Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Can Be A Conflicting Time

Normally, I update my blog on Thursdays but since this is Christmas week, I’ve decided to do it a bit early.

This time of year is very conflicting, isn’t it? For me, it’s a magical time filled with more smiles than normal, people acting more cheerful and giving, and a reason to be excited to get up every day. I love the beauty of the Christmas season with all its mesmerizing lights, decorations, the heartfelt and glorious music, and I must admit all the delicious holiday treats. As a child, I remember dreaming of all those things. One of my fondest memories of Christmas for me was laying directly under the Christmas tree and just staring up at the beautify of the glistening lights and wondering what the new year would bring. Of course I was also wondering what was inside the packages that were already underneath the tree and what Santa might bring me.

When I try to recall my favorite Christmas gift of all time, two come to mind. One was as a child. I was really into playing with Barbie’s big time and enjoyed getting nothing as much as a new Barbie. I loved the smell of a brand new one. Back then, my mother made most of our Barbie clothes and that was really special to get as well. Anyway, this one year I just couldn’t decide if I wanted a new Barbie or a new Ken doll. My mother told me I could only ask for one. I don’t recall which one I decided on, but that Christmas morning I was more than delighted to find not only a new Barbie but a Ken as well!! I was thrilled beyond belief!

My second most memorable Christmas gift was when I was an adult and married. I was lying in bed Christmas morning not yet ready to get up when to my complete surprise and delight; I felt something jumping on my bed. There before me was a brand new white and tan cocker spaniel puppy with freckles on her face jumping with delight to meet her new mommy. She was the most adorable thing I had ever seen!! My husband had gotten me the one thing I wanted more than anything and to me, there is nothing better than getting a new puppy for xmas!!

You might be wondering why I started this out by saying this time of year is very conflicting? Like I said earlier, for me, it’s a magical time but for others it’s a very sad time. If you have lost a loved one on or near Christmas, this time of year can be something you don’t look forward to or enjoy since then. I’ve been very fortunate in my life so far and never experienced that but I know many people who have. Therefore, I’d just like to say how very sorry I am and hope that you can find a way to try and enjoy the magic of Christmas again. The person you lost during this time of year would want you to.

Well I don’t plan to do much writing in the next week or two but am looking forward to the new year and starting right back up full force again! Here’s wishing everyone a great holiday season, thanks for your support, and I’ll see ya back here in 2012!


Thursday, December 8, 2011

HAVE YOU DISCOVERED YOUR CALLING YET?

How do you REALLY know if writing is what you were put on this earth to do? Especially when there are so many other things in life that you enjoy doing?

I love to decorate for example. And for awhile, I thought for sure that was my calling. I consider myself somewhat talented at making rooms look nice. I know what looks good and where to place things. I am always rearranging furniture, buying new knick knacks or rearranging the old, and constantly drumming new decorating ideas in my head. So one day, I decided to take a class. It was a long distance type class a lot like the ICL course. Although I enjoyed it, I found myself taking shortcuts and rushing at the last minute to just get each assignment done. I thought I was in to it but when I completed the final assignment, I really screwed up. I just wanted it finished so I really took a shortcut and the teacher was able to see that, therefore I passed the course and got my certificate but the instructor scolded me and told me I was really not ready to make a living at this. I wasn’t focused enough. I just thought the teacher didn’t know what they were talking about and I continued on.

It wasn’t until I started writing that I realized that although I still loved decorating, it was NOT my calling. From the very first story I began writing, I knew right then and there that I was put on this earth to write children’s stories. And when I took the ICL course, I took absolutely NO shortcuts and gave it nothing but my total all. I loved every second of it.

My husband and I were never lucky enough to have children of our own, but I have always dearly loved little kids. My nieces and nephews proved this to me as soon as they were born. I have always had a secret knack somewhere inside myself to be able to talk and communicate with little children. Maybe it’s that “goofiness” inside my heart that is able to come out when I am around a small child that I am not able to fully bring out when I’m with an adult. I’ve never been one to dance, sing, or act physically silly around an adult comfortably, however with a child… I can bring it out full force!

When I was decorating, it did bring joy to my heart to create something I considered beautiful, however it never felt ANYTHING like the joy in my heart when I create a story for kids! And when I hear that a child liked my story, well just about nothing feels better to me than knowing that.

So that’s my story of how I discovered what I was put on this earth to do. It’s a pretty simple story but has made a HUGE impact on my life. Have you discovered your calling and if so, what is it and how did it come about?

Is everyone ready for the holidays!!??

Thursday, December 1, 2011

MeeGenius Author Challenge

Hello fellow bloggers! I hope everyone had a marvelous Thanksgiving. My husband and I had a quiet one, just the two of us and our 2 silly dogs and 1 fat cat. I worked myself to death putting up all our Christmas decorations, doing some Christmas shopping (Nooooooooooooooooo... not on Black Friday. I'm nuts but not THAT nuts. I have no patience for those kinds of crowds), and wrapping. It was great until... I got a horrible nasty flu and felt as though I were dying for 2 days. Ugh.

I have a ton left to do and hope to finish up this weekend. I know it's early, but every single gift I have to get has got to be mailed, except my husbands, so I try to get them out as soon as I can. Shipping rates are outrageous enough when you have plenty of time, but absolutely uncalled for when you are in a rush. Last year it almost cost us more for shipping then the gifts themselves. I was so angry after paying those shipping costs! But... what ya gonna do? I believe in Christmas and want to spread the cheer as much as possible.

On that note, I'd like to tell everyone about the author challenge that is going on at MeeGenius eBooks for Kids. They are having a challenge for children's picture book writers and the winning prizes are fantastic. This contest is really worth the effort, in my opinion. First prize winner receives $1500, plus ebook publication, but the part that excites me the most is that a school library of the winners choice will receive free ebooks for one year! I just think that is fantastic. There are also prizes for three-runner-ups, which includes publication. Anyway, I have entered the contest and am asking for your support.

There are a few ways in which to win the contest. One way is to get the most votes. The stories to get the most "Likes" from the voters will go on to the Finalists Round. Therefore, I am asking for anyone's support that can, to log onto the site and vote for my story Pumpkin Squash, by hitting the "Like" button beside my story. You can only vote for my story once so hitting the like button over and over won't count as extra votes. A second way to win is if your story is a Staff Favorite. Those stories will be picked by MeeGenius to enter the Finalists Round. Authors who get into the Finalist Round, will have their book professionally edited, illustrated, and produced for the final round of voting. Winners are announced March 7, 2012.

This contest is very important to me because I truly want to win the free ebooks for my hometown of Edgerton, Ohio Elementary School Library (plus of course publication!). So please, if you have time, click here: http://www.meegenius.com/challenge/pumpkin-squash-by-allyn-stotz
and vote for me! The competition is really huge so I need all the support I can get as there are a lot of great stories on there.

Thanks to everyone and know that I appreciate all my followers! Have a fantastic rest of your week and weekend!