Blog Bling

KZ at the Eclectic Eccentric Shopaholic nominated me for a couple of blog awards recently, so I thought it would be fun to share the love today.

What did I tell you about the bling? I can’t wait to have this thing hanging from a chain around my neck, dawg. (Yeah, that was strange for me too.)

Okay, you don’t really have to put on the hardware. Instead, to accept this award, the recipient must: come up with a word for each letter of the alphabet and write about something relevant to that individual (an A-Z acceptance speech, of sorts). (Suddenly the image of Big Bird wearing a Mr. B bling hanging from a chain just flashed through my mind. I may be in need of some medication…) Oh, yeah…and then pass on the chainmail…

So, here I am, from A to Z:

Admit wrong-doing & failure – I find I’m better able to look at myself in the mirror each morning and know it’s truly still me. (It kind of freaks me out to think of looking in the mirror & it not be me.)

Be forgiving – because I’ve been forgiven (daily. at least a hundred times. okay, maybe a few hundred more than that.)

“Cast a cold eye, there, Mr. Yeats” – this is my poetic contribution (okay, not mine, but Wey’s in reference to WB, himself) for NaPoWriMo & is one of the grand many banters between my two favorite Donnelly brothers, Wil & Wey, in At the Water’s Edge (pst – follow the link for one of my favorite Yeats’ stanzas)

Dissertation – it’s what sucks the life out of my days while giving me great purpose in life at the same time. (Such a strange dichotomy, don’t you think?)

Eire – the land of my paternal grandparents’ descent, thus the setting of my first novel in honor of them & my deceased nephew, whose greatest desire was to pay revisit to the Emerald Isle. (I got him there the best way I could.)

Funny – what I realize I’ve fallen short of being when I get strange looks from people who take themselves too seriously. (My dad used to say, “All the comedians in the world out of a job, and my daughter wants to be one.”)

God gets first place – and when God isn’t getting first place, it’s time to go back to “A” (without the mirror, so I can resist the whole vanity thing).

Hiking – the way I get in touch with challenging myself on where I’m wishing to go…while needing to be nowhere in particular that moment

Ice cream – it’s my downfall, darn it

Jilli – a novel character who I’m presently bringing to life through her death in Rolling River. She’s very strong (at hiding her vulnerabilities).

– the most common response received via text from my teenage son these days.

Love – yes, that really is my name & who wouldn’t want it? It makes the world go round.

Mint chocolate chip, specifically – that goes with “I” above

No – I have a problem saying that word, so I thought I’d practice it here.

Oh the possibilities! – and I try to never overlook any of them.

Purple – it’s my favorite color – the mix of cool blues with fiery reds (it’s like the steam when water & fire come together)

Quare thoughts dancing in my head – this is how I entertain myself 

Radiation – it’s the reason interviewees claim to me they’d rather not work in x-ray (just before making an appointment to go roast their livers in a tanning bed)

See others through God’s eyes – because without that extra set of lenses, I won’t even want to look in the mirror on certain days

Treasure friendships – true ones are rare; acknowledge their great value (make a safe deposit box in your heart for them)

Ultrasound – it’s what I do (but you’ll never hear me!)

Vacation Bible School – I’m often asked to be the narrator/story-teller, in which I like to create an imaginary character to help the children be drawn in to the drama. I’m currently trying to decide on this year’s character theme. Any clever ideas to share?

Whitewater – my favorite place to be

X-rays? I’ve learned & taught a thing or two about them in my time. (I might even have x-ray vision…)

Yodeling – is an enigma to me (akin to watching a train wreck)

Zebra patterns – similar to Y  (as in: Why would any human dress up like a Safari Happy Meal – when there are so many predator prints available?)


And here are my nominees for this award – may you wear your bling with pride (otherwise, you’ll look as naked as Kanye West did without his common sense at the Grammys if you don’t accept this award…but, hey, no pressure):

So many great friends from which to choose…
With this much talent, how can you lose?

Link over to them and check each one out.
Tell them Jody’s sending a shout.

There, now I’ve fulfilled my NaPoWriMo obligation for today…
Remember Thumper’s mom’s advice as you go on your way –
whate’er you think ’bout my poem here, best not to say!

Oh, and have a wonderful day!!!



I’ve Been Tagged as ‘The Next Big Thing’

(Er, you do understand this isn’t about weight gain, right?) And, by appropriate southern states terminology, it’s actually ‘The Next Big Thang,’ but when you’re braggin’, you wanna’ make sure the rest of the world can understand you too.

I’m actually not bragging on myself nearly so much as I am the person who took the time to throw some encouragement my way by making this nomination – and some other folks who I’d like to take the time to pass the baton forward and maybe some of them will run with it.


I greatly appreciate the gift of exhortation, and especially appreciate MommyVerbs directing her particular gift towards me. She told me to “Engage the Day!” Thank you so much for “verbing” me!

In her post, she explained that The Next Big Thing involves bloggers who either have a book under their belt, or are in the process of writing one, or should be writing one. What a great compliment to receive!

