Friday, January 30, 2009

Random Friday

We have drifting roads, closed schools and things piling up to do inside, but I worked a little on my Facebook page last night and this post comes from that. I still am learning about it. I also recently started Twitter (see to the right) and like everyone else, I'm learning, and wondering, is it worth my time? There is so much I want to do.

I have 5 books I'm reading for review for Church Libraries magazine, and I'm working on creating my own fiction--at last. It is a daunting proposition. Contemporary? Suspense? Comedy? Historical? Romance? Ok, now you know what I like to read. But I've helped several people go on to be published, so this is one of those lofty goals I dreamed about as a teen for myself. Time is a'tickin'. I actually wrote in the school newspaper that I wanted to write The Great American Novel. LOL. Now that is being idealistic and dreamy. But a gal's gotta try.

So on Facebook I was tagged a few times to write Random Things about myself. Here it is from that page:

I have on my blog 100 Things About Crystal
but I'll just do 25 here:

Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you, or you may have tagged me.

If you have Facebook, do this:

(To do this, go to "notes" under tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your 25 random things, tag 25 people [in the right hand corner of the app] then click publish.)

My 25
1. I am of Swedish, Norwegian, English, Irish, Scotch and Cherokee descent.I hope to use this in my own fiction, though I'm not sure I want to write my own historical fiction, but it's of my favorites to read.

2. I am a second generation American on my mother's side, who was Swedish and Norwegian and from Minnesota. My dad was from Tennessee and from a family who had lived in this country for generations, some on the same land that is still in our family with a graveyard of family dating back to the 1700s. They met in Indiana. I love stories of my family.

3. I won third place in an art contest in 6th grade where my teacher argued with his artist sister(the other judge) that my drawing was "too real" to be art. He didn't want to give me a prize at all; she wanted to give me first place. My prize was a compromise and he told me about it. It was a drawing of a man walking to his cabin with an ax over his shoulder, next to a lake with pine trees. I can still see it in my mind's eye. The picture is long gone. I still would like a cabin by a lake.

3. I competed in trapshooting tournaments around the country. I own my own Perazzi competition grade shotgun. It has a single barrel and double barrels that I can interchange to shoot either single clay targets or double clay targets thrown in the air from a traphouse.

4. I have owned 4 different competition grade shotguns: Ljutic, Kreighoff and 2 Perazzis.

5. I love the Italian Perazzi gunmakers who come to America every summer for the Grand American. I just look at them, look at their guns and smell the great food they are cooking in their building. I have talked to them a couple times about my gun that their family business made.

6. I once talked to a master German gunmaker on the phone about my shotgun, which was misfiring. He fixed it. He was very nice and actually listened to me.

7. I was trained by one of the top champions in trapshooting in the world, Kay Ohye. He believed in me as a shooter. Competition trapshooting takes a lot of time and money. I've competed in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee and with the top competitors in the world, including my husband's family members. Two of my trapshooting buddies have died. One died this week. Ken is now "breaking 'em all!"

8. I learned to play the guitar when I was 12. My teacher, who later went to Nashville to try and be a songwriter, made me write my own songs and sing while playing my guitar.

9. I learned a lot of Neil Diamond songs because my guitar teacher loved Neil Diamond. His dog, a very large St. Bernard, loved ME and would slobber on my arm. My guitar teacher's wife would bring me a towel.

10. I took guitar back up when I was 45 but haven't played lately. I sometimes play bass in our band.

11. I've played and sang with a band. Our band has been paid money to play.

12. I'm not that good, but my family are all good at music and singing. My sons have their own bands, too.

13. My Tennessee family did not like my name Crystal and I really wasn't called Crystal until I married Chris over 25 years ago. They called me Crissy or Cris. I spelled my name "Chris" when I went to public school because I thought it was cool and my chance to be myself.

