Archive | November 2014

What I’m Thankful For… and this time, let it be about YOU…

thankfulWhen Thanksgiving comes around, it’s customary to go around the table and tell everyone what you’re thankful for. Most of the time the answer is “our children, health and a warm home” and they are totally acceptable answers. I am thankful I’m a mom, thankful my family is healthy and so thankful that I am now two years past our 12 days without power during Hurricane Sandy. I am thankful I can put food on the table and that my children have no idea how lucky they are and their biggest stresses are if their phones runs out of power or they have to finish their homework.

But what if the question was “besides our family, our health and our warm homes” what are you thankful for? What are you thankful for that sits deep in your gut? The stuff that feeds your base needs and desires and for some reason we seem to feel that by saying those out loud, that makes us selfish. I don’t agree. I think those wonderful things “that make you thankful to be YOU” are the saving grace for all of us.

So, I’ll start. I’m thankful that I’m “brave.” I’m thankful that a few years ago I jumped into publishing and I tried this crazy gig getting my books out into the world. I’m on 6 books now with two anthologies scheduled to come out in 2015. So, I’m thankful I got the guts to even try it.

Meeting Douglas Preston at the Blue Labyrinth Launch in NYC

Meeting Douglas Preston at the Blue Labyrinth Launch in NYC

I’m thankful for social media and authors who embrace it. For getting the chance to meet, on quite a few occasions now, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child who have written the most amazing series of books that literally stay with me through my days. (might I suggest you start with Relic and go from there) I’m thankful that I took a leap of faith and after 19 years at my job I decided to try another side of the business. If I weren’t brave, I might have still been sitting at the same desk, calling on the same people that I’ve been doing for years.

I’m thankful I’ll try crazy foods and that I’ll put myself into uncomfortable situations, that I’m stubborn and obstinate at times and thankful that if someone messes with my children, I am brave enough to open my mouth loud and wide.

I’m thankful I’m a pretty decent cook and 9 out of 10 times the family eats what I make them. Lastly, I’m thankful that my 14 year old Jeep Cherokee is still working and my ferret stopped biting my feet all the time.

These are the types of things I don’t normally say at the Thanksgiving table, but they are true feelings. So, I’d love to hear what you’re thankful for that has nothing to do with family and everything to do with YOU. It’s time to let it out – don’t worry, we don’t judge.

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The Day I Learned There are “Dirty” Words in Sign Language.

profanityI had such a great response to my post on “My Fascination with Sign Language,” I thought I’d share some other stories from my Professor Larry Forrestal, who was my teacher when I took ASL in college. Larry was deaf and conducted the entire class in sign language so the students would be immediately immersed in the language.

One of the great things about ASL is that within about four chapters of vocabulary words, you can actually start speaking to each other. The language is amazing. There are a lot of technical things, like grammar, and there’s a perception that ASL is “English.” While the words are in English, the grammar is different and just like any other language, there are proper ways to say things in order to communicate more effectively. Only problem is, I’m terrible at grammar – both in English AND ASL.

But, to get back to the topic of this post, like any other language, there are also dirty words! To a bunch of college-aged kids, learning them became a source of secret pride. I remember one day in class Professor Forrestal was doing something at the front of the room and a bunch of us started openly speaking about the fact that there are dirty words in ASL. (Larry had told us previously there were not). We began to show each other all the words we had learned. (some of them from the Marlee Matlin movie Children of a Lesser God). “BS” was a big one and a few other choice words of content that I just can’t post here. BUT, the embarrassing thing was Larry had slinked up behind us and was watching us do the words and when we realized he was there, we were so embarrassed. But, true to his wonderful character, he just rolled his eyes, brought us all into a circle and proceeded to teach us the proper way to say these words. He signed “if you’re determined to do them, at least do them right!” Really loved this guy. All I’ll say is that one of the words looks like “pizza” with a double pump to the chin and another looks like “shoes.” There’s a few more, but suffice it to say that like in any language there is indeed, slang.

flying montage I’m thinking of adding some slang in my next ASL book. My main character is getting older and I’m curious if teens use it. I may have to inquire at Mill Neck Manor if I can come in and speak to the kids again to see if they can help me. They were invaluable when I was writing book #2 in the series. FLYING TO THE LIGHT is about a young deaf boy who knows about the afterlife and now people are after him for the answer. FLYING TO THE FIRE continues the tale seven years later and my main character’s life is suddenly turned upside down yet again. Book #3 is going to be called FLYING HOME… I already know what the main story is about, but now I have to figure out how to get there.

So I ask folks this: I always thought I’d end the series in a trilogy, but could this tale continue further and should I set it up to keep going? It was not something I thought about until a few weeks ago. Love to hear your thoughts.

Embrace Your Fears…

fearI was talking to someone recently who always wanted to travel the world, but they were too uncomfortable, or too scared, to do it. Maybe it was the strange foods, the different languages, the media fear that perpetrates the news that they’re going to die if they leave their safe little haven. It’s probably all of the above, but to let fear rule your life will get you no where.

