Archive | April, 2012

Motivate the Imagination: Just 10 Minutes to a New You

30 Apr

As I look to another week of writing, another week of motivational reasoning behind the urge to forge on, I realize that the never-ending cycle will forever be something I have to look forward to.  Yes, we all need a little motivation; however, when it comes to writing, time is the most important essence that we lack.

The need to delve into my imaginary writing world,  where everything seems to fall into place exactly the way, I want it, is all the motivation I sometimes need.  Just the thought of grabbing ten minutes to myself, erasing the world around me, letting myself drift into the story I am creating is a writing aphrodisiac.  A stimulation of the senses that gives me energy to take on the world and all the good and bad aspects it brings along for the ride.

Sometimes all the motivation a writer needs is right under his or her nose, the motivation of escape through one’s own writing.  If you are having a bad day or a bad week for that instance, you are angry with yourself because there has been no time for writing, because you did not write as much as you should have,  your personal life is not all its hacked up to be, you burned your supper or traffic was a hoot and a howl, no worries, the escape is near.

Your motivation is upon you, run as fast as you can to a quiet corner of inspiration and let the world fall away around you, let your mind take you to the one place you can breath, the place you feel anything is possible, your story.  All you need is a few minutes to exhale, a few minutes where all your solutions manifest in your writing, and voila, your self-loathing will melt away, your confidence will return and the will to forge ahead with the week to come will no longer be a daunting task.

Sometimes all you need is a few minutes a day for a little escape and for your writing to take root beneath your fingertips, a few minutes a day is the sheer essence of motivation that will propel you to the finish line. 

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Happy Anniversary William and Kate: What a Great Love Story!

29 Apr

As you may have noticed, I am a sucker for a good love story.  William and Kate have always fascinated me, although I am not British, I have always pulled for the love match.  When the engagement was announced it was like a dream come true for a country teetering on economic downfall, and a royal family on the decline.

I was up at 4:00 am April 29, 2011.  I made a great big English breakfast,

a large teapot, (for hours of endless spots of tea),

 I woke my poor sister, grabbed the pups and waited for the first glimpse of Catherine and her dress.

The ceremony was beautiful; very regal and emotional.  Yes, I cried; the music and ambiance were very affective.  A glorious church wedding, or a wedding in any house of worship always seems to increase the symbolism of the moment making it even more meaningful, at least it does for me.

My mom eventually joined my sister and I, and the three of us spent the morning glued to the television set, watching every historical moment unfold before our eyes; the couple leaving the church, riding through the streets in a horse-drawn carriage, and later on the balcony waving to the billions of people watching them on the tube.  The kisses, which sealed the deal for the thousands of Brits gathered at the Palace just to glimpse a tiny bit of romance and history, will be remembered for years to come.

Prince Harry made his mark that day, as well, smiling with his brother, looking very respectable and demure as he awaited his big brother’s moment.  He was the epitome of cuteness as he made his way to Buckingham Palace in a carriage full of flower girls and pageboys, and then the ever-present jokester as he entertained Pippa on the balcony.

The year has brought many new experiences for Catherine Middleton, now Duchess of Cambridge; she has made numerous appearances with William.  Kate has amazed the world with her fun, stylish and savvy fashion sense and blossomed into a confidant individual.  William and Kate have made several appearances together in their first year of marriage, from Canada to Hollywood and a plethora of places in between; they have captivated the public with their warmth, elegance and above all, the love that shows in every moment they are in each other’s company and in every stolen glance.

I raise my fluke of champagne to the royal couple, to William and Catherine’s first year of marriage and to the endless years to come; may they be filled with happiness, warmth and above all the twinkle of never-ending love.

Oh, how I have always loved a romantic fairy tale.  I believe in love and happily ever after, and to the horror of some women, I do not believe for one moment it hurts us in any way to believe in fairy tales.

Generations of girls should believe that there can be a happy ending, and they should never settle for less.

Who Can Resist Tristan MacManus, a Few Tattoos, Dancing or Ireland?

26 Apr

As you may have noticed, I am a little addicted to Dancing with the Stars.  I have my favorites, every season there is someone new and exciting that sets the dancing bar a little higher, and every season has a few folks that are just not so good, but boy do they try hard to entertain.  The personalities of the celebrities are what stands out for me, I like someone who is kind, funny, engaging and most importantly is having a good time.