14. I love Southern food.

15. I also love Italian food.

16. I love to eat avocados,tomatoes, almonds, Herdez salsa, anything lime-flavored and Lay's Potato Chips. My favorite flavor is lime--anything with lime. I prefer salty and sour over sweet, but I love creme brulee dessert. I like coffee black, and did not drink it until I was 28 years old. I love Real Coca-Cola and will drink a Coke anytime! I might drink a diet Lime Coke, but hate Diet anything. I also love raspberry iced tea. Love to eat at all kinds of restaurants and talk to the chefs. My favorite thing to do is go out to eat with my husband, and our friends, Gary and Sue. I also love going with our boys, who make me laugh.

17. I once considered being a vegetarian like my mother's family, but I loved ham, bacon, sausage and hamburgers too much. But I sometimes will eat vegetarian for periods of time because it seems to make me lose weight!I think my body is suited for a vegetarian diet.

18. My favorite books as an elementary student were these childhood biographical historical fiction books and I have never seen them again as an adult. They were about historical people as children. My second favorite books were Little House on the Prairie books. However, my favorite stories, hands-down, were stories my mother told while I sat eating or drawing at the kitchen table. I've collected some of those stories from other family members, too, and found a whole line of our Irish family clear back to County Cavan in Ireland.

19. I sketched pictures all the time as a child. It was my favorite thing to do. I still sometimes sketch in my margins while taking notes. My HS art teacher wanted me to be an art major. I have a son who is now an art major in drawing. I have paintings from family who were artists, including my son and a former student named Erin.

20. My sixth grade teacher read to us Edgar Allan Poe stories and I was totally won over. I don't remember any other stories my teacher read, although he read to us every day after lunch recess.

21. The first book I bought through Scholastic Book Club in 6th grade (the year I went to public school, I was in a Christian school my first 5 years of school) was My Life and Hard Times by James Thurber. I still have that book. I thought he was hysterically funny. No one else got it--either the book or his humor.

22. I also loved anything written by Mark Twain. I did dozens of reports on him, including a paper in college. I still have a notebook I did on him.

23. I was in college when I first heard of C.S. Lewis. My cousin, Darrol, gave me a set of his outer space trilogy. I didn't know that I loved fantasy and science fiction until then. I have worked as a judge, book doctor and editor in the category of Christian speculative/ sci fi/ fantasy fiction.

24. I worked in the high school library for three years and read almost everything in there. I particularly remember East of Eden by John Steinbeck. James Dean, who was from our hometown, became famous in the movie based on that book. I read the book before I saw the movie.

25. I've published over 800 book reviews in magazines, wrote a book review column and parenting column, as well as many articles. I work as a freelance Christian fiction reader/editor/book doctor on assignment.

Here's a photo of me as a student teacher at Park Elementary. That was a lonnnnnnnnnnnnng time ago once upon a time. School pictures--gotta love 'em.

I'm supposed to tag people, but here's the deal--if you want to do this, go ahead and then mention where you got it. I'll come comment on yours!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Jumpstart Your Dreams

Many people ask me how they can get published, and sometimes I even have worked with fiction authors in various capacities to progress to this goal. I also list books for them to read to move them along to that goal--to be published.

Now my friend, W. Terry Whalin, has a book out that will help you to reach your goal of being published. For many years he's given advice and tips on his blog The Writing Life. Check this video trailer out and get this book to Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


My blog has been awarded the "Premio-Dardas" Award today by LeAnne of Beauty and the Beholder. If you have ever seen LeAnne's blogs, you've already seen what comprises very beautifully written and artistically-laid out blogs. I am so honored and not even in the same category.

Here is what is said about the Premio-Dardas:
"This award 'acknowledges the values that every Blogger displays in their effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values with each message they write.'

Awards like this have been created with the intention of promoting community among Bloggers. It's a way to show appreciation and gratitude for work that adds value to the Web.

I understand this award comes with a couple of rules, and they are:

1. Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who granted it to you, along with his/her blog link.

CM: Ok, accepted!

2. Pass the award to (15) other blogs that you feel are worthy of this recognition. Remember to contact each of them to let them know they have been chosen as recipients.

*Please note: when copying the award picture, please download it to your own computer first and upload from there to your own blog site.

