Terra’s Call is LIVE, and We’re Celebrating!

How? We’re giving away a $50 Amazon gift card to one lucky winner! You have to enter to win it, and we’ve made it easy. Here’s what my friend Seth says on his blog, the Giveaway Guy:

“So who wants to win something?! P.T.L. Perrin and I have partnered up to give away a $50 Amazon gift card to one lucky Giveaway Guy reader.

Enter to win using the Rafflecopter form below. You may share on Twitter once a day for extra points for the duration of the giveaway.”

CLICK HERE to read more and fill out the form. The contest runs until October 12, 2017. Wishing you the BEST!

Palm Trees Are Made to Dance

Few things are as unnerving as an approaching hurricane. When we saw the satellite photo of a swirling buzz saw bigger than our entire state heading directly for us, we couldn’t help but feel a growing sense of urgency. My heart screamed, ‘RUN!’ My mind said, ‘Stay. It won’t be as bad as they say.’

‘Stay calm’ I told myself, as the frantic newscasters built a doomsday scenario, minute-by-minute, for days ahead of the storm.

“Stay calm,” they told us, as they showed pictures of empty grocery shelves and cars lined up for miles at the gas pumps.

“Stay calm,” they said, while announcing evacuation orders, one after the other, during the perfect days before the storm, when people were still heading to the beach.

Evacuation route

The TV stayed tuned to the Weather Channel, and when we flipped stations to get anything other than hurricane news, all the other stations broadcast nothing but incessant talk about the hurricane. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a good thing. Those folks at the local stations live here with their families. They care. They do an amazing job.

We didn’t leave, and when it hit, we had my almost 96 year-old mother-in-law with us, along with my sister and adopted sister from the part of the state that was hunkered down for a direct hit, where Category 5 winds and a fifteen-foot storm surge were expected. Our family still in Naples were in secure buildings, in professional care. We prayed and worried, but knew they would be better off there.

A hurricane is like a roller coaster. The ride to the top is pure anticipation. In my case, I repeatedly tell myself, “You idiot! What were you thinking?” And then there’s the pause at the top of a mile-long vertical drop. At that point, I know I’m committed, and it’s time to relax and enjoy the ride.

My sister brought her adorable little dog who, naturally, had to go outside — storm or no storm. That’s when I realized once again that palm trees are made to dance in impossibly strong winds, and little dogs will not pee in them. I, however, enjoyed being out in it, if only for a few minutes, dancing with the palms. hurricane wind

We survived with only the loss of my beloved ficus tree. It was cut back to the nub, the sound of killer chainsaws grating on my nerves. It will grow again.

I grieve the islands and the Florida keys, wondering how they will ever come back from this devastation. Yet, come back, they will. Like my ficus, the life is there, the strength is there, and in the sun and tropical breezes, we’ll watch it grow and do what we can to help. Texas will recover from Harvey. The Caribbean will recover from Irma. Where there is life, there is hope, and God is with us all.

What Does It Take To Be Happy? (especially when you’re hurting?)

 

 

Emotional pain can be as sharp and bitter as physical pain, and no one gets through life without experiencing it. Is it possible to be happy while you’re hurting? Is happiness a result of circumstances, or is it a choice?

I choose happiness. There. I’ve said it. I choose it. So now what? Does it follow that my choice alone will make me happy? Or must I take action to make my choice a reality in my life? Think about this. You might choose to be wealthy or live a long, healthy life. You might choose to be a doctor, lawyer, policeman or (gulp) writer. You choice is the first step in a process. To reach your goal, you must take the next step, and the next.

This article appeared on my news feed this morning, and my happiness gauge jumped when I read it. I hope yours does, too!

12 Things I See Happy People Do (that unhappy people do not)

—- Rev. Shane L. Bishop

May 22, 2017

I have been thinking a lot about happiness of late, partially because so many people seem unhappy.  I think that was my first epiphany upon entering the world of Social Media; people are unhappy and there are a lot of them.  Now don’t get me wrong, we all know some people who wouldn’t be happy, were they not unhappy but I am not talking about them.  We will just let them be.  I am also not thinking theologically here (i.e. juxtaposing happiness and joy), today I am going to err on the practical and pragmatic side of things.  With that being said, let’s get going.

I think most people want to be happy; they are just not quite sure how to get there from their present location.  Many people honestly believe that happiness is a lucky bounce; a sunny disposition or favorable circumstances but I disagree.  Happiness is a choice.  I believe the best route to happiness is found by following the footsteps of those who have already arrived.

