About Marcy Kennedy

Posts by Marcy Kennedy:

The Most Underestimated Key to Success from The Matrix

Of all the cool parts in The Matrix, the one that many people remember is the “there is no spoon” scene.

Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) takes Neo (Keanu Reeves) to meet the Oracle, whose purpose is to help The One who will finally bring down the Matrix. While waiting for the Oracle to see him, Neo sits with a boy who seems to be bending and warping a spoon. It looked like the boy was doing something magical, something Neo could never do.

“Do not try and bend the spoon,” the boy says to Neo. “That’s impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth.”

“What truth?” Neo asks.

“There is no spoon.”

All that stood in the way of Neo being able to do what the boy did…was Neo. When Neo changed his way of looking at things, he succeeded in seeing the spoon bend in his hand. Sometimes the key to success is simply looking at things differently.

While we can’t bend spoons with our minds, the same principle works in both the big and small areas of life.

I love creative cooking, and once sold an article including recipes like my apple-jalapeño coffee cake. My husband is one of the least adventurous eaters I know (he hadn’t even tried banana bread before we met). You’d be surprised how much frustration it created when he refused to try something because he’d decided in advance he wasn’t going to like it.

When what’s standing in your way is a mental block, sometimes the best thing you can do is trick yourself into taking that first step, that first bite. If Neo let himself be convinced by what his eyes saw–a spoon–he never would have been able to bend the spoon.

My husband refuses to eat squash, which means he turned his nose up at zucchini bread. I love zucchini bread. I decided the only way to get him around his mental block was to be a little sneaky. I made a batch of chocolate zucchini bread, and when he asked what it was, I simply said “chocolate bread.” Once he tried it and liked it, I told him it had zucchini in it, and he continues to eat it, despite the squash inside, because he tried it without the mental block of I can’t or I won’t.

If that doesn’t work, you can always look for similarities in things you know you can succeed at. Notice how Neo tilted his head to the side in the clip above. It’s almost like he’s trying to move his head because he knows he can’t try to move the spoon.

Because my husband loves pumpkin pie, I also focused on finding new ways to use those same flavors—pumpkin cupcakes, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin pancakes.

If there’s something you think you can’t do, break it down into the basic skills it would take for you to succeed. Then find other tasks you know you can do that require those same skills. When you twist the way you look at it and see that you actually have the skills you need (or can learn them), the insurmountable task doesn’t look so insurmountable anymore.

Has there been a time when a mental block turned out to be all that was standing in your way? What other tips do you have for getting past seemingly impossible obstacles?

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Behind the Scenes: Randy Ingermanson and Mars

Oxygen Randy IngermansonToday I have the privilege of interviewing award-winning novelist Randy Ingermanson, author of “Genius in Jeopardy” books and creator of the Snowflake method. He’s taking us behind the scenes on his fast-paced science fiction novel Oxygen (co-written with John Olson).

An explosion on the first mission to Mars leaves four astronauts with only enough oxygen for one to live. The evidence points to one of the four being a saboteur. One’s unconscious. One’s unstable. And the other two are falling in love.

(If you buy the ebook edition of Oxygen, you also get two helpful appendices. The first takes apart the motivation-reaction units—à la Dwight Swain—in the first two chapters. The second explains how they sold Oxygen to a respected publisher in less than seven weeks without an agent.)

Welcome, Randy 🙂

In your Authors’ Notes of the Kindle edition, you write that neither technology nor money are actually an issue and that “humans could walk on Mars within a dozen years.” Why do you think we should send a mission to Mars? What would make it worth the money and manpower investment?

If you believe that space exploration is a good thing, then it needs a goal. Nobody achieves diddley unless they have a goal. Putting humans on Mars is a powerful goal that anybody can visualize and understand. It’s the one goal that would move us forward fastest.

The space race in the 1960s created numerous technological advances that nobody expected. These have paid off massively over the last fifty years. The computer I’m typing on right now and the internet I’m sending you this document over are partly due to the space race. Partly.

A Mars mission would very likely have the same unpredictable side effects. I can’t tell you what they would be, because “unpredictable” means that you can’t know in advance what they are.

