educating herself by reading nothing but how-to books about writing books.

What’s stopping *you* from attending a Writers’ Conference? (SCWC has two – San Diego in February and Newport Beach in September. Why not plan a year out? Make attending a conference a family vacation – that’s what I do, and it works well for us.)

Seriously, if Caitlin, David, Andrew and Stacey (and the dozens of other authors I met over the weekend) can work hard, perservere, and never give up on their dreams to be a published and respected author – well then, neither will I.
And, more importantly:

Neither. Should. You.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013 16 comments

W.R.I.T.E @ Honolulu Retreat this December (Update #2)


Barbers Point Beach, Oahu, Hawaii, (Dec. 2012)

It’s been a couple of weeks since I announced here that I’m organizing W.R.I.T.E. (Writers’ Retreat Island-Time Escape), which will be a *FREE* writers’ weekend on Oahu, Hawaii.

 As mentioned before, W.R.I.T.E is from Friday, Dec. 6 to Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, which coincides with the 41st Honolulu Marathon.

One official news item this week:

I spent all week preparing and attending the amazing Southern California Writers’Conference, so there isn’t a lot of news re. W.R.I.T.E (geddit?) but the tentative schedule I promised here will go live next Monday.
I also have an awesome announcement about what happened during SCWC, so I hope you can stop back Wednesday :)
There will be several (many:) “TBD” open slots, but at least you’ll have an idea where I’m thinking and what I want to make this event a success J
The schedule will be updated monthly through September and then I will update it weekly.

I’m reserving every Monday for the latest news and updates.

If you have a question, leave it in the comments – and I will respond via comments, so check back within 24 hours – the hammock should have stopping rocking in the trade winds by then (I wish :)

Monday, February 18, 2013 2 comments

She Said What? BlogHop & Writers4Writers Update


As I've just finished an awesome Writers' Conference (and am so pumped up I'm staying away from all sharp objects) I'm pushing my weekly W.R.I.T.E. update 'til tomorrow, 'cos I wanted to give a few shout-outs:

My blogging buddy, the lovely Elise Fallson is co-hosting the She Said What? Bloghop with the lovely-er Michelle Wallace over at Writer in Transit.

(The two friends are celebrating Blogging Birthdays: Michelle is two and Elise is turning the big 01!)

Full details here. This seems a fun event and not something that will balloon up in front of my face – theirs apparently, but not mine :)


Also, just a quick reminder that today and tomorrow is the Writers4Writers event hosted by Stephen Tremp, Mary Pax, C.M. Brown, and Christine Raines.


This month, the spotlight will be on: Gwen Gardner and Melissa Bradley.
The purpose and mission of W4Ws is to:

• Help writers bring awareness of their book(s) to tens of thousands of new people

• Help writers reach Amazon Top 100 in at least one category (i.e., suspense, free, whatever)

• Increase sales of their book(s) after the promo is over

• Drive new traffic to their blog and increase following

• Create verbal and viral buss.

For a review of W4WS check out the W4WS link on Stephen’s blog here. (The Linky Link signup is there, too.)

Friday, February 15, 2013 19 comments

Backspace Writers' Conference: Scholarship Contest


Did anyone notice this recent post by Janet Reid?

And, are you in the NYC area this May?
Courtesy: quemonavaestachica.com

If so, the Backspace Writers’ Conference may be perfect for you, especially as they are offering THREE scholarships via the “This Manuscript HAS to Become a Book!” Scholarship Contest.  This contest could end up with your book being published J
I signed up, so I might see you then, (he wished, while crossing both fingers and big toes.)

Here’s some details taken from the Web site:
“Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous sponsor, Backspace is awarding 3 full scholarships to the 2013 Backspace Writers conference!

Scholarships cover registration fees for the 2013 Backspace Writers Conference and Lane Shefter Bishop’s evening logline workshop ($765 value). Travel, hotel, and incidental expenses are the responsibility of scholarship winners. Please do not enter unless you are in a position to attend the conference.

How the Backspace “This Manuscript HAS to Become a Book!” Scholarship Contest works:
When you’re browsing in a bookstore (and thankfully, we still have those!) typically, after a title catches your eye, you check out the back cover blurb, then crack open the book to read a few pages. Based on that sample, you then decide whether or not to purchase the book.

That’s exactly how the “This Manuscript HAS to Become a Book!” contest will be judged. The entries submitted to this contest aren’t books–yet. But they could be. Some of them SHOULD be. And YOU can help make that happen!

Read the entries posted here. Which book concept and writing style absolutely blows you away? Which do YOU wish was already a published book? Which writer’s project shows such potential that they just HAVE to go to New York to attend the Backspace conference and meet with literary agents in person so they can hopefully-possibly-maybe-eventually get a book deal?

Entry deadline: March 1
Voting: March 5 – March 15

Winners announced: March 17”


Good luck if you enter J

Happy Friday, y'all and remember... the sky is the limit!

Courtesy: Wallpaperpicture.net


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