Monday, February 27, 2012

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

I just watched this beautiful video called "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. It won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.

It's 15 minutes long so get a cup of hot chocolate and sit back and enjoy. I know no one has 15 minutes to watch an animated short, but it's worth the time.

Here is a little blurb that explains the inspiration behind it:
Directed by William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg, the 15-minute film draws from Hurricane Katrina, "The Wizard of Oz," Buster Keaton and, of course, a love for books. The story starts in New Orleans with the Keaton-like Mr. Morris Lessmore writing a book on the balcony of a hotel. A menacing storm swirls into town, blowing away houses and street signs, taking Mr. Lessmore and his unfinished book with it.

My take on the film: *spoiler alert*

I love the story and the idea of finding a magical place where books and literature become the food of life and happiness. But at the same time I felt sad for Mr. Lessmore (and herein lies the genius of his name), there is so much more to life than simply books. He finds joy in his fantasyland and his writing, but he misses out on the best part of life--family and friends, relationships. 

It was a good reminder to me that (to quote Uncle Iroh) we must all find balance. No one part of life, no matter how wonderful, should completely take over.

What are your thoughts?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Google Myself Challenge

My friend and fellow crit group member, Taffy, challenged us to google ourselves and see what comes up.

I accepted, and this is what I got:

The first 5 hits were for my own sites: my website, this blog, Facebook, Twitter and another link to this blog.

Then I got this:
Julie Daines. Not me. But she looks great and I'm sure she's a very nice person. This is her Facebook pic.

And this:
Another Julie Daines who lives in Crewe, UK. So I'd probably trade places with her if she were willing. This is from LinkedIn. It seems there are quite a few of me living in the UK.

And my personal favorite:
I don't always wear this much eye make-up, but other than that I think it's a reliable likeness.

Also the earrings are totally me.

The link for this pic is here. But caution. Not all my outfits are as conservative as this.

And this:
Apparently, back in January of 2011 I stayed at the Sirene Golf & Wellness Hotel in Turkey. According to my comments, it rained too much and the main hotel was undergoing inconvenient construction, but the Turkish Baths and Sports Massage were amazing.

And fittingly I shall end with this:

Sadly, at the age of 37, in 2004, I died suddenly, leaving behind my husband and 5 children. I lived in Coalville, Utah and will be remembered for my smile, humor, service and sense of direction.

May I rest in peace.

If you want to accept the challenge, leave a comment telling me what you find or copy a link back to your own blog.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Devil is in the Detail

My husband's company owns a cabin up in the mountains about an hour from our home. We got a turn to stay there over Presidents Day weekend. HOLY LUXURY!

Here are a few pictures of my favorite features:
The cool sink in the guest bathroom

Amazing beams in the main room.

Nifty pull-up toilet

The light over the jacuzzi
Count 'em - 3! shower
heads in the master bath.

Lichen that hitched a
ride into the cabin on the stones
of the fireplace mantel.

Which doors are the refrigerator and
which is the pantry?

*Special thanks to blogger for randomly configuring the pictures into it's own idea of an arrangement. 

What does this have to do with writing, you might ask. Well, I'll tell you.

From these small bits of detail, you probably get a better idea of the kind of place we stayed at than if I would have posted a landscape view of the whole cabin.

It's the same with writing--especially description. Often, a few small but carefully chosen details can convey more to the reader than paragraphs of descriptive eloquence.  

And to finish it off, a nice pic of me and two of my young'uns in the hot tub.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Sunflowers and Buffalo Chips (again)

**Update** Guess what my husband gave me for Valentines Day? Yep. A framed print of Sunflowers and Buffalo Chips. He loves me.

In honor of that gift, I'm reposting this: 

There is a picture I love called "Sunflowers and Buffalo Chips" by Gary Kapp.
It's a pioneer mother standing in a field of sunflowers gathering buffalo chips to use as fuel so she can cook something to feed her family. I love how her girls ignore the buffalo poop chore and focus on picking sunflowers.

I also love how this painting is a perfect metaphor for real life. Sometimes it's sunflowers and everything is going great. We're happy and content in the beauty of life. And sometimes ... it's buffalo chips.

We just take the good with the bad and know that we need them both.

I gathered a lot of buffalo chips over the last year, hopefully enough to last a long time. So right now, I guess I'll just be thankful that I'm surrounded by sunflowers.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

I've Been Tagged

I got tagged by Alyssa from the Platform-Building Campaign.