The usual scientific reasons given for a Mars mission are that it’ll contribute to our understanding of the history of the solar system (unfortunately, most people don’t give a fig about our understanding of the history of the solar system) and that it could possibly provide evidence of past life on Mars which would shed light on the evolution of life on earth (unfortunately, many of the people in positions to vote for a Mars mission believe that “evolution” is a four-letter word).

So let’s just leave it with this—a Mars mission will astound us with an amazing array of technological advances that we can’t predict, for a total price tag much less than the cost of running a foreign war for one month. A Mars mission would give us a vision of greatness and adventure. If that sounds like something our country desperately needs, then a Mars mission would be a good thing.

What’s the one thing you think is key to making a manned mission to Mars possible? How did you work this into Oxygen?

Political willpower. Going to Mars is not that hard, technically or financially. If you fund the project at a few billion dollars per year (this is well within NASA’s current Spartan budget) and you commit to a ten or twelve year program, you can get there. It’s harder than going to the moon, but not much harder, and we have better technology than we did fifty years ago when John Kennedy committed to putting Americans on the moon.

The key thing missing is a political champion (like Kennedy) who can look beyond the next two years. Several presidents over the last couple of decades have given lip service to Mars, but they typically backed off when something more urgent came up.

A Mars mission needs steady commitment for longer than that.

In Oxygen, we simply postulated that NASA formed a small independent unit, a “NASA within NASA” that had one guy who had absolute control and a reasonable budget. This was the only way we could see to get the continuity needed. No international collaborations. No sprawling bureaucracy. Just a small team of dedicated people.

The problem came when the budget cutters came around with their axes, looking to save a few bucks. This is very plausible, but it’s also the best way to wreck the mission. You cannot run a Mars mission that doesn’t have dependable funding. You can’t.

A lot of people see science and faith as incompatible, yet your two main characters (Valkerie and Bob) are both people of faith. How would you answer the people who say you can’t be both a scientist and a person of faith?

Roughly 40% of all working scientists are people of faith. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they are conservative Christians or orthodox Jews (although some are). But it means that the death of faith among scientists has been greatly exaggerated. Likewise, a surprising number of philosophers are people of faith.

There is an odd philosophy known as “scientism” which has sprung up in the last few decades which says, roughly, that the only valid knowledge is scientific knowledge. The reason I say this is “odd” is because there is obviously no way to demonstrate this using scientific method. So scientism is self-refuting, and therefore false.

Of course I believe that science is one way to reach valid knowledge. But if it really is the only way, there’s no way for us to know that.

Given North America’s ongoing love affair with reality TV, one element I enjoyed was that you had a news station wanting to turn the Ares 10 mission into the “biggest, baddest reality show you ever saw, with a boatload of danger and packed to the gills with romance.” What aspects of a mission to Mars do you think would make for great reality TV?

In our novel, two good looking single men and two good looking single women, isolated for almost three years in a ship the size of typical Tokyo apartment was all the reality show the networks could dream of. Whenever you have that, there’s the immediate question of who’s going to hook up with whom, and when?

Throw in some jealousy and the ever-possible threat of instant death, and you really do have the best reality show ever. TV money might very well be the only way to fund a Mars mission.

Because this was a co-written novel, did you run into any “bloopers” where John wrote a character in a way that made you ask “what was he thinking?!”

Hmmmm, maybe the other way around, but we’re not going to go there. At one point, I wrote a scene that John just said no on. But neither he nor I will ever tell anyone what it was.

Early in the coauthoring, we discovered a much more insidious problem was maintaining the emotional continuity between scenes. It was just impossible for either of us to write a scene until we had read the preceding scene, because we had to pick up the emotive atmosphere in the same place.

Once we learned that, we put ourselves on a rigorous schedule where we mapped out who would write each scene and on what day at what time. As soon as a scene got written, whoever wrote it would email it to the other one, who was waiting for it.

This made writing the novel hard, but once we learned that we had to do it this way, it worked pretty well.

You’ve written a sequel to Oxygen. Will The Fifth Man also be released in a Kindle edition soon?

