“Life of Pie” – 12 Totally Random Things You Never Needed To Know About Me #BarAThon @blogarhythm1

I’m participating in Blog-A-Rhythm’s second edition of  BAR-A-THON, the fortnight-long blogging marathon for bloggers everywhere!
The theme is two-fold: anything to do with the number 7 (SEVEN) or a specific PROMPT based on a famous book’s title.
For today’s post, I’ve chosen the prompt, “The Life of Pie”.

“Life of Pie”

Life of Pie” made me think of “pie”…which made me think of hot apple pie smothered by French vanilla ice cream…which made me think of some of my favorite things … which made me think of writing a list of seven random things about myself.

Actually, I’ve seen a number of bloggers posting “lists” and always thought that it was cute idea so why not borrow the idea?

Well, focusing on the “me” part and not on the “what” part of the list was harder than I thought, though it did make me realize that random tidbits about me (not the ones below) are sprinkled into my fiction.

So here is a totally “random” list of (more than 7) things you never needed to know about me :

  • As a kid in school, I would always take the “dare” in “Truth or Dare” game because it was much more fun;
  • I give great advice but don’t always follow it myself – go figure, eh?;
  • I love listening to James Taylor on a rainy day – I have no clue why;

Photo credit: rocor via Foter.com / CC BY-NC

  • I’ve never shaved my legs because I don’t need to – I’m blessed that the hairy leg fairy skipped me;

Photo credit: Caro’s Lines via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

  • A waitress at The Cheesecake Factory once refused to serve me a margarita because I was “underage”. The waitress was 23 and I was 35. My friends had a good laugh and I made sure that I got that drink for free;

Photo credit: Simon Greig Photo via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

  • I could be bribed with a family sized bag of M&M’s, a pint of Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk or a big handful of Walkers shortbread cookies. Giving me all three at the same time could be dangerous for you and for me;
  • My favorite old school love songs still make me melt each and every time I hear them, like this one that I could still play on repeat:

 

  • If you think that you’ve painted me into a corner, think again;

  • Purple was my favorite color long before Prince’s “Purple Rain” – Prince stole “purple” from me;

Photo credit: Foter.com

  • I’ve been known to say absolutely ridiculous things with a straight face to “gossipers” just to see how information would be spun;

 

  • I can never decide what I want on a menu and am likely to change my mind a bunch of times before the waiter takes the order. It’s not my fault. I’m a Libra.

Photo credit: Foter.com

  • I often get asked by people I barely know about my ______ and how they can get their _____ like mine. It has happened, more than once, that someone has gotten into my personal space and has touched my ______ , taking me totally off guard before I could even react. Not cool. You can try to fill in the blanks but I will give you this hint…

…it has nothing to do with my hair. And if you ask me nicely, I may tell you what it is…

Whoa, who knew that being “random” was this difficult? But at least #Bar-A-Thon #2 out of 7 is now complete (and ahead of schedule)!

Let me know if you liked this post and maybe, just maybe, I’ll do a favorites list… 🙂

All Rights Reserved ©2017 Marquessa Matthews.

Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.

If you enjoy my fiction and are interested in receiving a free novella, “Living To Die” after I’ve completed the self-publishing process, please sign up for my newsletter by email .

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Tell Me Why – #writerwednesday #reblogs #amblogging

A part of me has a HUGE pet peeve with certain blogs that I just can’t overcome…

EditingAndLayout tv no scared awkward

http://giphy.com/gifs/editingandlayout-ly8G39g1ujpNm

I love it when some of you reblog my posts.

If I didn’t want you to, I wouldn’t enable the “reblog” function on my posts. And if YOU have the “reblog” function enabled, I assume that you are of the same thinking.

But I’ll be very honest.

A part of me has a HUGE pet peeve when my work is reblogged on blogs/sites that do not have original content created by the owner of the blogger himself/herself.

When I say “no original content”, I truly mean “absolutely no original content” by the owner of the blog:

  • No poetry or fiction that took the owner of the blog hours to ponder, draft and finally post;
  • No essays or commentary on current events that took energy to present the pros, cons and their personal opinions by the blog owner;
  • No book or movie reviews that involved hours of reading and watching of movies by blog owner; and
  • No vlogs that took time to make, edit and post…

The blogs to which I’m referring oftentimes don’t even have a common thread that links any of the reblogs together so it’s basically a collection of other people’s hard work!

It bothers me because I pour a lot of time, energy and love into my blog posts and it feels as though someone is simply scooping them up to fill in gaps on their blogs or increase the number of followers to their site.

