Monday, December 16, 2013

Weekly Writing Prompts - Writers Digest

On the Writer's Digest homepage, there is a weekly writing prompt. I decided to dive back into writing fiction with last week's prompt. The problem is I cannot get my story, or another other comment, to post anywhere on the WD site, even using computers other than my own.

I'll post my prompts here instead. Whether you hate my stories, love them, blah them, or have genuine criticism, you can share. Rejection and criticism are part of a writer's life. The key is to accept the criticism that makes sense, and reject what does not.

My goal is to be the best writer I can be. And I've been sitting on my second novel for over a decade. It's time to polish my skills and get back into fiction.

I am also looking for an agent for Mocha Angels: 365 Days of Angelic Wisdom and Affirmations. It's been finished. If anyone knows of an agent looking to represent spiritual works, please email me.

Here is the December 10 prompt.

An anonymous friend has been leaving you gifts at work to celebrate each of the 12 days of Christmas. All was fine and good for the first 11 gifts, which were thoughtful. But the 12th gift isn’t actually a gift at all—it’s a photograph of someone you love doing something they shouldn’t be doing and an extortion note demanding $10,000 in cash or that photo goes live on the Internet. What do you do? Write this scene. (Must be 500 words or less.)


 “Am I being Punk’d?” Michelle thought to herself. Sitting at her desk, she looked at the photo again. Her 17-year-old daughter, Kamani, naked as the day she was born, was smiling, clearly happy to be showing off her beautiful body to whomever took the picture. The photo had been wrapped in plain red paper with a gold bow. Michelle had thought it was an envelope, as the past eleven gifts had been. All of them had contained gift certificates to her favorite stores. Someone knew her tastes in food, music, and clothes well.

The typed note had fallen out first. Ten thousand dollars or else the world will know your daughter is a whore.

Michelle got up to close the door to her office. Her twentysomething employees were feeling the Christmas spirit. Santa hats, ugly sweaters, mistletoe, and cookie exchanges had been going on since the first of December. Computer programmers and engineers really did know how to party. They also specialized in logic. Michelle had been a computer geek since the Apple I went on sale in 1976. Fast-forward thirty-seven years later she was co-founder of Hass Computing, a company dedicated to cloud computing. She had not clawed her way through a male-dominated, rapidly evolving landscape to now be a victim of extortion.

Kamani had to be posing for Steven, her most recent ex-boyfriend. Michelle had warned all her daughters about ‘sexting.’ She loved technology. But she acknowledged the dark side of it as well. Obviously her middle child had not listened to her. Revenge porn was not a pretty sight. Neither were the withering African Violets directly behind Kamani in the photo. Michelle recognized those damned spotted purple leaves left constantly in too much sunlight in Steven’s parents’ living room.

Nothing ever dies on the Internet. This photo would live in perpetuity following Kamani everywhere. Later Michelle would curse, cry, scream, and lie. Today, she called Steven’s mother.

“Happy Holidays, Barbara! This is Michelle, Kamani’s mom…Are you free for lunch today?”


(end. 333 words.)

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Khan Academy Works!


I have to quickly brag about Raymond. I am so proud of my boy. He showed an interest in Computer Programming last summer, but it didn't stick. This year, he again said he wanted learn. He wants to learn computer animation. So we tried again. We started on Sunday by using the tutorials on Khan Academy.

If you've never heard of this site, go there now and bookmark it. Then tell all of your friends and family about it. It's is a free site where you can learn everything from basic addition to calculus to economics to art history. It's founder, Sal Khan, has a vision for a "one world classroom." Both my kids improved their math skills on Khan Academy.

In two days, Raymond learned basic computer programming language. Last night, wrote a script all by himself.


That is a screen shot. If you want a closer look, go to:
https://www.khanacademy.org/cs/pizza-for-dinner/2785508005
to clearly see the script. The only thing he asked me was "how do you spell pepperoni?" He created the shapes and colors all by himself! This is such a big deal. With all of his diagnoses, it's wonderful to see him embrace math and science with enthusiasm. I am a proud mama.

love,
Althea ◦
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Sunday, December 1, 2013

I'm a Lot Better


Me on Thanksgiving Day. Photo taken by Jona, age 8.
Don't I look a lot happier than the photo from September 1?

The single best advice I've gotten during my separation is, "A marriage is a living, breathing thing. It is alive. And when it dies, you must grieve the loss." (Courtesy of Vivian Nic!)

I have been in mourning. And no, there is no chance of reconciliation. I had to take time to grieve the loss of a 14-year relationship and 12-year marriage. There is nothing easy about grief. It will take you down, way down into the Bowels of Hell at times...to the point you want to jump out of your skin to get away from the pain. Been there. Done that.

