Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Great Aeropostale Debate -- With or Without the "T"?

The debate in my house for almost a week now has been how to pronounce the name of the popular clothing store, Aeropostale.  Do you pronounce the T or not?  My oldest says without, and my youngest says with.  These girls are only nineteen months (11 & 12) apart and are at the age where they can bicker about anything or nothing. 

Usually I can break their feud with my opinion being the tie breaker, but not this time.  I've always pronounced the name without the T.  As a teenager, all my friends did, too.  It may have been due to my geographic location.  I don't know.  This answer didn't satisfy my little one who told me "You people just don't know about this kind of stuff anymore."  The image of the fence came rushing to the front of my mind again.  See earlier post.

She told me she'd prove she was right and bring home hard data from school.  She was sure everyone in her (advanced) fifth grade class pronounced the T.  A tally mark list would be her proof.  My 7th grader took a poll of her friends via text message.

Their results are in.  It was unanimous in the fifth grade.  Aeropostale is pronounced with a T.  Of my seventh graders close circle of friends, 80% pronounce it with a T. 

These results are backed by Wikipedia's pronunciation of the word.  However, I don't know if I'm truly convinced. Everyone that I know (from my generation) drops the T.  And when we shopped their  Wiregrass location in Tampa on Friday, their own employee greeted us, "Welcome to Aeropostale," without pronouncing the T.

I guess this means the subject is still open for debate.  Is Aeropostale pronounced with or without the "T"?  I'd like to hear from you.  How do you pronounce, Aeropostale?

- Heather

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

History on Grandmother's Tree, A Short Story by Heather Thorpe

I want to start out by thanking all of my Facebook friends and beyond for their kind words and encouragement with this weekend's posting of my short story, Grandmother's Tree. Click here to read.  When the weekend started out, I had every intention of working on some thoughts swimming around in my head for my sequel, but sitting down with pen to paper, Grandmother's Tree poured out instead. 

I was a little leary about posting my first short story on such a public forum, but the response has been so positive, it encourages me to post more in the future.  If you've never had the experience, you wouldn't believe how hard it is to publish one of your own works.  To leave yourself open to possible criticism is not for the weak spirited.  Thankfully, I've never been one of those individuals.  Backing down from what I believe in has never really been an option for me. 

Still, writing had always been very personal and not something I wanted openly critiqued by strangers, but I'm letting go of that notion.  Writing has been second nature since I was a teenager.  It's almost like therapy.  Unless you were within my trusted circle, this fact was a closely guarded secret of mine until now.  I cannot fulfill my lifelong dream of becoming a published author, without opening up myself and my writing.

I plan to talk more in the future about my writing journey towards publication.  The next time my pen has a mind of it's own, I'll be sure to post the outcome.  For now I'd just like to find the time to write my original thoughts for the sequel.  So many words swirling round.  So little time to jot them down.

- Heather

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Wonderful World of Blogging

Into my second week of blogging, and I'm beginning to realize how much time I could spend online.  Blogging alone could be a full-time occupation if I had the luxury, not to mention the world of Twitter which I'm still not sure I understand.  I've had to physically pry myself away from my computer on more than one occasion just to get a few things done that I've been neglecting.

As I mentioned last week, I just finished my first YA (young adult) fantasy novel, see earlier post.  I am so excited to take it to the next level!  The closest comparison I can make to my series is if C.S. Lewis': The Chronicles of Narnia  met  Alyson Noel's: The Immortals.  However, my characters are slightly older, there's a dark edge to the plot, and a fated romance, what could be better?  These characters and creatures have been a part of me for so long.  I can't wait for them to come alive for you, but I want to do this right.

I've been spending a lot of time on the sites of fellow bloggers, such as Nathan Bransford,  Robert Kroese,  Jane Friedman, and more.  They all seem to be saying the same thing.  Whether you're a published or indie author, social networking plays a vital roll in your success.  I'm up for the challenge.  I've had a Facebook account for years.  It's always been a private account for family and close friends, one where we exchange picts of our kids and talk about our day.  However, I'm eager to become more social, hence this blog and a public Facebook page.