We’re working on final edits now. We’re shooting for a release in early April, but I can’t make any guarantees until the book is done, because life happens.

Randall IngermansonThanks, Randy, for taking us behind the scenes on Oxygen.

If you want to learn more about the craft and marketing of fiction, sign up for Randy’s Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine (with more than 29,000 readers). You can buy Oxygen in paperback from Marcher Lord Press, for Kindle at Amazon, or for your Nook at Barnes and Noble.

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Grab Bag of Links (March 3)

Go ahead. Reach your hand in and grab some word candy. You know you want to 🙂

For Fantasy and Science Fiction Lovers

Why Luna Lovegood Should Have Been Harry Potter’s Girlfriend by Ellie Ann on Slacker Heroes – I’ve never been a fan of the Harry-Ginny pairing. I always thought Harry and Hermione should have ended up together, but I have to admit that Ellie makes a really good case for Luna being the perfect match for Harry.

What Buffy the Vampire Slayer Taught Me by Julie Glover – Even if you don’t like fantasy, this post has some great insights.

The Castle of Vlad Dracula “The Impaler” by Debra Kristi – The real story behind the rise of the vampire myths is creepy and doesn’t sparkle.

The Meaning of Life

Playing to Your Strengths by Jenny Hansen on Gene Lempp’s blog – Why is it that we spend so much time trying to fix our weaknesses? Wouldn’t we be better off focusing on our strengths?

My Best Relationship Was In Third Grade by Emma Burcart – Excellent relationship lessons no matter your age.

For Writers

Leaping Smart: Useful Steps for Authors by August McLaughlin – Common sense is an uncommon virtue sometimes, which makes me grateful for the posts full of wisdom and common sense August routinely writes.

6 Simple Steps for Customizing Your Facebook Timeline by Laura Christianson – If you’re like me, you hope Facebook stops making so many changes. In the meantime, here’s a quick tutorial to help you get set up on the new timeline.

The Visceral Connect by Rachel Marks on Speculative Faith – Keys for making your readers feel the emotions your characters are feeling.

Jane Friedman’s Secret to Battling Procrastination – Time is a limited commodity. Jane Friedman has some good advice for making the most of it.

Do you have a favorite link you’d like to nominate for my next grab bag?

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Do You Believe In Second Chances?

Gollum Lord of the RingsLong after I finished reading the books and watching the movies, the character from the Lord of the Rings trilogy I couldn’t stop thinking about wasn’t any of the plucky hobbits, Viggo Mortensen’s ruggedly handsome Aragorn, or Gandolf with his words of wisdom.

It was Gollum.

Born a hobbit-like creature named Sméagol, Gollum wasn’t always the shriveled, conniving wretch we meet in Lord of the Rings. It wasn’t until Sméagol was in his thirties that Sméagol’s friend Déagol found the powerful ring that Frodo and the Fellowship of the Ring would later seek to destroy. Overcome by lust for the ring, Sméagol killed Déagol and took it for himself.

The ring prolonged Sméagol’s life, but began to corrupt him until his family finally cast him out. From that point on, he lived alone in the dark caves of the Misty Mountains, eating raw fish. Déagol’s death haunted him.

When Frodo learned about Gollum, he said, “What a pity that Bilbo did not stab that vile creature, when he had a chance!” (Fellowship of the Ring, pg. 78).

“Pity!” Gandalf answered. “It was Pity that stayed his hand.”

Gandalf believed that everyone deserves a second chance—a chance at redemption. He went on to tell Frodo that even Gollum wasn’t wholly ruined: “I have not much hope that Gollum can be cured before he dies, but there is a chance of it…My heart tells me that he has some part to play yet, for good or ill, before the end; and when that comes, the pity of Bilbo may rule the fate of many” (79).

Gandalf’s words stuck with Frodo.

Later, when Frodo showed him kindness, the Sméagol side of Gollum’s personality found the strength to fight against the Gollum side. What good was left in him tried to drive out the evil. Frodo’s kindness gave him a second chance.