Some of my favorites this season were Gavin DeGraw and Gladys Knight.  They were both such lovely individuals, with great personalities.  Gavin is rumored to be the most favorite contestant of all times, according to the dance pros.

My new favorite dancing pro crush is Tristan MacManus.  He has that affectionate smile, quiet brooding temperament, great lips, a hot accent, oh, and let’s not forget the way those hips move on the dance floor.

I was really disappointed to see Tristan and Gladys leave the ballroom on Tuesday night.  I am completely against the judges having the final say.  The whole point of the competition is for us the viewing public to get our vote heard.  In the past, there were occasions where good dancers were not pulled through because of voting, but in my opinion, that was fair.  Now we see the judges pulling favorites, they always have, but now they get to save their favorites.  The judges also have their least favorite dancing pros; I will not get into my opinions of why they like certain pros over others; however, I do not believe that the judges are going to be able to pick a winning team without bias.

Okay well that is my little rant, anyhow; I will miss Tristan’s exuberant smile on Dancing with the Stars.  Tristan MacManus was part of the dance troupe before he got asked to be a dance pro last season; this being only his second season, I think he held together pretty well.

Tristan seems to be a sweetheart, he has said in the past that he is frustratingly single and that “I look at every girl and think ‘you’re going to change my life.’

 Ah, hello!! How sweet is that?

Although new reports say Tristan MacManus has a girlfriend, check it out: http://www.wetpaint.com/dancing-with-the-stars/articles/report-tristan-macmanus-has-a-hot-australian-girlfriend-and-its-not-kym-johnson

 I also just found out Tristan made an appearance in Ella Enchanted; I will have to get my hands on that movie, cannot really remember him in that; however, in all honesty the movie was a dud.  I was forced to watch it 3 times in a row, thanks to a very insistent little niece who loves magic.

 For my MI-5, Lucas North fans, here is some interesting tattoo info from Tristan MacManus:

“I’ve got five at the moment, but the collection is not finished yet. I have three on right arm from Celtic mythology, it’s broken up into four pieces so I have one more to get. On my ribs, I have my surname, in Ogham writing, which according to the the Natural History Museum of Ireland is the Celtic alphabet. My cousin at home has a tattoo parlor so I get them all done there. On my left forearm, it says ‘My family, my friends, my heart,’ in Gaelic. That’s what I’m about; it’s what is important to me so that was the first one I got four years ago.”

 Of course, one of my other favorite dance pros, Val Chmerkovskiy has ‘family over everything’ tattooed on his left arm.

 There must be something about a kind, sweet man with a dangerous edge.

On Tuesday night, when Tristan was booted off the show, we got an even better glimpse of the passionate man, he told the audience that he would miss Gladys as much as he misses Ireland when he is away, and that he told us is very, very much.

A little tribute to Tristan MacManus, because I love the Irish land and people as well.

Check out these two films: P.S. I Love You and Leap Year.

They have some great scenes of the countryside, the lovely people that make the land what it is, and a plethora of good-looking men.

Hillary Swank and Gerard Butler

Amy Adams and Matthew Goode

Inspirational Eye Candy: Let us take a look at the Girls

24 Apr

As promised, in my post Inspirational Eye Candy: Richard Armitage, Gerard Butler and a little Jude Law

the women who inspire.

I often wonder what is it exactly that inspires the author of a romance novel; is it a great idea, a wonderful dream or is it just the vision of a sexy, talented, kind and funny woman?

Some of my favorite actresses.

  Let the inspiration begin.

Angelina JolieThandie NewtonKate WinsletSandra BullockKiera KnightleyMarion CotillardMeryl StreepNichole Kidman

A Writer’s Muse: The Protagonist

24 Apr

I briefly touched upon a writer’s inspiration in my post Inspirational Eye Candy: Richard Armitage, Gerard Butler and a little Jude Law.  I am intrigued about the fashion in which a writer picks the personality of their protagonist.

The protagonist, the principal character in literature, fuels the action, but how do we come up with that person, how do we give them substance?  Is it just on a whim that the character is created, with no outside influences? How does a multifaceted individual spring to life onto the pages of a novel?