I'm no stranger to marketing and the hours you must invest.  Having been a Real Estate Broker in a previous life, I'm well aware of the importance and time it takes to cultivate a following.  Although I'm at a bit of a loss when it comes to building a virtual presence.  I've read the blogs of other independent authors who have credited their success to their followers and book bloggers.  Each has said you need to find your target audience and blog about things that interest them. 

I'm a mother of two and plan to blog about the joys and challenges of having two, tween girls.  Being a writer, I will be blogging about my journey, frustrations, goals and anything else pertaining to writing.  My questions are these.  Where exactly do you find this following?  Better yet, how do you know if you're saying something they want to hear?

This isn't exactly like my old profession where I had concrete structures of glass and concrete to build from.  There are no neighborhoods to canvass with postcards or full page ads to rotate.  I can't exactly plan an event at our local board office where I can network and establish relationships as I have in the past.  As far as technology goes, I'm not a total clod.  I've kept up to date, having had my own website, virtual tours, and  monthly newsletter, but this is still different.

If any of my fellow bloggers are willing to share their experiences and offer me any kind of advice, I'd be eternally grateful.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Locked The Keys In The Car

Taking my eleven and twelve-year old daughters shopping is anything but dull.  Something unexpected always happens.  Usually I'm embarrassed beyond belief by my younger daughter, which I am happy to say was not the case today. However my older, responsible, trustworthy, follows every rule daughter decided it was her turn to make sure our day wouldn't go as planned.

With today being a No School Day, we decided to take the drive to The Shops at Wiregrass down in Tampa.  Being in the car for an hour, always requires an immediate bathroom break.  Amidst their bickering about where we'd go first, I ushered them into the Barnes & Noble since I was sure they'd have a bathroom.  Being in a bookstore is like heaven for me, and probably my only chance to visit one today.

On our way out, my oldest realized she left her phone in the car.  Being that I'd just gotten her this new phone a few weeks back, I didn't want it heating up in the car.  Any of my Facebook friends already know the Saga of the Green Cell Phone. I only shook my head and allowed her to walk back across the parking lot to retrieve her phone watching her the whole way.  She was so happy I let her to go back to the car on her own and came back with a huge smile on her face.

The smile quickly changed to panic when I asked her for the keys.  She patted her pockets, looked in her purse, and showed me her phone.  I gave her the look only a mother can give and told her, "Don't even..."  as the three of us walked across the street.  And sure enough, there were the keys sitting on the back seat.  After a few crocidile tears, which she can turn on at the drop of a hat, we made our way back into the mall to shop as planned and get in touch with their dad who had the spare key.

To my surprise and delight, the only slight reprimand I had to give my youngest was to stop saying, "This looks like old lady stuff!" especially when we walked by a store full of older women.  She's my fashion guru, and while I wholeheartedly agreed with her assessment, there are times when you need to keep your opinions to yourself.  It's a life lesson hard for children to grasp and one some adults never have.

All in all it was a great day.  Life moves us at such a fast pace.  There's never enough time to just stop and spend it with the kids doing whatever we want.  Being stranded for a few hours didn't hurt any of us.  We had a good time laughing, talking, and wandering into a few stores we probably wouldn't have.

Monday, March 21, 2011

It's Hammer Time & The Wooden Fence

Since Target is two minutes from my house, I am in there almost on a daily basis for something we've run out of.  However, yesterday I was stopped dead in my tracks as I was overcome with a severe case of Deja vu.  A late 80's flashback took over my mind in stereo. U Can't Touch This (click here to relive the video) started playing in my head over and over again.  My twelve-year old fell in love with a pair of pants (click here to view) similar to what I wore in 1988 to 1989. Although the style's been updated, the baggy principle is still the same.

My eleven year old was thoroughly repulsed by the newest style and the fact that I may have worn anything resembling such a fashion don't, in her opinion. Explaining to her, clothes like this were the hottest thing and people like MC Hammer wore them didn't help my cause.  "Macey who?" she replied. 

My eyes grew large, and my life flashed before my eyes with her comment.  In my mind, I could see the wooden fence.  In the next instant, I saw myself  on the other side of the fence.  The same side of the fence MY mom was always on.  The side my grandma and The Aunts were on.  The place where the grass wasn't greener.  The place where people, whom I've always loved dearly, were to be treated with respect but were just a little out of touch with the real world.

