Sunday, July 10, 2016

Adapting to Culture--Or Not...

So last weekend I attended a Timorese backyard going away party for some expat friends who are returning to Australia. It was my first party of this sort. Everyone brought heaps of food and as people of all ages arrived, everyone mingled. But then I began to observe something that startled me. All the girls and women migrated to one side of the yard while the men and boys took seats on the other side. I was tired and not feeling very sociable and just wanted to relax with my Timorese fiancé. But I didn't want to offend anyone. I asked him if it was okay to stay where I was. He put his arm around me. I took that as a yes and stayed put. Then it was time to eat. Women first. Which is not the cultural norm. It's just the way it is amongst my peeps. I asked and was told that the norm is men first. Still I felt odd eating while my fiancé waited. The guys didn't go get food until the gals were finished. I tried not to judge, but I must admit--I was a bit bothered. And another thing was bothering me. 

One of the things I noticed right away when I moved here five months ago is that all the women and girls have gorgeous long hair that they wear pulled back in a tight bun. It's hot and humid, but none of them have short hair. I asked a young friend why that was. She just shrugged. I had been thinking of cutting my long hair because of the heat and I was tired of always wearing it "up". So over the weekend I cut it short. And when I arrived at a meeting with my Timorese friends today, my teenage girlfriends looked at me a bit shocked and kept touching my short hair. None of them said anything. No one else did either. The big test, I suppose, will come tomorrow morning when I meet up with my Timorese fiancé who was out-of-town this weekend. I'm curious how he will react. This can be a big deal to men, regardless of culture, right? I've told him many times that even though I am doing my best to adapt to this culture, I can never become a Timorese woman. Cutting my hair is just one of the many tests of this cross cultural relationship adventure. 
Three of my beautiful teenage friends

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

My Huge Adventurous Life Change

Yes, my dear ones, I've been gone for a very, very long time. I hope all of you lovely followers haven't given up on me. And I also hope you will enjoy joining me on this adventure of a lifetime--living and writing the expat life in Dili, Timor Leste. Please let me know you are still with me. Please feel free to ask me questions. I love talking about this gorgeous island of children! 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

March Madness Day 30!!!

Okay, so it's been a long time since I've posted a recent picture of my darling cat. Right now he's waiting for me to close the laptop and give him a couple of treats. Does he look impatient? He is. And so am I, by nature. When I first started writing I was also delusional. I thought I'd be published within a year or two. Like most newbies, I was so impatient that I made some stupid mistakes.

Learning to be super patient with our writing and with the crazy world of publishing is imperative if we are going to endure. So let's talk patience here. When my impatience starts causing anxiety, I have to step back and focus my attention elsewhere for a spell. Writing is not my life. It is a part of my life that brings me much joy--when I'm patient with it. Kinda like a small child. ^+^

Congratulations to all of you for enduring to the end of the month. That took patience! Now here's the question of the day:  what do you do when you get impatient with your writing career?

Don't forget our last check-in tomorrow at L.S. Taylor's.  

Sunday, March 23, 2014

March Madness Day 23

Sometimes You Just Gotta Do It 

Now you all can see what I did yesterday afternoon and let me tell you, it was the hardest thing I've done in a LONG TIME. Don't get me wrong, I love dressing up as an alien and entertaining children, but yesterday I was absolutely not in the mood. By 2 pm all I wanted to do was crawl into bed and take a nap. I still haven't recovered from being sick plus I've had one of the busiest weeks ever. Pass me a tissue, right? We're all busy and tired. 

So what's my point? Sometimes we must write, even when we don't feel like it. I admit that's been true for me at least 11 of my 22 writing days this month. But as you're all aware, if you wait for the "right mood" chances are you may never finish a project. 

And just for the record, me and the kids ended up having loads of fun yesterday. Isn't that what often happens when we put our butts in the chair and get to work? We often end up having fun in the end. 


See you tomorrow over at L.S. Taylor's blog

Sunday, March 16, 2014

March Madness Day 16 Check-In

How do you climb a mountain? One step at a time!
Writing a novel, revising, seeking publication, getting published, marketing and promoting that novel--it's like climbing a tall, rugged mountain. You could probably do it alone, but it's much easier and way more encouraging to make that climb with others who will support you along the way, don't you agree?
That's what March Madness is all about. It's not just about attaining daily writing goals and checking in, it's about meeting fellow climbers--writers who are trekking step-by-step to meet those same goals. Over the years I've found some great partners here with whom I've been joyfully hiking the publication mountain.
So this post is about making connections. Please feel free to share with us how to connect with you via Twitter, Facebook, your Blog, or wherever else we can find you!

AND. . . I'd like to give away another prize from our huge prize arsenal today! Today's winner is...
Jennifer Pickrell!
Congratulations, Jennifer! Stop by our goal-setting post, and choose your prize from those still listed. Email Denise at d(at)denisejaden(dot)com with your choice and we'll get it out to you as soon as possible.
And if you didn't win, there are still LOTS of great prizes to be won, so keep checking in each day...

So how have things been going this weekend?
Don't forget to check in tomorrow at L.S. Taylor's blog

Sunday, March 9, 2014

March Madness Day 9

Ten years ago, before I started writing fiction, I experimented with a variety of creative outlets. Drawing flowers with colored pencils on black paper was one. Over the years I've sang, danced, played several instruments, written music, cooked, painted, flower-gardened, and written loads of poetry. My latest thing is the celtic harp.