Sam couldn’t see it. He couldn’t see past the disgusting parts of Gollum to take into account what he’d been through—isolation, torture in Mordor, the clutches of a ring that ruined all who carried it. He refused to try to see what Gollum might become if given a second chance.

When I first met Lynn* in elementary school, all I saw was a girl who disliked me for no reason. She told others’ secrets as soon as she found them out, seemed to take pleasure in embarrassing me in particular, and acted like she thought she was better than the other students. I found her annoying and wanted nothing to do with her.

When I should have been Frodo, I was Sam.

I didn’t bother to find out that Lynn was abused, had trouble reading, and, as we reached high school, struggled with an eating disorder, depression, and suicidal thoughts.

When she disappeared, I didn’t even notice. I cared as little for her as Sam did for Gollum, and would have gladly left her behind in my past. When she came back during our senior year of high school, she wanted to be my friend.

Second chances are tricky things. You could get your finger bitten off the way Frodo eventually did. Every second chance comes with another opportunity to experience the pain you did the first time.

I was hesitant, skeptical. But, to borrow from Gandalf, my heart told me that she still might have a role to play in my life.

Years later, Lynn and I stood up in each other’s weddings. Her children call me Aunt Marcy. We joke now about back when we didn’t like each other and talk about who disliked whom most. And we laugh.

But if I hadn’t given her a second chance, I would have missed the trips we’ve taken, times we’ve cried on each other’s shoulders, good advice exchanged, secrets shared (and kept). I would have missed out on knowing a woman who’s now one of my dearest friends.

For me, the chance to get exactly what I did was worth the risk of giving her that second chance.

Has there ever been a time you decided to give someone a second chance and were glad you did? Do you believe in second chances?

*Lynn isn’t her real name. I’ve changed it to protect her privacy.

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Icarus and My Fear of the Sun

I have an unusual fear, one I don’t normally talk about. I’m terrified of ending up like Icarus.

Join me today at Jessica O’Neal’s Sexy Little Nerd blog for my guest post about Icarus and my fear of the sun. And while you’re there, be sure to read some of Jessica’s other posts. Her blog is nerd paradise and one of my favorites 🙂

Four Reasons Battlestar Galactica Isn’t Just for Sci-Fi Fans

Please welcome back my husband Chris for a guest post on why he thinks one of our favorite science fiction shows, Battlestar Galactica, isn’t just for science fiction fans. If given a chance, Chris is convinced it would appeal to almost everyone.

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Picture Source: google.com via Marcy on Pinterest

I’ve written about Battlestar Galactica before, but only in passing, and only comparing a single BSG character to Star Wars’ Wedge Antilles. But BSG is one of the few science fiction shows with appeal for all kinds of viewers (such as Marcy, a Trekkie, and me, the Star Wars equivalent to a Trekkie), so I decided to put together this post to tell you all why I absolutely love Battlestar Galactica—and why you probably would, too.

Great Storytelling

The plot of almost every BSG episode was believable, interesting, and extremely engaging. We started off buying just the first season, but very quickly added the remaining three seasons because the story was just that good. And many were the nights where we stayed up until 2am or later, until we could barely keep our eyes open any longer, because we always wanted to watch “just one more,” to see where the story went. The writers had a talent for ending on a cliffhanger.

A Realistic Depiction of the Future

Star Trek has phasers and transporters and replicator technology. Star Wars has lightsabers and turbolaser cannons and the HoloNet. The Stargate series has interstellar gates. But none of these technologies are all that realistic when you look at today’s technology level and its likely rate of evolution even 300 years into the future.

In contrast, all the ships in Battlestar Galactica use kinetic weapons (weapons that don’t contain an explosive or electric charge). These range from a sort of machine gun in the nose of the human’s Viper starfighters to the nuclear-tipped missiles hurled by the Cylon basestars. Even the depictions of the Vipers’ maneuverability were more accurate than you’d expect, and included the use of attitude thrusters to move the ship around. Astronauts already use less sophisticated attitude thrusters today.