I have spoken to some colleagues; some of them truly believe that their protagonist, or any of their other characters, for that matter, are purely imaginative, not having any outside influences.  I do not, for one second, believe any of those statements.  Whether we want to or not, our characters form physical and emotional personality traits from someone we admire, or from a purely self-involved rational; if given the possibility, we could, in fact, be the character we write about in our literature.

Whether you are a man or woman, regardless of your writing genre, the characters on our pages come from a manifestation of a perfect other, one that may, in fact, borrow traits from several different individuals, creating the flawless protagonist.   Every writer has a distinctive set of traits that strongly influence the real people that they connect with in their daily lives.  We are all so very unique that the saying; it takes a whole lot of different people to make the world go around, is not lost on the writing world.  The traits eventually manifest in the pages of our books, no matter how hard we try to keep them out.

I believe even writers such as J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter character was a manifestation of what she wished she could become; an individual who is not afraid to push forward despite the cruelties that they have to endure throughout their life.  One could become a famous writer (oops, I meant a famous wizard) if only they push through all that hardship.

Being an avid fan and writer of love stories and romance novels, I have to say that it is really difficult not to picture my favorite celebrities as some of the individuals in the books I read, although I try to keep them out of the one’s, I write.  However, for my writing, I stick to envisioning my idea of a perfect character, depending on the genre I am working on, by picking little pieces of traits from a plethora of individuals who make their way through my life.

Do you always have a certain person in mind when you picture the perfect protagonist?

Whether you are a writer or not, think really hard and tell the truth: when was the last time you actually pictured your significant other as the lead role in a book, you have written or read?

 

Inspirational Eye Candy: Richard Armitage, Gerard Butler and then Some…

23 Apr

I often wonder what is it exactly that inspires the author of a romance novel; is it a great idea, a wonderful dream or is it just the vision of a sexy, talented, kind and funny man?  Whether this man is someone in your life, a significant other, a co-worker, someone you spotted just for a moment, or a celebrity; the imagination and inspiration have taken root.

 Let us let our own imagination take flight with a few good-looking men.  Let the inspiration begin.

I am not forgetting the women that inspire, more on that tomorrow.

Richard Armitage

Bradley CooperTristan MacManus

Colin Firth

Gerard ButlerRichard Armitage

Jake  Gyllenhaal

Jude Law

Maksim ChmerkovskiyMatthew Macfadyen

Prince Harry

Colin Firth

Gerard ButlerJake  Gyllenhaal

Jude Law

Maksim Chmerkovskiy

Matthew Macfadyen

Tristan MacManus

Richard Armitage

Prince Harry

Earth Day 2012: Shower the Planet with Love

22 Apr

On this day remember to conserve energy, limit your trash, eat organic, be kind to animals, enjoy nature, and walk, walk, walk.

We should be kind to the Earth every day of the year and treat the inhabitants; humans and animals alike with kindness, love and reverence.  However, humans have averted from practicing ecological treatments that would produce more than enough fruit of labor to satisfy everyone.

On Earth Day try to change your views on nature, if you are an individual who is hard to alter, then at least open your mind and heart to the vast possibilities of humans giving back to the planet which has given them so much.

The connection with nature is the center of identity; a deeper understanding of stewardship, celebration, and spiritualism gives a sense of belonging, yet once this harmony is lost so is the sense of self.  Reaffirmation with the many metaphysical forms of spiritualism and the ever-changing cycle of our environment can establish identity.

The need for reestablishing a relationship with nature is the fundamental baseboard for restoring not only cultural but also personal identity.

Humankind is not separate from nature, everything plays an intricate role in life.  Contemporary society can unify and find purpose in the realization that being part of nature encompasses all living things.

The sort of destruction, which is happening to the Earth and its inhabitants, manifests from the fact that Western culture has ravaged the planet and drawn away from understanding the spiritual connection that all livings things share.

Nature will forgive and forget, but humans must come to understand that we are all the same; the celebration of life is for everyone to enjoy.

An investment into understanding and relating to nature and the environment is the only way one can understand their true place in it.  We must build upon our compassion, reconnection and acceptance of all living things and creatures, as well as the land and environment in which we thrive.

Through acceptance of cultural differences and wrongs of the past by reassessing our choices in the future, the earth will be able to thrive with human life and once again become one with its existence.