Here are my observations on the topic that have been formed by watching happy people for decades.

Read More

What do you think?

 

 

 

What to do with (gulp) Criticism…

dwarf-49807_1920I’ve had people ask me to critique their work, just as I ask my Beta readers to critique mine. For the most part, I’m happy to do it because it’s a valuable service if given and received in the right spirit. Any story born and nurtured in the writer, whether a life story or fiction, deserves to be brought to life.

I consider it an honor to be invited into that place of vulnerability in the writer’s process of giving birth to their infant work of art. It can be as frightening for me as for the writer, especially if the work is already published and I’m asked for my ‘honest opinion.’ Not all published works should have been released at that stage in their development.

If I had published my books before they went through the process of self-editing, beta-reading, professional editing and more self-editing, they would have deserved unbridled criticism, and I would have done one of two things: stopped writing altogether, or learned from the criticism. During the process, I learned, and wrote and re-wrote. If I hadn’t decided that enough is enough, I would still be re-writing.

No book is perfect. There is room for improvement in everything we do. It doesn’t detract from the value of the story we have to tell.

I ran across this article today, and thought it was something we can apply to anything we do in life. Any thoughts?

HOW TO TAKE CRITICISM AND TURN IT INTO GROWTH IN 5 STEPS

by Daniella Levy

It hurts to hear people say negative things about something you poured your heart and soul into. It hurts to recognize that you are not perfect at what you do and can always use improvement.

However, criticism–good criticism–is a very powerful raw material you can use to build yourself as an artist.

People generally react to criticism non-constructively in one of two ways: resistance (dismissing, arguing, or denying) or withering (collapsing in feelings of shame and inadequacy). Both of these reactions deny you the opportunity to learn and grow from the feedback.

To get the most out of criticism, you have to be humble enough to admit your work has faults, yet confident enough that you won’t wither. You have to push past the instinct to get defensive, and instead, get curious about how the criticism can help you improve your craft.

Let’s break it down into five steps.

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I Write YA fiction. Am I Doing It Wrong?

I came across an article written by a teen in the Huffington Post today that set me back on my heels and made me evaluate what I’m writing in my YA Sci-Fi TETRASPHERE series. I was happy to read that I’ve avoided at least some of her pet peeves, but there’s room for improvement. We can all use some guidance from members of our target audience, can’t we? I’m open. Here’s what she had to say:

I’m A Teenager And I Don’t Like Young Adult Novels. Here’s Why.

Written by Vivian Parkin DeRosa 

I know it’s an extremely unpopular opinion. This doesn’t mean that I’ve never read a YA book that I enjoyed. Some of my favorite books fall under the YA genre. But to be honest, I don’t typically like reading young adult novels.

 

Let me just say, this is NOT because I think YA isn’t real literature. I think as a society, we have a tendency to automatically dismiss genres that women (especially young women) really enjoy. Romance and YA are often seen as not ‘real’ fiction, which is stupid, because women and teenage girls are obsessed with both. And if you’re obsessed with something, that means it’s a good book. In my humble opinion, teenage girls are the ultimate judges on culture, even though we’re constantly shamed for our decisions and patronized by adults and teenage boys alike. (You can make fun of “White Girl” things all you want, but that does not change the fact that teenage girls of all races supported both the Beatles and Starbucks before anyone else did, and where would you be without your delicious coffee and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band?)

 

However, despite believing that YA is a genre worthy of literary awards and esteem, it’s still not my favorite. There are a couple of reasons why.

READ MORE…

Who is your tribe?

I don’t know about you, but I both read and write best when I’m alone or when the people around me leave me alone, which is in their best interest as well as mine while I’m engaged in that activity. I’m not anti-social, by any means, but delving into a book (or writing one) is like solitaire. It’s a game best played in solitude.

The flip side is that while I’m not actively involved in the place in my head where my characters live, I’m alive in this world and both want and need to be around others. This article points out how important it is for writers to get together with other writers. It resonated with me, and so I’m happily sharing it with you.

Are You Networking with Other Writers?

posted in: Writing Life | 0

Writing may be a solitary activity, but we need people in our lives who are just like us to keep us going. People who understand us, and will put up with our quirks and weird behavior.

That’s where networking and meeting people come in handy. It’s one thing to bump into friends at a conference, but it’s completely different when you’re at a small local event, or bonding with someone over coffee or lunch.

I’ve written in the past about the importance of connecting with other writers on social media, but it’s more important to find them in real life. Here are a few places to find your fellow word nerds and ink slingers.

(Read the rest of the article here!)

Any comments?