It bothers me because they don’t even offer an introductory statement stating why they are reblogging someone else’s post.

If I reblog someone’s post, I redirect readers back to the blogger’s original post to comment – that it is the right thing to do.

I may be wrong to feel this way but I can’t help it. It’s simply the truth.

And while I’m at it, below are three blogs I enjoy that encourage networking, they often reblog quality content from others and they have great original content of their own:

An Opinionated Man

Dream Big, Dream Often

The Story Reading Ape

Enjoy!

All Rights Reserved ©2017 Marquessa Matthews.

 

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Great Sex Requires Effort #sex #love #romance #weekendcoffeeshare

Just enough intensity …anticipating what will happen next …before diving deeper…visualizing just how …

love girl kawaii heart hearts

*This updated post from February 2017 now includes a link to a short scene I wrote*

Rekindling passion was part of my 52 Things In 52 Weeks challenge, that is, my passion for reading.

I signed up for a Kindle Unlimited because I’m always hearing about how writers should read outside of their genre and it seemed the most efficient way to have access to tons of books.

Mind you, I’m guessing my genre of writing fits into “women’s fiction” but I knew that I couldn’t go wrong with choosing books under the “romance” category. Or so I thought…

I think that the definition of “romance” may have changed when I wasn’t looking.

I started and stopped reading a number of books after just a few chapters, either because lots of Easter Eggs and back story were given away within the first few pages or because the book was simply a string of sex scenes strung together by an anemic storyline.

Call me old-fashioned but great sex scenes in a novel require more than sexually explicit words tossed carelessly onto a page. Or a bed.

In my opinion, writing a great sex scene requires effort, patience and some kind of love thrown into the mix in order to give the characters a happy ending.

That pun was totally intended! 🙂

But there was one e-book that had me shaking my head at just how quickly things unfolded and then deflated.

The breakdown of the book?

4% : Female character (FC) tells her boyfriend that she’s pregnant and the boyfriend dumps her.

6%: FC gets upset, storms out, has a minor accident and is helped by a sexy rugged stranger who takes her home because he lives nearby.

11%: FC tells sexy man her entire story and that she is pregnant. There’s a storm brewing so sexy man insists that she stay in his guest room.

13%: FC and sexy man fall into bed. He declares his love for her and tells her that he is ready and willing to love her and her baby.

Really?

All of that at the 13% of the book? Isn’t that a little quick? Where could the rest of the story possibly go?

I was curious enough to speed read through the rest of the 87% so I really can tell you where the rest of the story went:

Spiraling fast downhill until it crashed and burned.

  • No tense sensual build up between the characters.
  • No slow burn towards that first kiss.
  • No flirty moments between the two characters.

Nothing. Nada. Nein.

I’m not looking for the chaste vanilla of the Harlequin romance books my Granny devoured or the BDSM of Fifty Shades of Grey. There’s nothing wrong with themthey just aren’t my preference.

I can do without the 20 different words to describe the same body part and the blow-by-blow accounts of which body part went where and at what frequency…

I like my “romance” with just enough intensity between main characters that leaves me anticipating what will happen next between them. Romantic scenes that make me want to read and reread certain scenes before diving deeper into the book. Visualizing just how a scene would unfold in my mind.

Less is more.

And a little imagination is good for the soul.

Update: When I reread this post, I decided to write a “sexy” short story. Inspired by being on the beach, I started with one sexy scene and worked my way back to drafting a story line. 

If you’re interested and over 18+, feel free to take a read via the link below.

*Mature 18+ content warning*

Straight, No Chaser

All Rights Reserved ©2017 Marquessa Matthews.

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Ch…Ch…Ch…Changes #writerwednesday #writerslife

I’ve been doing lots of reading about the world of self-publishing and other related eye-opening tidbits of information.

I had heard that it was daunting but now I can see that it is also layered, multifaceted and complicated.

But I’m not deterred.

Now that I have a better understanding of what it involved, I’m realizing that not only will I need to tweak my blog but I will also need to focus on the inner workings of Amazon and building my Mailchimp email list.

In the interim, I’ll also continue re-purposing older posts when I’m busy offline finalizing my “Living to Die” project.

Happy Hump Day…meaning Wednesday, of course. 🙂

M   xoxo

All Rights Reserved ©2017 Marquessa Matthews.

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If You Subscribe To My Newsletter… #weekendcoffeeshare #writerslife

I’m back!

