While You Weren’t Looking…

Posted in News on March 1, 2010 by amareluna

This blog has moved!

Please visit me at my new address: http://actsofcreativity.com

Haiti Relief Effort

Posted in Random Musings with tags , , , , , on January 14, 2010 by amareluna

As many of you know, a massive, 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti near the capital of Port-au-Prince on Tuesday, January 12th.  Unfortunately, the country is not equipped to deal with an emergency of this proportion.

With so many individuals in need, Saponifier Magazine has been in contact with Missionary Flights International (http://www.missionaryflights.org), an organization based out of Fort Pierce, Florida.  This group is currently flying relief missions to Haiti.  They are asking for donations of:

Hygiene products – soap, toothpaste, shampoo, etc. Handmade items are accepted.
Snack-type food – granola bars, etc.
Peanut butter
Towels and washcloths
First Aid kits
Flashlights & Batteries

Soaps and other products donated should be individually packaged before packing.  Donations should be clearly marked with contents and sent to:

3170 Airmans Drive
Fort Pierce, FL 34946

Soap Donations Needed

In addition to Missionary Flights International, Clean The World (http://www.cleantheworld.org) is accepting donations of handmade bar soaps. These soaps will be run through a re-batching and sterilization process, so they do not need to be full bars- hospitality size and larger are acceptable.  Clean The World has asked that you send your soap in bulk with as little packaging material as possible.

Bar soaps should be mailed to:

Clean the World
4625 Old Winter Garden Road, #B 7,
Orlando, FL 32811

For more information on shipping your soap to Clean The World, please visit their Volunteer page at http://www.cleantheworld.org/volunteer.asp

Crazy Weather

Posted in Random Musings with tags , , , , , , on January 13, 2010 by amareluna

The crazy weather down here in Florida has been monopolizing my time of late.  The most obvious impact it has had was found in my internet access, which mysteriously disappears if the temperature drops below about 40 degrees.  Since we have digital phones, the phones go on vacation as well.  Annoying, to say the least, but at least they come back around noon, when things thaw out.

In addition to the crazy internet outages, the local environment has been hit really hard.  My husband was speaking with one of the grove owners yesterday, who reported a total crop failure of both citrus and strawberries.  There won’t be any winter corn, the tomatoes didn’t survive.  But the real tragedy is the Indian River Lagoon.

The effect on the lagoon has been so severe that I actually submitted an iReport to CNN- you can check it out below.

Dangerously Low Temperatures Leave Florida Fisheries Reeling

Obviously, this is not a good situation.  Since I did the report, I found out that even alligators were being found dead in the icy water.  It’ll be a long time before the ecology recovers from this.

In other news, we’ve brought in three new writers for Saponifier and I’m very excited to have them on board- look for fresh new copy in the next issue!

This Human Condition: A Collection of Flash and Micro Fiction

Posted in Call For Submissions, Epubs, Writing with tags , , , , on January 1, 2010 by amareluna

Happy New Year! I’m very excited to be kicking off 2010 with a wonderful announcement:

We are now accepting submissions to This Human Condition: A Collection of Flash and Micro Fiction!

This unique anthology will feature a collection of stories ranging from 250-1000 words.  The book will be divided into two sections, each with corresponding emotional themes.

Section One


Section Two


Petal Pusher Press, the publisher of Saponifier Magazine and my current employer, is sponsoring the anthology.  This means that it will be edited, proofed and then generated by a talented layout designer that who will make this e-Book pop!

As originally planned, the completed eBook will be distributed at no cost to readers through the participating author websites, as well as via download on Amazon.com. Authors who contribute to this project will have to grant Petal Pusher Press limited use of their work, but will retain copyright. 

Because this anthology is designed to assist new authors with marketplace recognition, no payment will be made to any participating author.


Submission will be accepted by email until January 30, 2010

Email subject must read: This Human Condition Submission

Email body must include:

  • Your Full Name
  • Your Email Address
  • A 200 Word Biography of the Author
  • Your website URL
  • The Section and Emotion that you are submitting to

You may also include a a 200×200 pixel headshot for marketing purposes.

All submissions should be sent as an .RTF email attachment. RTF files need to named in the following format: human_condition-AUTHORNAME.  RTF files should be formatted to have 12 point Times New Roman font.

All questions and submissions should be directed to Tamara Dourney via email to Tamara@petalpusherpress.com

10 Things I Learned About Writing in 2009

Posted in SheWrites, Writing with tags , , , , on December 31, 2009 by amareluna

I wrote this for SheWrites, posting it over there first, so some of you may have already read this.

Its been a long year, and frankly I’m glad to see it leaving us in peace. Despite the challenges I’ve faced, I can rejoice in many learning experiences, as well as the formation of many new friendships. Having said all that, I’ll get to the good stuff and share with you the top ten things I learned about writing over the past year.

1. If you tell someone you’re a writer, they will ask you what you’ve written that they might have read or heard of. I find this interesting on several levels. First, because many people assume that your writing is either meaningful or worthless based on your response. Second, because the odds that the average person has come in contact with any one book or magazine article are fairly slim. Consider Amazon.com- according to Wikipedia, there are currently about 250,000 books on the site. The Washington Post has reported that about 1/4 of the population actually doesn’t pick up a single book in an entire year; the rest read about 9 novels per year. Even if they read 9 books per year for 65 years, that means they’d only read 0.234% of the books available on Amazon.com. This tends to give an overwhelming portion of the population the impression that writing, on the whole, is worthless.

