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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Kreativ Blogger Award!

Today I received a very high honor from fellow writer, blogger, and IWW friend Cindy Dwyer: a Kreativ Blogger Award! I truly am honored that Cindy thought of me, and to be in the presence of so many other wonderful, talented writers in the blog-o-sphere.

The Kreativ Blogger award comes with the following rules:
1. You must thank the person who has given you the award.
Did that above, but thank you again, for thinking of me, Cindy!

2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog. (see below)

3. Link the person who has nominated you for the award.

4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting. (see below)
(I have found 2 variations of this - one with 10, one with 7. I'm lazy - I'll go with 7. Being lazy will be one of them.)

5. Nominate 6 other Kreativ Bloggers and post links to the 6 blogs you nominate. (see below)

7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs to let them know they have been nominated.

Here's the Kreativ Blogger award image:

2. I get to nominate 6 other blogs.

1.  I don't know if it's against the rules to give the award to someone who has already received it, but I have to nominate Cindy's because a) she's a gifted writer, and more importantly, b) because her "Six Sentence Sunday" posts always crack me up.

2.  Hanna Goss's blog inspires and motivates me. She always has an uplifting message that blosters my determination to be better.

3.  And you know I can't leave off our Lowcountry Dog Agility's recently launched blog. Each weekly post is written by a different club member, all with varying degrees of experience in agility, from the rank novice (that would be me) to national champions.

4.  While on the agility theme, I have to include Erin Queen's great documentation of her and Jefferson, aka J-Dawg's agility life in Awesome Agility Adventures: Jefferson's Journey.

5.  To give the kitties a fair-shake, and because it's always entertaining, I nominate Julia Dennis's blog, Da Buddies Eclectic.The name alone should make you want to take a look!

6. There are so many fabulous blogs out there it's hard to narrow my lis of nominees down to 6, but I do enjoy reading the reviews and interviews at Underground Book Review and I think you will, too.

Finally, according to the rules, I have to post 7 things about me that you might not know.

1. I'm lazy! I love to work at what I love to work at and would just rather not do much of anything else.
2. I have the best husband EVER. Seriously. Everyone says that, but I do.
3. I have always, always, always wanted to be a writer. Having Marina Melee published made one of my lifelong dreams come true.
4. Achieving my lifelong dream of writing a novel and having it published motivated me to want to write more and better.
5. I love my dog...I mean seriously, like some people love their kids, only more so because I don't have to deal with diaper-changing, parent-teacher conferences, and adolescence.
6. I don't really have 7 interesting things to say about myself.
7. I'm always homesick, except when we're in St. Thomas. We're moving back to the Caribbean when we retire (back for me, there for the first time for Matt).

And now I'm off to leave posts on my nominees blog sites. Thank you again, Cindy, and congratulations to all my fellow nominees!


I'm not a poet. I know that, and will clearly demonstrate it to the world here. But every now and then, I feel the need to dabble in it.


Charge ahead, fiercely. Bravely.
Blinders firmly in place.
Secure and strong
In the conviction of your rightness.

Charge ahead, boldly. Blindly.
Empowered with knowing
Nothing but your own truth.
Facts and figures only interfere.

Charge ahead, rashly. Powerfully.
Do not question. Do not doubt
Your rightness. Your path.
Answers only confound conviction.

Questioning is for the weak.
Seeking answers, for the uncommited.
Believe! Believe what they say.
It's easier to gain momentum that way.

Charge ahead, forcefully. Certain
That opinion is truth. Better even
Than answers that challenge,
That create the obstacle of doubt.

Charge ahead, blindly. Ignorant.
To anything that stands in the way
Of making life easier, simpler.
Life is hard enough without uncertainty.

Charge ahead, fiercely. Bravely.
Into the dark unknown. Armored
In faith, unreinforced by reality
By science. By answers. By truth.

Questioning is for the weak.
Seeking answers, for the uncommited.
Believe! Believe what they say.
It's easier to gain momentum that way.

Monday, January 16, 2012


To tweet or not to tweet, is that the question?

As a writer, I've heard the conventional wisdom, spouted time and again at conferences, in articles and blog posts, and by fellow writers, about the importance of having a presence on the web. Establish your platform.