Like LeAnne, I find my time limited today more than usual as I'm on a deadline, but I have a list handy (also check my blog list to the right!) I'm passing the award along to these bloggers and even if they don't have time to accept and pass it along, these are blogs to check out:

1. Camy Tang at Camy's Loft

2. Sabrina Fox at Hijinks in the Heartland

3. Cara Putman at Cara's Musings

4. Lee Warren at Little Nuances

5. Robin Lee Hatcher's Write Thinking

6. Rachel Hauck at Rachel Hauck

7. Richard Mabry, M.D. at Random Jottings

8. Jamie Carie at The Preacher's Daughter

9. Sharon Lavy at I Dream of Writing for God

10. Jude Urbanski at Hey, Jude!

11. Susan J. Reinhardt at Christian Reader/Writer Connection

12. Christine Lindsay at Christine Lindsay

13. Gina Conroy at Portrait of a Writer...Interrupted

14. D.C. (Dave) Weiss at Amokarts (A.M.O.K. Arts)

15. Rachelle at Seek His Kingdom

Thanks, LeAnne, for passing the "Premio Dardas" to me. Now to go around to let these folks know!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Drawing for a Free Evaluation of Your Fiction Proposal

For a chance to win an evaluation of your proposal by professional freelance reader,ME, visit Seekerville Monday, January 12.

All you have to do to enter the drawing is read my guest post, "Dare Your Reader to Risk Reading Your Book" that's chock full of tips on getting past a publisher's or agent's reader and then leave a comment on that post (the one by me.)

The drawing will take place on Wednesday, January 14. Janet Dean will draw one winner for an evaluation of the first three chapters and synopsis of your manuscript. And if you don't need an evaluation of your fiction proposal, then just come by to say hi or add a comment.

Seekers always has some great advice and posts on writing (last week was fabulous!) so it's one of my favorites listed over at the right. I'm honored that they asked me to guest blog.

Friday, January 02, 2009

4 X 4

I swiped this meme off another blog, my good friend Nancy at Anchors, Signposts & Wanderings. You're supposed to post the 4th photo in your 4th file and then share the story about it.

So this is the fourth file, fourth photo:

This is my mother as a toddler. It's one of the very few photos my mother had of herself as a young person. She was the youngest daughter in a family of 10 kids. Her mother was the second wife of Aaron Pierson. His first wife died of TB and left 5 small children.

My great-grandparents (Ane and Bernt) and their daughter(my grandmother, Anna) went to Aaron's church and helped him out with his five young children after his wife's death, and so, Aaron married my grandmother. Then, they had five children, making 10 kids! My mother was the fourth child born to Anna and Aaron(they had one more, a son,) so Anna asked the older kids what they wanted to name my mother. They picked their sister's name--Lillian Arlene--a child who was the sixth child in the first family who died as an infant. My mother said it was strange to see her own name on a tombstone in the family plots!

My mother didn't have her mother very long. Her mom, not long after having another child (the son mentioned above) had TB and died when my mother was almost 6. Her older sisters, who had gone through this experience, too, you think would've been more compassionate to this small girl who was only 5 when losing her mother, but they often were cruel and harsh to her. On the morning of her 6th birthday she came down the stairs, sat at the table, expecting the same birthday delights that my grandmother always did for all the children--fixed them whatever they wanted for breakfast and making them Queen or King of the day. No. The older girls (teens and young 20s) snapped, "You're a big girl now. Get your own breakfast. You don't have your mother anymore." Harsh reality.

They continued their harsh treatment of my mother even after I came along--I got to witness it and feel the brunt of their disdain, as well. Certainly when my mother also got TB you would have thought they would take care of me--but no, and thank God that my dad's parents took me and loved me as their own child.

But this little girl was obviously happy, and her mother, though managing as a farm wife with nine-soon-to-be-ten children of various ages, delighted in birthdays and her carrier pigeons pets and a husband who was older but funny, despite having a hard life of his own. I think my mother looks happy and cared for, don't you? She has no idea of what is to come, but I do think she adopted her own mother's attitudes, despite being so young when she lost her.

So, do you want to play? If you have a blog, you might try this--find the fourth file and fourth picture and tell about it. Leave your link if you do.