Been forever and a day... A NaNoWriMo post

If I say that I'm going to do NaNoWriMo next year, remind me of this post.

While I've loved NaNo and think it has huge value in teaching certain skills and showing what can be done - maybe not well, but possible - I think I've outgrown its purpose.

This year's novel is way outside my comfort zone - a fantasy with magical dragons and mythical creatures. In my pressure to get the word count done, a lot of world building, character development and plain making sure that I don't have any plot holes as large as a blimp, simply isn't getting done. I'm frustrated and resorting to trickery to get the words down - I want to write, not spew words on the screen.

So next year, no NaNo. I'll be sad to miss my friends, but this is the only way I can see to go back to writing that isn't frantic and stressful.

In the meantime, to all my (few) friends left on LJ, I hope you have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving (we did! We ate on our deck and sat out there for 2 hours in late November in 65F. A huge difference from inches of snow on the ground last year at this time.) and a holiday season full of light, love and life.

Off to produce words. Again.
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Pascha Memories


At one point in the Eastern Orthodox Pascha (Easter) service, the priest and almost all the people leave the church and walk around it, singing a hymn, until they return to the front doors. The priest then knocks on the door with a wooden cross, and from this site

    The Priest knocks on the doors three times saying: Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. And a voice asks: Who is this King of Glory? The priest answers: The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. The priest the knocks again saying: Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. And again the voice asks: Who is this King of Glory? The priest then replies: The Lord of hosts, he is the King of Glory.

The doors then burst open and the priest and the people begin to joyously sing "Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!"

This is all to symbolize the harrowing of Hell by Christ, after His death, when He brought out the captives. It's a very dramatic moment.


St. Nikolai is a new mission that meets at a college chapel. Because it's not their property, they are very careful about the place. I've been to a church where the priest banged so hard on the door that there were dings in the metal door.


Fr. Joseph approached the doors and had the conversation with the man on the other side of the door, and then, stepped back and

hit the handicapped button with his elbow. We waited for the door to slowly glide open.

I laughed hysterically.

I love Pascha.

To my western friends, Happy Easter! To my Orthodox friends, Christ is Risen!
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Success is like a sledding hill

I wrote this into a speech and I think the imagery is so catchy that I want it published here first, so if anyone lays claim to it, I have proof that I said it first.

Here's the text of my speech, to be given at Cleveland City Hall, for a demo Toastmasters meeting, on 20 March 14.

Imagine you’re on the top of a sledding hill, covered with snow.

Not hard to imagine, is it?

At the bottom of the hill are cups of hot chocolate, or hot coffee, or hot toddy. This is your goal.
Around you stand all the people in this room. Around all of us lie pieces of equipment. An inner tube. A
sled. A toboggan. Snowshoes. Bobsled. Skis. A tennis racquet. Ice skates. A helicopter.

You can choose any piece of equipment you want to get to the bottom of the hill.

Most often, when people talk about reaching a goal, the imagery is UP. The mountain top. The skies.
The moon. The stars. I like down. Especially when talking about public speaking because it’s EASY.
Many of you don’t think that public speaking is easy. There’s that theory that more people fear public
speaking than death… that’s a made-up statistic, you know. No one ever did a survey that asked that

Toastmasters makes learning to speak in public easier. Not necessarily easy but easier.
Think about the equipment around us on the hillside. Inner tube, sled, toboggan, snowshoes, bobsled,
helicopter, tennis racquet. Ice skates.

Learning how to speak in public is like getting down the sledding hill.

Now, if you’re going to choose the ice skates to get the bottom of the hill, we need to talk. Maybe you know something I don’t. If you’re going to choose the tennis racquet, well... you let me know how that works out for you. Maybe you’ll ignore all those pieces of equipment and simply walk down the hill yourself.

That’s fine, if you want to go slowly and risk falling down the hillside. Me, I’m an inner tube gal myself.
I’ll be down the hill as fast, as crazy and as bumpy as any inner tube ride can be. Backwards, even.
Some of you may be the same, some may like to take a toboggan together. That bobsled looks fun,

Your personality will determine your method and your speed. If you like crazy fast with risks or if you
prefer to gingerly make your way down on snowshoes, Toastmasters gives you options that no other
program affords. You work at your own speed. You work with your talents and develop your skills in
your own time. I may be screaming “LOOK OUT BELOW” as I barrel down the hill – the goal is to
improve your skills.

What are your goals? (Insert names of people and their goals.)

Let me suggest that maybe there’s something more than just being able to speak to a group.

My college-aged daughter sent me an email yesterday – a copy of email conversation she’d had with a club president. The upshot of it is this:

President: You weren’t at the meeting today.

Clara, my daughter: No, I thought it was canceled.

President: You’re now in charge of the Chipotle fundraiser.

We laugh, because we all have heard the jokes and even seen it happen: the absent get the tough jobs.