As horrifying as my realization was, I still chuckled at the fact that I could remember those harem pants like it was yesterday.  They were neon purple, and I wore them everywhere.  And I don't feel any older now than I did then.  I certainly don't feel as old as those people on the other side of the fence have always been.

However the truth remains, my daughters have become me, and I am now the mom on the other side of the fence.  No matter how much I want to deny it, the proof looks me in the eyes everyday in the form of their two beautiful faces.

My question is this.  How many of you can still remember the color of your harem/parachute pants?  Better yet, how many of you still own yours?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Magic Basket

Friday night's sleepover was a success! You'd have to know my younger daughter to understand why this excites me so.  Her grampa died of lung cancer in June of 2007, and she hasn't been able to sleep over there since.

However before she left, I gave her a new pair of shorts from a basket of overflow I keep on the top shelf in my closet.  I think every mom has one of these.  It's a bag or basket we keep of things we buy at a fabulous price and put away until we need it.

My daughter got so excited by these shorts she went screaming to her sister, "Look what the Magic Basket just gave me!"  I thought it was so funny to think of it that way.  To me it's just a large wicker basket I (literally) throw things up into.  But to an eleven-year old, this basket is always "magically" giving her things when she needs or wants them the most.

It's wonderful when the world still holds a bit of magic for us and the innocence of childhood is a beautiful gift that doesn't last long enough anymore.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Finding My Way

This is my last day of school vacation, and where did the week go?  I did get a lot accomplished on my book, but not so much of anything else. The house is a disaster. Today, I had no choice but to tackle a mountain of laundry that was threatening to take over my bathroom, and I had to run the dishwasher since we were out of counter space in the kitchen.

However, now that the kids are safely tucked at Grandma's for the night, I'm right back to work. This is my last free weekend before life sets back in, and we all go back to school on Monday.  I'd like to finish editing tonight so I can begin the next phase, self publication or traditional. Still deliberating on that one.

As you know, if you've been reading my other posts, this blog is new for me. I've also started my own Twitter page of the same name. Trying to navigate my way through the Tweeting world has been harder than I thought. I have to say I find Facebook so much easier. However, I'm not going to give up. It took me a few weeks to get a handle on Facebook, and I'm sure Twitter's no different. 

I'll find my niche soon enough.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Every Kid's Dream

This week is Spring Break for us, Yay!  I've had all week to devote to my daughters and my writing.  My twelve-year old has been my personal proof reader.  I thought we'd stay up late and read all night, but it hasn't worked out that way.  The other night I even gave her permission to stay up all night with me.  Every kid's dream, right?

By 10 o'clock, she was nodding off.  Her younger sister was laughing at her.  Even guzzling a Mountain Dew couldn't keep her going.  She'd read a few lines and doze back off.  It was priceless.  I guess it's true what they say.  Tell a kid NOT to do it, and they will.  My mistake was telling her she could stay up all night long.  I should've told her to go to bed like any other school night and read till ten.  Then she would've kept begging me for another half hour like she always does, and we might've made it until midnight or 1 a.m. if I was lucky.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Traditional or Nontraditional? That is the question.

I have loved and hated the power words can hold since I was a little girl. As a teenager, I was never separated from my pen. As a mom, my girls are always asking me, "Mom, will you tell me one of your stories?"

I've finally put one of those stories to paper.  The words flowed like a river, and there's at least two more novels to follow.  I can't wait to start on the second book, which is where my dilema sets in.  Being a published writer has always been my ultimate dream. Now as I sit at a crossroads, I contemplate whether or not to continue with the frustration of finding an agent in the hopes of publication or taking matters into my own hands and self publishing.  A possible dream still years from fruition or instant digital publication.

There has been a lot of talk lately on the pros and cons of traditional publication versus self publication. I never thought I'd want to go the way of self publication, but I must admit it's looking more and more appealing.  With Amazon Kindle offering a 70% royalty, and my book being at the reader's disposal by the mere click of a button, I'm not seeing much of a down side.

I realize I'd have to market the hell out of yourself, but having owned my own business for most of my life, I'm not totally turned off by this.  Where my weakness lies is being new to this industry, and the contacts of my old life won't help me in this new one.

Crossroads - a crucial point where a decision must be made.  To continue querying agents or self publish, advice from fellow writers would be most helpful.