It is now my pleasure to answer the following assigned questions and then pass the tag along to a few others.

Let the fun begin!

1. What is your favorite holiday? Halloween. It the best because it's scary and you don't have to buy anyone presents.

2. Who is your idol? Hmmm. In terms of writing, maybe Martine Leavitt.

3. If you could visit any place in the world where would you go? Greenland. It has to be there for some reason.

4. What's your favorite genre? YA with a more literary bent, quirky stuff, and English literature.

5. What or who has inspired your writing the most? Several authors: Martine Leavitt, Shannon Hale, Markus Zusak, Mary Stewart, Neil Gaiman.

6. If you could choose any superpower what would you have? Control things with my mind so I don't have to keep getting out of bed to turn off the lights. I could just think Fold the Laundry, and it would be done!

7. If you had to be a villain, who would it be? Why? Death. Read Martine Leavitt's book and you'll know why. 

8. What is your favorite animal? My kids. (Do they count?)

9.What is your favorite food? French Fries.

10.Who is your favorite author? It's impossible to choose. Seriously!

11. What is your biggest fear? That a vampire will show up and I don't have my stake with me. 

So now, who to tag next... I have randomly chosen the following from my campaign group:

And here are YOUR questions. I shall limit myself to 10.

1. Hero or Villain?
2. What is your least favorite part of writing?
3. Who has influenced your writing the most?
4. What is your favorite climate?
5. What kind of stories do you love?
6. What kind of stories do you hate?
7. If you wrote an autobiography, what would it be called?
8. If you could put yourself in any book, which would it be?
9. If you could time travel, where in time would you go?
10. What is your favorite TV show?

Have fun and may the force be with you.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I'm a Platform-Building Campaigner

I'm participating in the Platform-Building Campaign hosted by Rach Writes. It's a great way to meet new people with similar blogs and writing interests. I expect great things!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Where It All Began: Origins Blogfest

So, today is the Origins Blogfest. You can join at Alex Cavanaugh's blog

A short rundown on the rather self-explanatory rules:  Tell us all where your writing dreams began. It all started somewhere and we want you to tell us your own unique beginnings.

Several years ago (I guess about 3 1/2), my good friend and writer let me read her work in progress. At that time, I hadn't written a single word since my goofing around with short stories back in my college days. But we were members of the same book club, and I asked her if she needed someone to read her work and offer feedback.

After I gave her some comments, she said, Hey, you should write your own book. I thought, There's no way. But the idea percolated. And soon enough (about a year) I had my first manuscript written. 

Then I started another manuscript. I entered my first chapter (of the 1st ms) in a contest at LDStorymakers Conference in 2010--the first conference I ever attended--and I won first place.

For the first time I thought, Ya know, I might be okay at this writing stuff. 

I now have three completed manuscripts and two on the way. And I'm lucky enough to have sold my second novel. 

So, I guess I can't say that I've dreamed of being a writer all my life. But I feel like I'm living the dream now.

As I look back, I see how everything has fallen into place in a very miraculous way. I hope I don't offend anyone by saying that I firmly believe my success is directly related to some serious sacrifices I made a few years ago on behalf of other people. To quote a common hymn, "Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven." To find out what I believe, click here.

PS: As with all blogfests I join, if you follow me, I'll follow you. (That should be the title of a song!)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Leap Seconds & We Have a Winner

Congratulations to Erin Shakespeare: winner of the $25 gift card. Thanks a ton to everyone who participated and for following me. You all totally rock!
Winner selected via

  • And Now, Leap Seconds:

Who knew that such a thing existed? Apparently, every so often the global time keepers of the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service have to stretch time by adding an extra second to the 24 hour period in order to keep our clocks in sync with the heavens.

Now scientists want to abolish the leap second. If they do, the time on our clocks will no longer have any relation to the planetary movements.

In our days of everything electronic, the leap second complicates things such as global positioning satellites, electronic communications, and the internet. Computerized clocks aren't wired to compensate for a leap second.

The downfall is that over time (ha ha) atomic clocks would say it was midday in the middle of the night. In 500 years the man-made time would be off by one hour. Eventually, we would lose the time-based link we associate with night and day.

So, no more looking at the sun to calculate the time of day? Call me sentimental, but it kind of makes me sad.

What do you think?