Galactica used an internal phone and intercom system, and lacked the comm badges, comlinks, and viewscreens of Star Wars and Star Trek. Galactica’s computer systems, even when networked, required several minutes to run complex calculations, and the comm systems in BSG all seemed to feature the type of distorted transmissions I would expect to hear over such long ranges.

Basically, I think the technology in Battlestar Galactica is closer to the technological reality we’ll have in the next couple hundred years.

A Unique Villain

The biggest sticking point for most science fiction is having a flat villain. If you don’t have a unique, believable, engaging villain, the show just doesn’t work well. Fortunately for us, BSG doesn’t have that problem. The Cylons (cybernetic organisms originally created to serve humanity) gained sentience and revolted against their former masters, disappearing after the first human-Cylon war and appearing again after 40 years to destroy the Twelve Colonies.

But the Cylons aren’t your typical cybernetic organisms. While the original Cylons looked like many depictions of futuristic robots, the Cylons have evolved and gained the ability to look just like a human, indistinguishable from a real person. The look, sound, and feel just like a real human, and the sleeper agents don’t even know they’re a Cylon until their sleeper circuit gets tripped. About the only difference between a “skin job” and a real human is that the female Cylons’ spines glow red during sexual activity.

And worse for the human survivors of the Cylons’ nuclear bombardment of the Colonies, the Cylons possess a Resurrection Ship, which automatically downloads a fallen Cylon’s memories and experiences into a new body and activates it, creating a never-ending stream of cybernetic warriors bent on grinding their former masters into so much interstellar dust.

How do you even fight against an enemy like that?

Engaging Special Effects and Cinematography

I found the special effects and cinematography of BSG to be top-notch. One of my favorite things about the show was how a lot of the exterior, long-distance shots were shown. Rather than the standard, steady, zoomed-in fare you get in most film, BSG has a lot of exterior shots that look like they were recorded on a hand-held camera, with the field of view zooming in too fast before resolving itself, and the recording itself being shaky, as would befit a distant observer.

For those of you who already love BSG, what do you think made it such a great show? If you haven’t seen Battlestar Galactica before, has this convinced you to watch an episode on Netflix?

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Geek Fashion Show

If at least one of these t-shirt designs makes you smile, your nerd is showing 🙂

Get Real Be Rational T-ShirtFor when you’ve had a fight with your significant other. (From www.snorgtees.com)

 

 

 

 

 

Positive Electrons T-ShirtFor when you can’t remember what you did with your keys–again. (From www.snorgtees.com)

 

 

 

 

 

Alderaan Weather Forecast T-ShirtFor when the weather ruins your plans, and you need a reminder that things could be worse. A deathstar could show up. It could happen. (From www.snorgtees.com)

 

 

 

 

Airspeed velocity of an unladen swallowIn case you ever find the need to cross the Bridge of Death in search of the Holy Grail (From www.zazzle.com)

 

 

 

 

Princess Bride Classic Blunders“You’ve beaten my giant, which means you’re exceptionally strong, so you could’ve put the poison in your own goblet, trusting on your strength to save you, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you. But, you’ve also bested my Spaniard, which means you must have studied, and in studying you must have learned that man is mortal, so you would have put the poison as far from yourself as possible, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me” (Vizzini in William Goldman’s 1973 The Princess Bride). (T-shirt from www.snorgtees.com)

True Statement False StatementBecause sometimes you just need some quiet time. (From www.snorgtees.com)

 

 

 

 

Any favorites you’d like to share? Tell me about them or link to them in the comments.

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3 Lessons on Reaching Your Goals from The Vow

The VowBecause I couldn’t stand to see Jar-Jar Binks in 3D, when my husband and I went to the movies over the weekend for an early Valentine’s Day date, we ended up seeing The Vow, starring Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum. Basically, a woman is in a car accident and loses her memories of the last five to six years of her life. Her husband tries to convince her to fall in love with him again. The Vow was inspired by the true story of Kim and Krickitt Carpenter.

While I’d rate the movie itself as mediocre, I left the theater thinking about what it would be like if that happened to me. Where was I six years ago, back in 2006?

Don’t underestimate how far you’ve come.