And, yes! I do have a novel I just recently finished! Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to share. My best current share is that I finally figured out how I wanted to classify its genre this week – as mystical realism. I’m currently working on its sequel, as well as another unrelated novel between work on my dissertation. But this first novel is closest of all to my heart, and I can’t wait for it to find its way into yours!

I’m getting ahead of myself though. Apparently, there are some specific questions that I’m supposed to answer in order to officially accept such a Big Thing – Next. So…here goes:

What is the title of your book?

At the Water’s Edge

Where did the idea come from for your book?

Its background comes from many personal life experiences, one of those being the loss of a daughter for whom I wanted to provide with her own life venture; another coming from the loss of my grandmother’s Irish father to her in her childhood. The mystical portion was the impetus, sparked by a recurring dream from various times in my life. And its setting in the reality context of the story (versus the supernatural one) came from my ‘little-brother-like’ nephew’s shared fascination in our family’s Irish heritage, which he was studying prior to losing his battle with leukemia in his early twenties. I wanted us to be able to make this trip to our ancestors’ homeland together, and I wanted (perhaps needed) a way to express restoration in the midst of loss.

What genre does your book fall under?

As I earlier mentioned (bragged?), I’ve just decided it belongs under the genre of ‘mystical realism’ (more often referred to as ‘magical realism‘ – but Ireland is a mystical place, as are the book’s experiences).

Which actors would you choose to play in your movie rendition?

Funny how my characters have lived among me for these past three years to the point that I can see them clearly in my mind. However, I can’t place a finger on specific actors that match those characteristics. I would want the Donnellys to all be authentic Irish actors.

Setting: It begins briefly in Dublin, then transitions to the Lietrim/Sligo region of the Irish Republic.

What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book?

My tag-line rolls into three thoughts. Here they are:

Restoration. All souls need it in a broken world. So much so that some unknowingly seek it out – not only for themselves, but also for others.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I’m in the process of query letter submissions to literary agents. This process is helping me learn to better summarize my overall project, but I know I still have much to learn in the area of appropriately marketing my work (since it wasn’t written as the product of a business mindset – which may be the greatest struggle for many writers).

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

The concept for this novel was birthed in early January 2009, and although I had completed a massive amount of it within months, I had to set it aside due to the demands of my doctoral studies. I got around to penning the final words on September 1, 2012, when my characters (and one of my test readers) demanded resolution to their story (or just their freedom from being held captive in my brain – who could blame them for that?).

What other books would you compare this story to?

I’m fairly certain I was strongly influenced by all the Sidney Sheldon books I read in my earlier years – his many female protagonists, with their unexpected adventures and romance always in the way, so to speak (but I guess Sheldon’s Genie is the closest he got to mystical). 😉

Though there are a good number of mystical reads around, and a good number of suspenseful adventure journeys that include a romantic element, I haven’t personally run across a similar read to this. (If I had, I wouldn’t have felt compelled to write about it, I suppose.) The main characters are interconnected from an historical past of which they aren’t even aware; while being influenced from a mystical dream that has occurred their entire lives, yet neither can bring themselves to reconcile (much less admit to) such a connection in reality. This element of uncertainty/denial actually serves to move the story forward.

Who or what inspired you to write the book?

At the Water’s Edge began as a personal expression for processing some losses in my life, while honoring those precious loved ones – all of whom have inspired me, one way or another – throughout my own life’s journey. This is a surreal tale, though, combining both natural and supernatural elements to speak to the importance of relationships with both those in our present and the ancestors of our past. After all, what’s life without a little magic sprinkled in?

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Readers are likely going to feel pulled along in indecision with Danielle in the decisions she’s going to finally have to face, both practically and relationally, as they become drawn into the lives and experiences of the Donnelly family with her.

I’ve included excerpts from the Irish bard of my story’s area, W.B. Yeats, particularly seeking to embrace his style of sharing the love of his land, drawing his reader into both the content and context surrounding his subjects.

It’s my hope that, through the descriptive aspects of the landscape, the people, and this region’s poetic elements, readers particularly of Irish emigrant descent might allow their souls to make that magical, ancestry-laden connection with the Emerald Isle.

And now…I would like to tag these folks as…. “The Next Big Thing!”

  • Marla at TravelingMarla surely has a fun, inspirational book in the works on her transformative experiences.
  • Joe’s a Poet and He Knows It (joe2poetry) – with a book of poetry! And he’s bloody Oirish too. 🙂 (I may be pushing it again.)

  • Tom at Cobbie’s World continually inspires me and others with his observant and gracious comments and feedback. I always enjoy reading his shared thoughts and bet you would too.

  • There are, of course, so many more talented bloggers whose work I read & with whom I have the privilege of interacting. It’s an exhaustive list. I’d invite you to peruse my “Whispers & Shouts” section for some of my more prolific commenters, as these are generally the ‘writer-types’ who actively interact on my blog.

  • And if you have a recent project in the works or under your belt that you’d like to brag about, have at it in the comments section! We’d love to hear about your ‘next big thang’!

Dream big,  -jody