There’s something about holding a physical book in your hands. People love it. The pages smell like paper and ink. It makes the writing more real. Therefore, I decided to hand out physical copies of my first book in the (after)life lessons series. Rather than a link or a post that you can swipe past, handing out the book started a real conversation and ignited interest.
I brought my books to my jazz dance class. We took a picture with the books. I posted it and tagged them on Facebook, hoping their friends might see it and vote for the book, too!
I came across a great article about using drama lessons to improve your writing. Drama Link
One piece of advice that resonated with me: rehearsals are for exploring. I recently edited the first chapter of my manuscript after receiving comments back from my editor. I still find myself taking risks, altering the story and description until I feel the paragraph is just right.
This lesson can be applied to multiple aspects of my life. In fact, my jazz dance teacher gave similar advice in class and reminded us it’s okay to fall down in class. It’s our place to test our boundaries!
Lastly, we took the cats to the vet. They know how to explore!
This week’s jazz funk routine at my local dance studio is choreographed to Uptown Funk, and I can’t stop grooving.
In addition to Bruno Mars’s inspiring talent, I am also moved by the actions of my teacher, who’s niece passed away a few months ago. A passionate singer and songwriter, her niece left behind stacks of her CDs. My dance teacher has decided to sell the CDs for $12 each and donate all the profits to two of her favorite charities.
Don’t be mad. I just googled the band, Mötley Crüe. I know its a heavy metal band formed some time in the 80s, but why were they a “motley crew?” One picture solved the mystery for me:
Don’t be surprised, but this is where I relate Mötley Crüe to young adult fantasy books.
I’ve been doing lots of research on character introductions and came to the realization that most of my favorite books have some sort of motley crew – a group of underdogs who beat all odds and save the day.
The obvious one is Harry Potter. Wasn’t Luna a little looney? Neville Longbottom accident-prone? And Ginny Weasley just a little girl? But you loved the ragtag bunch.
Percy Jackson wasn’t any better – his best friend was a satyr and his brother was a cyclops.
Don’t even get me started on Lord of the Rings.
How about the New Directions in Glee? Definitely your standard geeky bunch.
Well, my next book series starts the same way – a mismatched gaggle of kids, looking for a brave leader, getting into trouble, and of course, attending a school taught by famous ghosts. Look for it soon, called (after)life lessons.
I feel like real life isn’t so different. Didn’t everyone in San Francisco cheer for the 49ers?
I take jazz classes with a talented teacher named Ann twice a week. There are a group of us who joined about a year ago. We started in the back of the class, our own version of a motley crew, tripping through combinations and embarrassing ourselves. Through dedication and hard work, we improved. Most recently, the teacher suggested we stand in the front of the room. I felt like my own personal underdog, able to keep up with her challenging routines and perform next to beautiful dancers without missing a beat. [Perhaps I’ll attache a video soon!]
Four plane rides, five diligence meetings, four states, six coffee catch-ups, and one Bat Mitzvah. That’s how I spent my first week of December. I was impressed. Okay, so I wasn’t attacked by monsters, I wasn’t gallivanting around Rome, and I wasn’t traveling on a trireme, but we can’t all be demigods searching for the House of Hades like Percy Jackson’s friends aboard the Argo II.
I did manage to find time to write a few more chapters of my next book series, Bone-Chilling. As I approached the last few chapters, I noticed the characters suffer from time travel whiplash. If you were able to see ghosts, like the main character, Juliandra Winklevoss, you would also have a hard time keeping track of which time period your teachers were from.
She knows one thing for certain, if they teach at Vida Post Mortem Academy, they must be superheroes. President John F. Kennedy, Albert Einstein, William Shakespeare, Eleanor Roosevelt, are just a few of the spirits that make a translucent appearance.
Dead or alive, historic or unknown, traveling or stationary, there are many different types of superheroes. They can make sweeping changes or simply bring a smile to your face. My mom forwarded this picture of one of my favorite dancers from So You Think You Can Dance, Twitch. He is the king of optimistic superheroes.
At the end of the day, one of my favorite reasons to travel is to see my rag-a-muffin cat, Zeus. Named after a Greek God, he too, likes to dress the part. Happy Holidays!
As a fantasy fiction author and reader, I am constantly thinking about superpowers.
Speed. Strength. Invisibility. Magic. Charm….
All terrific abilities to have and useful when defeating the big bad enemy, but none of these traits are the supreme reason for the hero’s success. The way I see it, the ultimate superpower is optimism.
“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world,” said the King of the Dwarves, Thorin Oakenshield, who recognized hobbits were the true heroes, doing good for the sake of doing good, without further goals or desires.
While I agree it is their selflessness that should be revered, I also think it is their optimism. There is something to be said about persevering with a positive outlook as you helplessly stare your enemy in the eye.
It’s the same “Can-Do-It” attitude the unsung hero, Neville Longbottom, portrays when he grabs the sword of Gryffindor and takes down the Dark Lord’s snake.
Although applied to fight a different type of enemy, I watched the power of optimism in action last night. I attended a jazz class taught by a fabulous women named Ann, who’s mother had just passed away. To add insult to injury as if to mock her and say ‘try being happy now,’ it was also the teacher’s birthday.
Ann, with the help of her friends in the class who dressed in animal print to show their support, was an optimistic superhero and beat down the enemy. The class became a joyful tribute to her mother, and we danced our hearts out with glee.
I was truly touched with her parting words for the night. “Create your own happiness, and keep dancing.” — Ann Barrett