For those of you following me on Instagram, thanks for keeping up and enjoying all the pretty pictures and videos I posted. I am now suffering from a post-vacation-lack-of-the-sun-sand-ocean-beach mini-depression

Oh well, the memories will give me something to think back to on raining days like today…and give me an excuse to start planning the next trip! 🙂

Back to today’s share…

Today’s post is to clarify what my newsletter by email is all about.

If you enjoy my fiction and are interested in my journey to become a published author, you should sign up for my newsletter which I send about twice a month.

By subscribing to the newsletter by email, you will receive :

  • a free copy of the Living To Die” novella I’m revising right now and planning on self-publishing;
  • insider news and advance access to excerpts and sample chapters of stories I’m developing;
  • a chance to be beta readers and provide your feedback on plots, storylines and character names;
  • access to a “For Subscribers Only” Page (under development).

As you can see, the newsletter is different than just signing up to receive my WordPress blog posts to your inbox.

I hope to see you back here and on the newsletter email list too!

Have a wonderful weekend!

M  xoxo

All Rights Reserved ©2017 Marquessa Matthews.

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“Who’s Laughing Now?” #bully #meangirl

 

Image result for Who laughs last, laughs loudest.

credit to and found at: http://www.idiomsandslang.com/he-who-laughs-last-laughs-best/

Who’s Laughing Now?

*inspired by Who’s Laughing Now? (video below)

The woman was plump, had a face full of wrinkles and looked beyond dowdy in her washed out yoga pants and oversized T-shirt. She stood shaking her head in frustration as her children raced up and down the grocery aisle. It was obvious that she wanted to crucify them but she seemed too tired to deal with them as they screamed and darted around people’s grocery carts.

Something about her felt familiar and I wondered from where I knew her. As I continued to scan the shelf for what I needed for the weekend, I eliminated the possibilities. She wasn’t from my university days, past jobs or from elementary school where everyone knew each other. High school was the only feasible place left and I immediately knew who she was – Eva the bully.

Eva was an older girl who had bullied me when I first started high school. She was in the graduating class and had taken a “liking” to me, taunting me in the meanest ways possible on the bus and whenever our paths would cross in the school hallways. I was her perfect target – young fresh meat, four years younger than her and one out of the handful of Black kids in the entire school. Her insults always focused my “blackness” – how ugly and Medusa-like my braids were, how my skin was brown like a monkey and anything else that came to her nasty little mind. Eva was a class act with her promises to beat me up if I opened my mouth and told on her. Yes, she was a first class mean girl who had a good laugh at my expense.

But even at that age, I knew better than to give her what she wanted  – the satisfaction of scaring me, even if I was on the inside. But when pretending not to care only aggravated her more, she doubled up on her efforts and I had no choice to get the family involved. I couldn’t live on pins and needles until she graduated. She was already as dumb as a doorknob – what if she failed and had to repeat her grade…what would happen then?

I must have been deep in thought and staring at her while I took that 30 year trip down memory lane because I found her staring curiously right back at me.

“Do we know each other?” Eva had the nerve to smile and it irked the shit out of me.

I was about to shake my head with a “no” and simply go about my business but when one of her kids crashed into me and kept running, it ignited a fire in the pit of my stomach. I found myself approaching her.

“I’m sure that you won’t remember me but I definitely remember you. You’re Eva, right?” I smiled.

“Yeah, I am. How do we know each other?”

I couldn’t help but smile even wider.

“You were the racist bitch that bullied me in my first year of high school. It’s hard to forget a face as ugly as yours.”

Eva’s face quickly changed from a smile to shock. From her wide eyes, she was confused at how the words coming out of my words were not corresponding with the smile plastered on my face. She opened her mouth but couldn’t form a full sentence.

“What?”

“I said that you were the racist bitch that bullied me in my first year of high school,” I repeated a little louder, attracting the attention of a young couple standing nearby.

She tried to recognize my face from all those years ago, probably flashing back to what and who she had been back then and maybe to what and who she still was.

“You were nothing less than a monster but from the looks of it, you’re living a nightmare of your own. And you definitely deserve it. You reap what you sow.”

I pointed to her kids spitting out f* bombs at each other like they were candy, fighting over something from the shelf down the aisle. I didn’t give a flying fig that the couple watching were fully fascinated by my words and were looking at Eva in disgust.

I gave Eva my back and returned to where I had left my cart a few steps away, feeling her eyes on me the entire time. From the corner of my eye, I could see her standing motionless, unsure of what to do and looking extremely embarrassed. I finished taking down what I needed and glanced back at her.

“Have yourself a wonderful day Eva,” I told her and walked away to the cashier.

No, it’s not true that I walked away.