Sometimes all I can see is how far I still have to go to get to where I want to be. I had plans for what I wanted my life to be like when I reached 30, and I’m not there. Nowhere close. Last week that gap hit me especially hard. I started to feel like a failure and began to question every decision I’ve made.

But when I look back to 2006, it’s how far I’ve come that jumps out at me.

In 2006, I was single. I hadn’t even met my husband yet. Worse, I was still trying to fit into what people expected me to be or wanted me to be rather than giving myself the freedom to just be me. Now I’m happily married to a man who’s my best friend, who knows and loves the real me.

In February 2006, I still hadn’t had so much as an article published, and I was mired in trying to fix the same novel I’d been working on for five years. It would never be publishable, but I couldn’t see it then. Now I make my living from writing articles and editing.

In 2006, I didn’t have a blog or a website. I wasn’t on any social media sites. Now all those things are part of my life, a part that makes it much richer and more enjoyable.

When you start to feel like you’ve lost your way, screwed up your life, or are a failure, take a look back. Where were you five years ago?

If you miss something you used to have, get it back.

Rachel McAdams’ character, Paige, goes back to a time before she became estranged from her family. Even though she finds that some of the changes she made in her missing years were the right ones for her, losing her family wasn’t. She has to find a way to keep the good changes and rid herself of the bad.

Not everything is better in my life either. Just as Paige was aghast to discover she had a tattoo on her back, if I woke up with the last six years missing, I’d be horrified at the weight I’ve gained. It’s not simply vanity weight. I need to lose at least 20 pounds to be healthy. And I miss being lighter. I slept better, felt better, and had fewer back problems when I weighed less. It’s something I’ll be working on.

Just because the time isn’t right now doesn’t mean it won’t ever be right.

Considering The Vow was a romance and based on a true story, I don’t think I’m giving anything away with this point. Channing Tatum’s character Leo works for months to win his wife back. He tries introducing her to their friends to jog her memory, and he takes her out on a date. Nothing he tries works.

Finally he backs off and gives her the divorce she wants. And then he waits. Eventually, even though she never regains her memory, she comes back to him, and the movie ends on a note of hope for their future.

It’s too easy to give up on our dreams and goals if we don’t reach them in our timing. Human beings are notoriously impatient. Sometimes, though, a failure just means the timing isn’t right. We should wait, bide our time, and see what happens.

Where were you five years ago? Have you made progress toward your long-term goals, or are there things you miss that you want to get back?

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How We Met: Guest Post by Jess Witkins

Hello readers! You’re probably wondering who I am. My name is Jess Witkins, and I convinced Marcy to hand over her blog for the price of an I-Tunes gift card. Yep, she’s that easy. And now you’re stuck with me. What’s that frightened look in your eyes?! I haven’t done anything yet!

Ok, I promise no harm came to the owner of this blog, or any other blog for that matter, at my hands. But if you know Marcy, she’s had her share of broken bones. In fact, she’s talking about bones today at my blog, bones and backbones! Cheer her on and visit in the comments section here.

Since she’s given me limitless word count approval, I thought I’d chat a little with you guys. Valentine’s Day is approaching so I can’t help it that love is on my brain. Many of you are planning romantic ways to say “I love you” to your partners, reserving intimate date night dinners, and buying chocolate and flowers to say “You are so sweet, and you smell good too!

My honey is very deserving of all these things. But it’s not enough to just tell him how I feel, I should tell everyone! And everyone who reads Marcy’s blog.

My Honeypot:  A Romantic Retelling of How We Met

It was my Freshman year of college and I was busy taking all my general education classes at once. Eighteen credits and honor society status, I was a good student. He didn’t show up for class sometimes, but boy did he smell good when he did!  

On good days, we happened to sit by each other. And on great days, we talked. He thought I was crazy, and I thought he was cute. He was close to graduating, and I was still enrolled in the theater program (a path that wasn’t meant to see fruition). At 19 years old, I wanted to try everything. I was active in several student organizations, I held leadership positions, I had classes in almost every building on campus!  

Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Both of us were in other relationships at the time, and at very different points in our lives. He was a soon to be graduate with a music education major, the lead guitarist in a major local band, and had a great reputation with area schools. I was still living in the dorms and would change my mind about what program I wanted to study a couple more times.  