The choices, which we make through the understanding that all living creations share the same level of importance and that all living creations are vital for the survival of the human civilization, can help reestablish identity and a sense of belonging as one with the earth.

 

Euro 2012: Poland’s People Welcome You

19 Apr

The Euro 2012 host countries, Poland and Ukraine, are still hard at work perfecting structures, transportation and strategic planning.  However, the people of Poland are waiting with open arms; their hearts open to welcome fans and tourists from all around the globe.

If you are venturing into Poland, you will be enchanted by delightful people, a beautiful land rich in history and tradition, mouth watering, eclectic, and savory food and, most importantly, an ever-present smile.

Poland’s history is steeped in struggle; resilience of its people is visible throughout the country and felt within the atmosphere.  Don’t forget to stop, take a moment to breathe and enjoy all that the country and its people have to offer.

Wawel Castle in Kraków, Poland (Zamek Krolewski na Wawelu)

 The Masurian Lake District or Masurian Lakeland  is a lake district in northeastern Poland containing more than 2,000 lakes.

Resilience

The European bison (the wisent, and zubr (zshoobr)

The bison are a national symbol of Poland; they roam Europe’s last primeval forest, the 8,000-year-old Bialowieza.

Polish Seaside Resorts

Resilience

Zakopane

Tatra Mountains

 The Jewish Quarter (Kazimierz)

 Can’t forget our football (soccer) team

Fan fiction: Marketing and Motivation

18 Apr

One must be willing to forge ahead even in the darkest moments.  Our natural instincts of survival kick in and we fight to the finish.

In our daily lives, we encounter many moments that leave us grasping for a pick-me up.  Moments in which we lose control, give up, or even lose the will to get by.

As a writer, I understand the perils of losing ambition.  There is no one looking over your shoulder or pushing you towards a deadline.  One of the loneliest jobs is that of a writer, with only the characters and imaginative moments in your head for company.  Nevertheless, we must continue to advance, even if it is one line at a time; words to live by.

Pick a project of choice, stick to it, finish it, revel in the achievement and know that you have taken your first step towards becoming a writer.

My fan fiction project is my torch and my motivation.  As I wrote in my post Fan Fiction: A Writing Motivation?, the genre is a great way of getting your feet wet in the writing profession.

However, the fan fiction genre may lead us to question the good and the bad side of writing.  Why do some fan fiction writers create work that is zapped up by thousands, including a publishing company while others have to spend their time in the trenches, story after story, year after year.

There is no viable answer, but as with most things in life, many questions.  Are some of us luckier than others, do some of us have better stories, or are some individuals just more talented than others?  The answer to these questions is, NO.

Writing takes motivation, determination, resilience and, in today’s world, a sense of marketing ability.  Yes, marketing yourself and your work is an important step in creating a career.  The industry is a jungle, and we have to put on our gear, take a deep breath and plunge into the unknown.

Fan fiction that has recently made headlines is 50 Shades of Grey.  Are you looking into a true story about an author who turned her hobby into a professional career, check out E.L. James  Also, take a look at FedoraLady’s blog the armitage effect, she is updating her readers on 50 Shades of Grey.  Fedoralady gives a great overview of the book; her likes, dislikes and everything in between.

 

Maksim Chmerkovskiy: Ukrainian Lover or Elvis Presley Reincarnated.

17 Apr

I have an infatuation with Elvis Presley, I have since I was a little girl.  This will become evident to my readers the more they come back to Just a Girl and her Pups.

Last night I was watching Dancing with the Stars, another little obsession of mine, and lo and behold out stepped Maksim Chmerkovskiy looking like my favorite singer.


I immediately realized that both men swivel their hips like there is no tomorrow and have that uncanny charismatic trait that keeps us coming back for more.

One of my favorite Elvis Presley concerts is the 1968 Comeback Special; I can never get enough of this man in black leather. Yes, I am aware that most of his fans are and were much older than me, a different generation, but for me Elvis transcends generations.

 

I love dancing; it is such a great form of exercise, great weekend fun, and the best way to relieve stress. Dancing also does a wonder for my imagination, letting it first unwind, then propelling into great depths of stimulation.

Another favorite man of mine in black leather Guy of Gisborne

 Speaking of Blue Suede Shoes, another favorite channeling Elvis Presley and showing us some great hip action as well.

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