The second best piece of advice I got was, "Use this time to take your power back." In the past three months since my last post I have:

- Started the INSANITY workout. I am on Day 43.
- Started bellydance, Bodypump, Cycle, Cardio Dance, Ashtanga Yoga, walking, running (again), strength training, and Tiffany Rothe workouts.
- Lost 5 pounds (would be more if I weren't baking so much).
- Been to North Carolina to see family (and on Thanksgiving!)
- Created a budget for myself..first time ever really.
- Connected with Pathways to Whole Living, a lovely holistic center.
- Perfected chocolate, peanut butter, apple cider, and pumpkin chocolate chip cupcakes.
- Begun plans on Mocha Angels Omnimedia.
- Seeing life as abundant rather than scarce.
- Toyed around with seafood. Came to the conclusion that I am a natural vegetarian.
- Realized my life/healing POV is holistic and that my social media platforms should reflect that.
- Currently taking my power back.



And my boys!! They are both in school now. Jona's first few days were exactly what you would expect from a homeschooled Autistic child. ROUGH! Woo! I must say I thought it would take months for him to get used to school. I was proved wrong. He still has his moments, but Jona LOVES school. He has settled into a routine, and his teachers, principal, and Inclusion Helper are amazing people. He has an IEP (Individualized Education Plan). Both of us are happy.

Raymond is in school half-day at a private school. He loves it too and wants to go full-time. (Since I'm all about appreciation and abundance, I am affirming that for him, because private school is not cheap.)

I am happy to report that we are all better. I will continue blogging because I have lots to share with you all. Thanks for reading.

Love,
Althea


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Sunday, September 1, 2013

Post-Separation Healing


My husband and I separated on August 3rd. My children and myself moved about 15 miles from where we were, in a lovely neighborhood. We are all doing fine. It was, however, the most single most difficult summer of my life. I don't say the "worst" because Summer 2004 was the worst. This was bad in a different way. The sheer stress of ending a marriage, the fallout, and the actual moving are beyond anything I've experienced....and I've been through some soul-crushing life-events. 

Since January, I've put on 14 pounds. I am now 5 pounds away from my highest pregnancy weight with Jona. I hadn't exercised, and ate my way through the summer. The good news was that I got to see my family, and my kids spent extended time in North Carolina and Georgia with family. My friends also helped me financially simply because I asked for help. I'm starting from very little money-wise, but a lot karma-wise. People have literally put cash in my hand, and said, "Take it, because I know you need it, or "I wish I could do more."  My friends helped me pack. People from my job helped me move. That has been very gratifying. I will be thanking everyone personally.

Not only have I packed on pounds, I'm having hormonal fluctuations again. So the weight loss, balancing my hormones, and womb healing are my focuses. I've come this far with moving out. Now I'm organizing my space, my mind, and my time. I'm off Facebook for at least a month. My friend Charli will be putting up the Mocha Angel messages. Email me at mochaangels@aol.com if you want to find me. Stay with me ya'll.


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Friday, June 7, 2013

Green Smoothie Gone Wrong


I've had a copy of Everyday Raw Detox by Meredith Baird with Matthew Kenney for a few months. Visually stunning, beautiful to read, and inspirational, I love the whole vibe of the book. Long-time readers know I'm a Matthew Kenney groupie and proud of it. Completing his online raw chef training and eating at one of his restaurants are on my bucket list.

So I finally make something out of the book: a green smoothie called "Clean and Lean". The ingredients are fennel bulb, grapefruit, fresh mint, water, 1 date (optional), pinch o' sea salt, and 1/2 avocado.


This is what the final product looked like. And I didn't like it all. It was far too sour. I added not one more, but ten more dates to make a sweet enough to drink because I was not throwing food away.


The other problem was that my smoothie looked NOTHING like the one in the book! That photo is of a GREEN smoothie, not a vanilla milkshake. I used fennel bulb as the book said, but maybe I should have used its green stalk? Maybe more avocado? I don't know.

Dear "Clean and Lean" Smoothie, I have now re-named you the "What's Wrong With This Picture?" Smoothie.

Maybe next time.....

Love,
Althea ◦
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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Video of Yoga Retreat for Women of Color!

One of the presenters at the retreat, Robin Downes of Yoga Flava, made a short video about it! Her video includes an interview with Maya, our founder, clips from me and Gail's workshop, and other moments from the weekend. It's almost five minutes long, so enjoy!






http://yogaflava.blogspot.com/2013/06/yoga-retreat-for-women-of-color-2013.html

Love,
Althea ◦
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Chakra Smoothie & More


I made a Chakra Smoothie this time. The ingredients were pomegranate, orange, lemon, spinach, blueberries, plum, and grapes. In the photo above, Jona is holding the finished result! Below is the fruit in all its glory :-).

 
I also made a Chocolate Spinach smoothie, based on the recommendation of Dr. Gail Parker, a fellow presenter at the Yoga Retreat for Women of Color.( Her blog is Taking Yoga off Your Mat.)  The recipe is 2C Spinach, 2C unsweetened rice milk (or sweetened if that's all you can find),
 3 bananas, 4T cacao powder, 1t cinnamon.


This makes a super yummy smoothie. It tastes like a chocolate milkshake. I couldn't taste the spinach at all. I think it's a good way to sneak green veggies to your kids, as long as they don't see you making the smoothie :-).


And last, just sharing a photo of Wild Strawberries that grow in my yard. They weren't sweet at all (not ripe?) but they are beautiful.

Love,
Althea

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