I write books. I’ve written them for years, but only in the past three years have I started to publish them. Why? Fear. Fear that people would laugh at me, fear that it’s not the “Great American Novel” and I’ll be ridiculed, fear of no sales, you name it. But one day something in me clicked. Maybe I got more mature, but I finally said “so what if it’s not the great american tale? I’m not Hemingway and I’m not trying to be him.” I recently read John Locke’s book on how he sold a million e-books and one thing really stuck with me. I need to stop worry about creating a book that is going to become a classic and write something fun, entertaining, engaging and will take everyone out of their everyday lives for just a little bit of time. If I’ve been able to accomplish that, it’s a success. That was a relief to read and I’m embracing it. (Not that I don’t want my books to get wide acclaim, and not that I won’t put out the best novel I can, but let’s take it one step at a time).

Me talking to the kids at Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf.

Me talking to the kids at Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf.

Other things that scare people? Strange foods, daring situations, presenting in front of people… my feeling is, that if any single part of you wants to try something, you should try it. If fear is the motivating factor getting in your way, and nothing else, then you need to fight it. I tend to put myself in uncomfortable situations all the time. I go to events by myself because I want to try new things and sometimes other people won’t go with me. I spoke to children at two Deaf Schools, Mill Neck Manor and St. Joseph’s, about my YA thrillers and my Sign Language was not the best, but I tried. I feel like putting yourself out there is the only way to grow. Even a book signing is slightly terrifying. Strangers coming up to you to discuss something that you’ve put your heart and soul into.

Honestly, it’s easier to sit in our homes, hide in our beds, exist in our safe little worlds – but that is not life. Life is meant to be lived and I implore you to live it. Share your artwork or writing, go to karaoke, jump out of that plane, try sushi, octopus, escargot. Pick one thing you’ve always wanted to do and then do it. Or, make a bucket list and see if you can click things off of it – even if it takes years. I did one below:

My first Tae Kwon Do Tournament - waiting to do forms. I look tough, but I was SO NERVOUS.

My first Tae Kwon Do Tournament – waiting to do forms. I look tough, but was SO NERVOUS.

My bucket list that I made seven years ago:
Get my black belt and participate in a tournament (five years later – GOT IT)
Get a book published (seven years later – SIX are out!)
Try new foods (joined a Gastronaut crazy eating club)
Travel the world (went to Alaska this summer and have plans for Italy in less than three years!)
Jump out of a plane (I still have not done this – I admit it, I’m terrified)

Now I realize I need to make another one and I’ve been thinking hard on what I want to put on it.

So, what’s on your bucket list that you’d love to do, but are scared to do? Let us know – maybe we can convince you to try!

If I Had a Scented Tattoo…

tattooI love tattoos and think they are super cool. But, I love them from afar. You see, I’m scared out of my mind of getting one and putting something so permanent on my body. I have my ears pierced, but I can switch out the earrings every day. A tattoo is there for life.

But, I’m a bit of a prankster and there’s a crazy side of me that would love to get a tattoo just for “the joke.” You see, I love lilacs. They are my favorite flower in the world, and I always thought if I ever got a tattoo it would be a very small spray of lilacs right above my right hip. I actually have a cousin who is a freakishly talented tattoo artist and if I ever got one, I’d go to him. I once asked him if tattoos could be “scented.” He stared at me for a very long time, thought about it and finally said, “I don’t think so…” You see, if I get a tattoo of lilacs, I want it to actually smell like lilacs. So, I figure if I ever got a tattoo of lilacs, EVERY single morning I’d dab lilac essential oil on it and when people ever asked me “do you have a tattoo” I’d say “Sure, and it’s scented, too!” Then I’d raise my shirt and let them take a sniff. The joke would be that I’d never tell them that for that single solitary, momentary joke, each morning I put perfume on just that tiny spot. Yes, I’m crazy.

The sun coverBut, tattoos intrigue me and for most people they have incredible meaning. It could be for something spiritual, in memory of a person they love, or just something that makes them smile. It could also be something more sinister. What if your tattoo determined “who you were in a particular culture?” That concept intrigued me and I wrote a short story called THE SUN AND THE STAR. This story was chosen for a published anthology, but then they went out of business and I got the rights back, so I wanted to share it with the world. It’s about a prince who falls in love with a commoner, something which is looked down upon in their society. In their culture, people are tattooed at early ages to denote their class system. This is a poignant, sweet, lovely little romance sci-fi story. Think Romeo & Juliet, with a twist. I sell this tale for just 99 cents if you’d like to take a peek:

US: http://amzn.to/1uuKvMz
UK: http://amzn.to/1tq3awP

Check out these great reviews:

I thoroughly enjoyed this short love story. “The Sun and the Star” grabbed my attention right from the first page to the last. It starts off with the shocking discovery of a beautiful young teenage girl in a farmer’s field in the early 1900’s. When and how she got there is part of the mystery and allure of this well-written love story with an unpredictable twist.

This is not your everyday love story. Full of twists and turns. Great read from Central Park to outer space!!!! Elyse has a real way with words.

I have more books and novels coming out this year. If you’d like to be part of my mailing list, please click here: CONTACT ME

Do any of you have any tattoo stories you’d like to share? I’d love to hear! And if you need some tattoo ideas, I found a couple of really cool sites to check out:

http://tattoo-ideas.us/
http://youqueen.com/life/top-10-best-tattoo-designs-for-women/ (some of these are SO pretty!)
http://www.menstattooideas.com/best-tattoos-for-men/
http://oddstuffmagazine.com/more-then-50-best-tattoo-designs-2013-for-men.html