I first heard the expression "author's platform" in a conference workshop on writing nonfiction book proposals. In that context, it made perfect sense. At the time, I was outlining a supplemental biology text for high school and college use. For that sort of work, credentials are important; they establish credibility. They are a measure of how well the content may be accepted by the target audience because of their awareness, respect, and trust of the author.

Then the phrase "establish your platform" worked its way into the fiction world, right alongside the increasing capabilities and growing use of social media like Facebook, Twitter, and the expanding world of easy-to-use blog sites. Now, everyone can establish a platform to promote themselves and grow a fan-base before achieving anything worthy of having fans for, aside from perhaps, the ability to fire off a pithy, 140 character statement on a regular basis.

In nonfiction, one's platform is based on accomplishments and professional reputation: things that take years to build. In fiction, however, the current wisdom is that a prospective or aspiring writer should establish their platform first, then strive for success. That, to me, is akin to building a nonfiction platform on one's desire to, someday, learn about and achieve success in the field you're writing about. Why actually demonstrate capability and competence? Why actually acquire knowledge, information, and experience, when one can just want to maybe do those things, someday?

Maybe I'm old. Maybe I'm a curmudgeon. Okay, there's no doubt about that--I'm a curmudgeon. Maybe I'm a luddite. For whatever reason, I resist the idea of establishing a platform based on wanting to have a platform. Professionally, as a scientist and trainer with over twenty years working in the field of coastal resource management with NOAA and Sea Grant, having developed a broad network of colleagues, students, and former students who are now professionals with admirable reputations, I feel confident of my credentials and platform. I could not have established a platform in the field of marine and coastal resource management at twenty, when I only aspired to what I've achieved today.

As a novelist, that's exactly where I am. I'm still learning and growing, still aspiring to be accomplished in my new pursuit. My first novel has won me fans beyond family and friends. I write a blog and have a Facebook page to post information and updates, and to promote Marina Melee and talk about my work-in-progress, Chupacabra. I am in the process of establishing a platform. That process, in my mind, should run parallel to actual accomplishment and progress in the field of writing.

I suppose this trend toward establishing a platform based on nothing reflects our culture. Everyone gets a trophy just for showing up. Opinion are valued as much as, if not more than facts, and we've all heard that "perception is reality." Well, the truth is, more often than not, things are misperceived. In that case, they aren't reality, they're wrong. And "reality television" is a place where wannabe stars are famous for being famous, not for actually having star quality, acting ability, or competency in their craft.

I expect more from myself.

Am I shooting myself in the foot as an author by not buying into the idea that one's platform should be having a platform? I don't think so. A platform is something one stands on. It needs substance to support you over the long haul. Building a solid platform can't be rushed if you want it to last. I don't want to be known for being known. I want to be known as a good, or better yet, a great novelist.

I'll build my platform plank-by-plank, out of actual, writer platform materials: solid writing, constant study, growth, and improvement in my craft,  quality publications, and a growing fan-base of an audience that admires and appreciates my work. Will that take more effort than Tweeting a bon mot or two each day? Probably. But I expect my platform--and my work--to have greater longevity than your average Tweet, status update, or blog post, too.

Friday, January 13, 2012

I'm REEEAAAALLLYYY thankful for...

This week, I'm really, really, really thankful for editor Chuck Sambuchino and his blog posts on Guide to Literary Agents...especially his giveaways and contests. "Leave a comment on the blog and you're entered into a random drawing for..." I always leave comments for things I want - and never win.

I was saving up for the big one! Two week's ago, the contest was for tickets to see Alan Rickman on Broadway in Seminar - a play about aspiring novelists.

AND I WON!! I'm so excited I can hardly stand it!


Friday, January 6, 2012

Happy New Year!

It's a new year and I have a whole host of things to be thankful for to get me caught up on my list!

The holidays have come and gone, along with their flurry of activity and controlled chaos. I was a scrooge this year and didn't want to do anything festive or fun. What I really wanted to do was crawl into bed, pull the covers over my head, and sleep through the holiday...and maybe even a good chunk of 2012.

