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Painted Rock Neighborhood

In case you didn’t get the memo (or you never look at your surroundings), we are presently smack-dab in the middle of a painted rock craze. (At least in my  neighborhood we are.)

My son and I didn’t go looking for them. We just happened upon them, a delightful surprise. Actually, when we go searching on purpose we usually cannot find any.

My son found a couple. I hashtagged them and posted them on Facebook, as the rocks instructed. Then I discovered there was an actual fb group for our area. I resisted joining it. But once I made a few rocks, I was really curious if anyone had found them. So I gave in and joined the group.

Then my stress level instantly went through the ceiling. I felt pressure to find rocks. To hide rocks. To make rocks to hide. People were in the group actually complaining because they had made and hidden rocks, but no one had posted them to fb  yet.

DO THEY REALIZE HOW INSANE THEY SOUND?!

1. These are in PUBLIC PLACES. That means anyone can take them. Raccoons could take them.
2. Not everyone has a computer or smart phone.
3. Not everyone uses Facebook.
4. Not everyone knows about this activity.
5. People CAN KEEP THEM. This is an unofficial community game. No one is required to play by your arbitrary rules. The cops are not going to track down the “theft” of a painted rock.

I couldn’t fall asleep that night. This is supposed to be a fun community interaction. But instead I could only feel all the emotions of the people who were mad that they didn’t find any rocks, the ones who hid them and felt they were not being found, and the groundskeeper at a public park who mowed over some. And there are the people who are already freaking out about what to do when winter arrives and it could possibly–God-forbid–snow.

I have not left the group yet, but I probably will very soon. There are so many people doing this now. My newsfeed is filled with rocks. The chances of me actually seeing one of the three rocks I have hidden to date would be like finding a painted rock at bottom of a river. It is fun to paint them once in a while, and to find one when we are out and about already, but I don’t have extra time to dedicate to this hobby.

Or the money. Apparently if the designs are to stand up for any length of time in the harsh elements, they need to be sealed. People keep saying Mod Podge is good for that. I have never used it. My sister-in-law said she saw some at the dollar store, but with this craze it was long gone by the time I got there. It is $3 at my local Meijer store. I already have a large collection of rocks painted and ready to go. Just counting down the days until payday so I can buy some Mod Podge.

The rocks of my son & I, almost ready to be released into the world

Here is a fun fact: If you say “Modge Podge” (because that is what I thought it was called until 10 seconds ago when I Googled it) 10 times in a row really fast in a semi-robotic voice, it will deeply annoy everyone in your house. (Except for the elderly dog who is deaf.)

Go ahead, try it! You can thank me later 😉

From the broken mind of Jennifer Friess, the joining of hearts & souls…
NOW AVAILABLE! Troll Gurl and the Cursed Kingdom

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What I Learned This Week – 10/19/14

Yesterday I attended ConTroll YA Under the Bridge, a Young Adult Literacy Conference.  The best thing about it?

It was held in ADRIAN!  Where I live!  Nothing cool ever comes to Adrian.

I was sooo happy that I didn’t have to drive to Ann Arbor or Toledo, or even Detroit to attend such an event.

Some sweet stuff I picked up at ConTroll YA

Some sweet stuff I picked up at ConTroll YA

The worst thing about it?

THE NAME.

“Con” apparently stands for conference.  The “Troll” and “Under The Bridge” parts apparently just have to do with that we are in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, hence, UNDER the Mackinac Bridge.  But, that is like 300 miles away.

Still confused?  It was a conference that brought eight Young Adult authors, both contemporary and fantasy, to the Adrian Public Library for panel discussions, a workshop, and a book signing.

This was the first year for this event.  It was evident, but everything seemed to run smoothly and I learned a lot.

I was kind of bummed that what was touted as a “Writing Workshop” turned out to be more of a workshop on traditional publishing.  This would have been very informative for my asbestos friend, who wishes to take that route.  Unfortunately, she did not attend.  I would have preferred a workshop on the actual writing process, or self publishing.  I learned about traditional publishing from the Ann Arbor District Library Emerging Writers Workshops that I attended, and from the 12 years I worked at the Borders corporate office.  Granted, Borders mostly taught me about the end of the writing process, where your book is published, reviewed by buyers, ordered, allocated, replenished, marked Out of Print, and returned.  That past knowledge was enough to convince me that traditional publishing is not for me.  And the information I received yesterday strengthened that fact.

There was one self published author there yesterday, Eric Priuska author of “The Fireball Rebellion”.  He offered up that he loved all the control he had with self publishing, but that the downfalls are that you have to do absolutely EVERYTHING yourself.  Ya, I kinda figured that.

Great tips from ConTroll YA:

– An outline should act as your story’s GPS, and that it is more important to know what your plot points will FEEL like, more so than what actually might happen.

– All writers are narcissistic to believe other people will want to read what you created, and also an insecure mess.

– To market your book, you must be PRESENT, as in you can’t be obnoxious, but you also cannot be a wallflower.

– You have to keep real yourself, and your author self separate.

– An agent only gets paid when they get you a publishing deal.  Don’t pay one out of your pocket.

– Don’t let in people who are not going to be supportive of your writing.  (Guess who?)

– Every scene should have conflict & every scene should be moving the story forward.

– For every character, you should build a history, then know what they want and what they are willing to do to get it.

Every change I thought up to make to my novel while I was at the conference, I had talked myself out of again by the time I got home.

For the first year, I think it went great.  I would definitely go back again next year.  The room wasn’t full, but there were enough people that with two entries, I couldn’t win a door prize.  And, as I sat in the seats listening to the authors in their panel discussions, I dreamed that maybe I would be up there next year discussing my YA book I am working on, The Wind Could Blow a Bug.

Books of the Authors who participated.  Thanks!

Books of the Authors who participated. Thanks!

Below are the authors who participated.  I have added the links to their home pages as well.  Please support them.  I did.

K.A. Barson – 45 Pounds (More or Less)

Eric Priuska – The Fireball Rebellion

Kate Bassett – Words & Their Meanings

Bethany Neal – My Last Kiss

Aimee Carter – The Goddess Test

Courtney Allison Moulton – Angelfire

Leah Cliffored – A Touch Mortal

Scott Tracey – Witch Eyes

I also learned this week that Jack Link’s Sweet & Hot Jerky and Planters Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Almonds are a great compliment to one another.

Meijer Moms Sing “Man In The Mirror”

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On Monday, I was at Meijer. I was shopping for a few staple items–lunchmeat, bread, milk, the book “The Age of Miracles” (which is really good by the way, you all should read it), diapers, etc.

It was just my 20 month-old and I. As we were walking through one of the frozen food aisles, I passed a woman with a small child riding in the cart (as mine was) and another child walking with her. The mother was singing along to the music that was playing in the store. It was Michael Jackson singing “Man in the Mirror”. I noticed because usually I am the only crazy person who sings in the store (although on this occasion, I was not).

I turned the corner and went into the next aisle of frozen food. And I once again passed a woman with a small child riding in the cart, singing along to “Man in the Mirror”. I did a double-take to see if it was the same woman. But it was a different one.

Since than, the news has been filled with stories about the Jackson family fighting over Michael’s three kids. I am sure Michael would have hated that his family is fighting over his precious kids and how public it all is. But, I bet if he saw the mothers singing his music as they grocery shopped, it would bring a smile to his face.

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