I strutted my way down the grocery aisle, my stride overflowing with satisfaction.

You know what they say, he who laughs last, laughs best…

All Rights Reserved©2016 Marquessa Matthews.

Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos directly above. No copyright infringement intended.

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Reflections on the 2017 A to Z Challenge #atozchallenge @AprilA2Z #atozchallenge2017

As part of the 2017 A to Z Challenge, participants are asked to provide their “Reflections” on their experience.

This is a quick post to share mine and to provide my humble suggestions to the A to Z Challenge organizers for 2018.

Let’s talk about my experience…

I started off strong and ahead of the game with “A”, “B”, “C” and “D”, using a flash fiction piece “Living To Die”, as a base for 26 posts to serialize the story. When I first posted “Living To Die – An Intro to Kate”, it was a one-time stand-alone piece. But after a trip to Hawaii, I thought it would be cool to incorporate little Hawaiian details into a story and so I picked on “Kate”. I had no set storyline and/or ideas except wanting to tackle a more “serious” topic and explore someone’s regrets when death is banging at the door. I took countless hours perfecting those first four posts to my liking but I didn’t mind being behind the schedule I had set for myself because I was proud of my work.

But life took a turn and a health scare forced me to truly think about some of the same questions I was throwing at Kate. I got stuck and my pen became very, very heavy. I found myself struggling to write because in the back of my mind, I was thinking, “Could I be writing certain things into my own existence?”

Is that crazy or what?

Somewhere in the midst of it all and to distract myself, I came up with the idea of introducing “Kate” to “Galen”.  While I waited to find out if things were okay health-wise (they were), the distracting of having to think through Galen’s “purpose” gave the story an unexpected “spin”, one that I had not planned on.

And if you read the Epilogue, you know what I mean. 🙂

All in all, the A to Z Challenge started out smoothly, hit a few bumps but ended well with content I can revise into a novella. I’m exhausted and happy it’s over but I do look forward to next year. Now, it’s time to revise and edit!

Thank you to all who followed the story and became so invested! I truly appreciated your ongoing feedback and commentary.

Let’s talk about the technicalities of the A to Z Challenge…

Kudos to the A to Z Challenge organizers! And congratulations to all those who survived and won!

I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of hours and work that they put in to ensure that everything runs smoothly. This year, the organizers decided to make a big change to the “link posting” process as a way to make the administrative side of things easier for them – which is totally understandable.

If you don’t try new approaches, there can be no progress, right?

I’ll try my best to avoid pointing out what I felt worked/didn’t work during this year’s challenge.

Instead I’m posting what my ideal wish list would look like for the 2018 A to Z Challenge:

  • Limiting links to the A to Z Challenge Facebook Group ONLY.
    • Having to post links on FB + the A to Z Challenge website + the A to Z Challenge WordPress site, more than once I was tempted to simply post my link in the FB Group and call it a day…well, it was more like call it a night.
  • Time Zone Confusion Equality
    • Initially, I was confused when I saw the official “letter drop” the day before it was due at 3PM. Then, I realized that it was because I am in Eastern Standard Time but still often found myself forgetting and posting “early” thinking that I was behind! 🙂 I would love to see the letter drop more  “in the middle” of the road for all so that it is late for some, on time for others and early for the rest of the participants.
  • A return to Category Codes.
    • “Category codes” would make it easier to focus on blogs that truly pique our interest. For example, I write a lot of fiction and also have an interest in reading other people’s fiction so by placing a “category” next to our linky, it would be easier for others to know right away if they want to read or not. As an example, here is the introduction I used and what I added in bold is only as an illustration of what I propose:

There were even a few blogger-writers who took the initiative to list “fiction” participants on their own blogs as a way to make the differentiation. I’ll be doubling back to give all of those a read…

Generalized categories like “Fiction/Poetry”, “Blogging/Writing”, “Travel”, etc. would help me with my “blog follow” choices. Sure, I like to read the occasional post about pets and mommy blogs but not necessarily 26 posts in a row about them.

Sorry… uh, not sorry.

  • A Call to Action to all A to Z Survivors on Facebook
    • In addition to the “Reflections” post, I would love to see the A to Z organizers ask all “survivors” who completed all letters on time to say it on a specific FB post. Besides bragging rights, it would be a place where participants like me who plan on “doubling back” to read “completed” challenges. I’ll be honest, I find it frustrating when I start following a blog, look forward to more and then the blogger/writer goes MIA…

Those are my thoughts in a nutshell on a rainy Sunday morning!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

M  xoxo

 

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