But, as always, the world conspired against me. Somehow, I agreed to host the CMS ladies' ornament exchange--with prompting and support by my hubby, aka "Party Central." As I mentioned in a previous post, I am VERY thankful for Matt every single day. If I could box him  and sell him, I'd be rich. Women would kill to have a husband like him. The main reason the party was such a success was because he decorated, organized, and served as our bartender/waiter/host/photographer and every other role one can imagine. I made the chili.

Despite my best efforts, I enjoyed it. I can definitely add the people I work with at the NOAA Coastal Services Center to my list of things to be thankful for. We have a great group of people, and that's especially true in my branch, Coastal Management Services (CMS).

We were invited to the Dubick's for Christmas dinner, and even at my scroogiest, I couldn't help but look forward to that. JD and Corey are two of my favorite people in the world. I admire everything about them. They're brilliant, funny, kind, and the best parents I know. After we met Marc and Kris way back when I first moved to Charleston, I knew why. The whole Dubick family is that way. Then we met the Hollenbeck's and guess what? They're all that way, too! So, I knew we'd enjoy Christmas dinner with them, and since we missed our Thanksgiving tradition of dinner at the Dubick house this year, Matt and I were both looking forward to it. We weren't disappointed (not that there was any chance of that happening). So, I'll add the Dubicks to my list of things to be thankful for - JD, Corey, Lena, Marc, Chris, Collin, Chelsea, and Ida and Halley (who sadly couldn't be there).

I was on the verge of surviving the holidays. Only one more festive event (or combination of events) to go...New Year's Eve with the Drobnik and Hoops families in Indiana. Matt's cousin Michael got married on New Year's Eve in Indianapolis. We'd foregone Christmas in Chicago knowing we'd see everyone in Indy at the wedding. I was dreading a) the drive up, b) leaving Muggle behind, c) cold weather, d) having to stay awake until midnight on New Year's Eve, and e) the drive back. Just call me Party Girl. Well, with the Virgin Mobile wireless thingy, the drive went by quickly. When I wasn't driving, I was able to do some editing on Chupacabra, complete some critiques I'd fallen behind on for IWW, check email, and play games and before we knew it, 11.5 hours and about 750 miles had flown by. I new Muggle and the cats were going to be just fine with the Jones's---probably even better than at home when the fireworks started since he'd have his Dagan to protect him! The cold did suck, there's no way around that. Especially when it was drizzly, wet cold. I made it all the way to midnight (12:30!!) at the wedding, but the time went by quickly and we had fun. And, even though we got slowed down by some snow and icy roads on the way home, even that drive wasn't bad.

In between all that, we got to spend time with my wonderful in-laws. Something else I am very, very thankful for. I have the most incredible mother-in-law. In her, I see where Matt got all his wonderful, amazing, incredible traits. My father-in-law is fun and funny, and Matt shares many traits with him, as well. Most of those are the ones we laugh about - like his control-freak nature about driving (I drove about 3-4 hours of the entire 11.5 hour trip. That's probably the most Matt's ever allowed me to drive in one day when we're together. He's either getting comfortable with me driving, or he was really tired.) I also have two fabulously funny, thoughtful, sweet, and brilliant brothers-in-law. I don't even have to remember which is who since they're identical twins (but I can usually tell them apart). They both have wives who I get along with--and from the horror stories I've heard, that's something else to be thankful for. And finally, the whole hoarde of nephews and niece. They're so much fun, and all good kids. Now that Ryan and Tyler are teenagers, they have their own lives, but are still always pleasant and polite, if a bit too connected to their phones (just like the nieces on my side - we should get them together!) Kyle is growing up and calming down. He's pretty funny. Jake and Dillon might be my favorites. They're both such little men, very mature and both sweet as can be. And I love, love, love Carrie and Justin. The "babies" are, I think, 7 and 8 now. Carrie is a hoot, on 110% all the time, and I just want to cuddle Justin 'cause he's such a cutie! I'm thankful for what a fabulous extended family I became part of when I married Matt.

So, once again, on New Year's Eve, I enjoyed the final fling of the holiday season in spite of myself. We did present exchanges with the Drobniks (gotta love our whole array of Star Trek kitchenware: an Enterprise pizza cutter, Spock cookie jar, and Enterprise/shuttle salt and pepper shakers). And Matt and I celebrated our 7th anniversary with the family at the post-wedding brunch.

And a good time was had by all.