Now, I will say this about my daughter. She’s a natural business woman and she took on the challenge and has made it her own. I have no doubt that the Chipotle sale, which is now a donut sale (bigger profits, less work) will be a smashing success. But it’s not how you want to become a leader.

I’ll say it again: if you communicate, you’ll be seen as a leader. You will be a leader.

When you communicate, you’re perceived as a leader. Whether or not you think of yourself that way, people look at communicators as leaders. Let me tell you my story. When I was in 2nd grade, I joined the Girl Scout Brownie troop at my school. The Scout Leader said, “Gather into groups of 4 and pick a patrol leader.”

Sometimes I do what I’m told, and that day, I turned to the other girls around me and said, “Ok, who wants to be the leader?”

“You do it,” they said.

I spoke up and suddenly, I was a leader.

Now that only lasted 2 weeks because they decided they didn’t like me any more… but that’s another story. When you communicate – with statements or even with questions – people will look at you as a leader. That’s why Toastmasters doesn’t just focus on communication skills. We have a two part program – one half is speaking, but the other is leadership skills.

I can get up here and tell you about the virtues of Toastmasters. How it’s made a huge difference in my life. I can tell you about my friend Greg, who came to the parking lot of the building where our meetings were held for 8 weeks before he came in the door. I can tell you about Mike, who has been a member of Toastmasters for 5 years – and didn’t speak for the first three years until he read a joke from his smart phone. In the end, they found that Toastmasters offered them something they wanted badly enough, they needed so much, that they overcame their shyness to walk through the door and finally speak.

People with crippling fears are welcome. Our program works by giving people the opportunities to try in a safe, fun environment.

Did you remember that I said “Helicopter” in that list?

Toastmasters is the helicopter. You can jump in for the ride down and on your way, you’ll learn how to handle that bird yourself. Maybe it doesn’t look as much fun as an inner tube or a bobsled, but it’s the fastest, most effective way to reach your goals – and you’re less likely to spin out and take out a pack of 8 year olds.

We’re not going to bully you into it. No one yet has been thrown down the hill in Toastmasters.

Toastmasters has tools and proven methods to help everyone improve.

Public speaking isn’t just the goal – it’s the journey up and down the sledding hills in our lives. I invite you
to join me on that journey. Give Toastmasters 6 months and see what kind of communicator and what kind of leader you can become.

Madam Toastmaster.

No longer prime. At least, not for another 5 years.

Today is my 54th birthday - which means my next prime birthday is 5 years away.

They used to be so much closer together.

Google gave me my first birthday greeting - anyone else see candles and birthday cake when they opened a search engine this morning? I thought not.*

It's been a challenging year. The magazine I've been working on for a year just folded. The coaching position in speech and debate ended. I have two daughters who love me very much by challenging and correcting nearly everything I do or say. Oldest daughter ED has been away all summer, staying with family and working at King's Island selling food. D'Argo (son) is now launched, if not completed with college, is within a semester of graduation.

Life moves on.

I nevertheless have an adorable husband in My Librarian. I have wonderful friends, and a safe, clean, maybe-a-bit-tight-financially life. I have nothing to complain about.**

The next part of my life starts... today.

*Although the future Prince(ss) of Cambridge might.

**In fact, I found 75% of my NaNo novel Everything I Say To You Is a Lie on a Carbonite backup. I can work on that. No complaints!

What Kizmet has been doing

Kizmet has been starting a business.

Introducing EMU Publishing!

Your ideas Your Message Your Magazine

We can help you create a magazine, get ad sales and put it on Apple Newsstand for the world to see. With different services and price structures available, your message can be online in a matter of weeks.

Ok, enough of the press release.

I ran into an opportunity about a month ago to start up this publishing business. I think the potential is huge and Apple's Newsstand app is an ideal way to break into the media - we have the software to convert the PDFs into the proper format and I have lot of people in my life who would like to publish/market/write for a magazine. Why not?

I have about $1200 to start up, which means every single penny has to do double time. I have a landing page, not a real website, I don't have business cards, I don't have lawyerly contracts. The man I'm working with - he's developing a couple of other publishers like me - has just applied for a $25,000 grant, which should cover the lawyer fees for the contracts, getting the first issues up, and generally making me able to breathe instead of pant oddly in the middle of the night with fear.

I have one magazine in the works, and of course, despite the whole FINAL DEADLINE (don't comment about the redundancy, I know, but what you have to do to get people to write!) I still lack several pieces for this first issue, which is supposed to go up 15 August, which means the slicer/dicer/PDF grinder must have it by the 6th. Feel free to grind your teeth with me.

I'm looking at doing an SF magazine in the new year, and hope to have 6 in the works by this time next year. That's probably too low a goal, as I have 2 in process, another ready to sign, and a fourth currently reviewing the proposal I made on Friday. I think I can manage 6 magazines without an assistant, so next year... I may be an employer. At the moment, I'm a crazed woman who really needs that magazine owner to call me and tell me about the art director he wants to hire...
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