Flash forward two years, and you’d find me coaxed out of my apartment by friends and dragged downtown to the local pub for some live music. Imagine my surprise when there he was! He too was out with friends to check out the very same band! Now ladies, it’s a well known fact that men have something we women are powerless against. It’s scientific name is mojo. Mojo Machofinus in latin.  

Village People Macho ManThe full research study is available on this album.

Well, as you can guess it, we started talking. Little did I know he’d completely forgotten my name! He recognized me, and came over to talk, but he had no idea what my name was!

Gentlemen, listen up! This is why it’s so important you have a “wingman.” Urban dictionary defines ‘wingman’ as this:

Wingman

A Wingman is a guy you bring along with you on singles
outings (like to bars) that helps you out with the women.

It was through his friend (my favorite friend of his) that he learned my name again, and did so flawlessly. I wouldn’t find out he was sweating the whole time until years later! This friend also casually mentioned another show we should both check out, but the show was at a venue way up in the bluffs.  

Grandad Bluff Jess WitkinsYep, we had to go up there!  No kidding!  Welcome to La Crosse, WI!

He soon offered me a ride to the show and asked to get coffee with him ahead. I said yes!

So, that’s the tale of how we met. It’s been five years since then and you know what, he still surprises me with the things he doesn’t know! But he is also my biggest fan, my best friend, and he knows how to make me laugh.  

Happy Valentine’s, Honeypot!  I’m so glad we met!

Jess Witkins and Her HoneypotMe and My Valentine

What are your favorite stories of love to share? Is it the love for your partner, your children, a parent, a pet, or a friend? Who will you be wishing Happy Valentine’s to?

Bio: Jess Witkins claims the title Perseverance Expert. She grew up in a small Wisconsin town as the much younger youngest sibling of four, she’s witnessed the paranormal, jumped out of a plane, worked in retail, traveled to exotic locations like Italy, Ireland, and Shipshewana, Indiana, and she’s eaten bologna and lived to tell about it! She deals with it all and writes about it! Come along on her midwest adventures; Witkins promises to keep it honest and entertaining. Go ahead, SUBSCRIBE, you know you want to. Follow on Twitter:  @jesswitkins

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Fighting Dirty, Forgiveness, and CPR for the Undead

Happy Saturday! I haven’t done a grab bag for a few weeks, so this one is bursting at the seams because I couldn’t throw away any of these treats. At least they’re all calorie free.

For Fantasy and Science Fiction Lovers

CPR for the Undead by Emmie Mears – Can vampires be saved or has all the sparkling made them a thing of the past?

Robin Hood: A Story Transcribed by Jessica O’Neal – This is the next installment in her great series on Robin Hood. This time she looks at the different ways Robin Hood (and other characters in his legends) have shown up in literature over the years.

Lady of the Lake by Lisa Hall-Wilson – The Lady of the Lake plays a central role in the novel Lisa and I are writing. In this post, Lisa looks at who the Lady of the Lake might have been.

Immortal Monday on the Epirus Bow and Mount Tartarus by Debra Kristi – What the movie got right . . . and what it didn’t.

For Writers

23 Techniques for Fighting Dirty by Jenny Hansen – Jenny’s posts on fighting dirty and fighting clean will help you put conflict into your novel and take it out of your marriage. Make sure you check out the Fighting Dirty Contest that starts after Valentine’s Day as well.

Why An Agent Rejects Your Query Letter – The answer might surprise you.

The Meaning of Life

3 Steps to Freedom – Grab Hold of Your Brilliant Future by Kristen Lamb – This post is one of my all-time favorites. It’s encouraging and practical and has me thinking carefully every time I say “I’m just tired.”

Forgiveness: It’s All About You by Natalie Hartford – Reasons to forgive someone who’s hurt you regardless of whether they apologize.

The Year to Slay Your Dragons by Ingrid Schaffenburg – Dreams come with dragons, but before we can slay them, we have to recognize them.

Have you read any of these posts? What did you love about them?

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