This week I did something new and completely outside my comfort zone. Curiosity led me to participate in a local poetry slam. The fifty or so people who gathered at the downtown coffee house were mostly English majors from the university. Yesterday, Carol blogged about voice. I found the majority of poets who read Wednesday night had the exact same voice, same rhythm, same theme. I got bored really fast. When my number came up, I read something I'd written as flash fiction a couple years ago. When I finished reading, the room went silent. I knew I'd shocked and disturbed. That was my intention. Will I ever attend a poetry slam again? Probably not. But maybe I'll use the experience in some future scene in some future novel. Maybe. In the meantime, I've fallen behind with my March Madness goal and must catch up!

So dear ones, do you have other creative outlets? Do you try new things? Does curiosity lead you down new paths? What new thing have you tried lately? How's the March Madness coming along?

Don't forget to check in tomorrow at L.S. Taylor's blog

Monday, March 3, 2014

Denise Jaden's FAST FICTION Blog Tour

Rather than doing a traditional interview-filled blog tour, Denise Jaden is celebrating the release of her new nonfiction writing book, FAST FICTION, by dropping tips about writing quickly at every stop of her blog tour, and offering some awesome prizes for commenting on any of these posts (including this one!)

The more you drop by and comment, the more chances you have to win these great prizes:

Denise's Fast Fiction Tip: Keep Inspiration Handy!
When I fast draft, I like to have lots of inspirational materials nearby. These include some favorite novels, so I can read a page or two when I need a reminder of why I write books. I also search for pictures of my characters and settings and paste those up around my office. Sometimes I’ll make an entire setting board, or a map of the town I’m writing about. I also like to make up a “wordle” of any theme words that I think are relevant to my work in progress. Surrounding myself with all of these things helps to give me a push, just when I need it. Sitting back from my laptop, even if I’m feeling discouraged, seeing the world of my novel around me usually gets me quickly back on track. 

The Prizes:

  • Compliments of New World Library: They will be giving away A BOX of copies of FAST FICTION by Denise Jaden and GET IT DONE by Sam Bennett (US and Canada only):
  • Compliments of Denise Jaden, TWO BOXES of great fiction (US Only). Details on Denise's blog.
  • Audiobook copies of NEVER ENOUGH by Denise Jaden!
  • A critique of your first five pages, compliments of Denise's agent, Michelle Humphrey from The Martha Kaplan Agency!

All you have to do is enter the rafflecopter for a chance to win (at the bottom of this post, I've included links to all of the other blogs where you can comment for more chances to win).

About Fast Fiction:

Writers flock to National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) each November because it provides a procrastination-busting deadline. But only a fraction of the participants meet their goal. Denise Jaden was part of that fraction, writing first drafts of her two published young adult novels during NaNoWriMo. In Fast Fiction, she shows other writers how to do what she did, step-by-step, writer to writer. Her process starts with a prep period for thinking through plot, theme, characters, and setting. Then Jaden provides day-by-day coaching for the thirty-day drafting period. Finally, her revision tips help writers turn merely workable drafts into compelling and publishable novels.

A portion of publisher proceeds will be donated to National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)

Praise for Fast Fiction:

“Fast Fiction is filled with stellar advice, solid-gold tips, and doable, practical exercises for all writers who want to draft a complete novel.”
— Melissa Walker, author of Violet on the Runway

“Being a ‘pantser’ I have always resisted outlining, but I have to say that Fast Fiction changed my mind! Denise Jaden takes what I find to be a scary process (outlining) and makes it into an easy and, dare I say, enjoyable one. Fast Fiction is a hands-on book that asks the right questions to get your mind and your story flowing. I know I’ll be using Fast Fiction over and over again. Highly recommended for fiction writers!
— Janet Gurtler, author of RITA Award finalist I’m Not Her

“Fast Fiction is full of strategies and insights that will inspire and motivate writers of every experience level — and best of all, it provides them with a solid plan to quickly complete the first draft of their next novel.”
— Mindi Scott, author of Freefall

“Fast Fiction provides writers with the perfect mix of practical guidance and the kick in the pants they need to finish that draft. This book is a must-have for writers of all levels.”
— Eileen Cook, author of The Almost Truth

Practical and down-to-earth, Denise Jaden’s Fast Fiction makes a one-month draft seem doable, even for beginners, any month of the year.”
— Jennifer Echols, author of Endless Summer and Playing Dirty

“One of the greatest challenges any writer faces is getting a great idea out of one’s brain and onto the page. Fast Fiction breaks that process down into concrete, manageable steps, each accompanied by Denise Jaden’s sage advice and enthusiastic encouragement. And anything that helps streamline the drafting process is a-okay by me! Fast Fiction is a great addition to any writer’s toolbox — I’ve got it in mine!”
— Catherine Knutsson, author of Shadows Cast by Stars

“Forget the fact that this resource is directed at those wanting to complete a fast draft — if you’re out to get your novel done, period, Jaden’s Fast Fiction will be the kick in the butt that gets you there, from story plan to ‘The End’. . . and beyond.”
— Judith Graves, author of the Skinned series for young adults

Where you can find Fast Fiction:

Blog Tour Stops:
Comment on any of the following blog posts celebrating Fast Fiction's release to be entered to win prizes galore! 
(All Fast Fiction blog posts should be live by March 9th, or sooner. Contest will be open until March 15th. If any links don't work, stop by for updated links.)

GCC Blogs:

Additional Participating Blogs:

Remember, all you have to do is leave comments to get lots of extra entries to win some great prizes. 
Don't know what to comment about? Tell us the name of your favorite writing book!

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