2. I don’t care. I don’t write to get the approval of others; I do it because I just can’t help myself. I find fulfillment in providing reading material that others enjoy, pride in knowing that I might have given someone a new perspective on a topic. So, if no one ever reads anything I write, that is okay- I’m still going to write it anyway.

3. Writing can pay the bills, but it requires an overwhelming amount of work. There are no easy, eight hour days and, when a deadline is looming, the words you need are most likely to fail you.

4. No amount of notebooks or computer programs can organize my notes.

5. Outlines are great I particularly like the sound they make as I move them to the recycling bin.

6. Editing and Revisions never end. Never. Its very much like the Henry the 8th song. Second verse, same as the first.

7. Proofing is best done 1 to 2 years after a story is completed. Five to ten years might work even better, as the content is sure to be long forgotten by then, but that wouldn’t allow for the next five rounds of proofing you’ll be going through. Ah, the dangling particle of it all!

8. It’s way too easy to slip into a rhythm, formatting all your sentences exactly the same. You, of course, will never notice you’ve done this, but will be appalled when someone points it out to you in a very public manner.

9. I enjoy writing things I hadn’t expected to enjoy. Like flash and micro fiction and even children’s stories.

10. I love the Kindle and I’m thrilled to be learning how to format writing for it.

And that, my friends, is what I learned about writing over the past 12 months.

Working Hard

Posted in Epubs, Random Musings, SheWrites on December 29, 2009 by amareluna

I’ve been working my backside off over the last couple days.  Between developing a new website, finalizing the January issue of Saponifier and teaching myself how to design for the Kindle, my plate has been fairly full.

In related news, I’m also working to put together an anthology of Flash and Micro Fiction, full of collected works from the members of SheWrites.  Really looking forward to this one- there are so many talented writers that its fun reading what they come up with.

Took a break this evening; went with the family to see the movie Avatar, which I loved.  The special effects were fabulous (we went to the 3d version) and the entire thing flowed well, but I couldn’t help feeling like I was watching an updated, Sci-Fi version of Ferngully.

Currently reading: Midnight in Madrid by Noel Hynd


Learning Curve

Posted in Epubs, Writing with tags , , , , , on December 27, 2009 by amareluna

kindle_dx_hands[1]Many people don’t know this, but I’ve been designing for the ‘net for many years.  I’m one of those computer geeks who took their wobbly first steps with a few html brackets and a Hello World! post.  Over the years, web design has undergone impressive changes- the advent of the WYSIWYG editor, CSS, PHP…the list goes on. 

Knowing this now, I’m sure you can probably understand my surprise when, after extensive research, I discovered that the new e-book format I was hoping to learn to work with was taking it back to those old-school days when pure html was king.

I’m currently working on a test run of Saponifier Magazine– our latest issue in Kindle format through Mobipocket Creator.  I was lucky enough to receive a Kindle as a gift over the holidays (I have the best boss ever!) and am completely addicted.

Having said that, I’m curious. Has anyone else been using Mobipocket? Are there any tips or tricks that you could share? I also wondered if any authors out there were using either Amazon’s DTP or Payloadz to self-publish/distribute e-books.  Have you had any experiences you think other authors should know about?

Another Holiday Behind Us

Posted in Random Musings with tags , , , on December 26, 2009 by amareluna

My New Dell Inspiron 1750 Its been quite some time since I updated here, but I’m hoping that things will calm down enough to allow me to return.  Since my last post, we’ve gone what seems 10 rounds with medical issues: swine flu (everyone in the family), an enlarged spleen (my husband), abdominal surgery (my dad), an ER trip and hospitalization (my husband)- the works. 

We’ve also managed to make it through science fair, field trips and the usual stress associated with a holiday season during a recession.  I think it nearly goes without saying that life got a bit too hectic for writing- truthfully, I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

As the New Year approaches, I can only help that the medical woes are behind us and I’ll be able to get back to my routine…along with a few additions.  Like the new Wii the family got for Christmas.  Typing now is a bit hard, but I got a bronze medal in both Baseball and Golf.  I’ll let you know when I’ve recovered the use of my right arm- and when I finally beat my 12 year old at boxing.

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and wish the entire world a wondrous New Year filled with health, prosperity and creativity.

THT: Week 7

Posted in Treasure Hunt Tuesday with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 18, 2009 by amareluna

Treasure Hunt Tuesday, week seven.  You might wonder why I’m keeping track of the weeks; its a way to pleasantly surprise myself with my own follow-through.  Sure, we all know that this blog is just for fun, but sometimes its nice to be reminded of what you have achieved.  I’m not sure if its all enjoyment, though- where did the weeks go? I’d continue on that tangent, but its early and I’m not certain I’ve had enough coffee for the really deep thoughts.  So, on to the Treasure Hunt!

Sullivan's Island by Dorothea Benton Frank

Sullivan's Island by Dorothea Benton Frank

“Yeah, he’s about five-ten and has huge blue eyes, thick blond hair and more teeth than Antonio Banderas.  Not skinny, just fit, you know?”

I began to choke on my Pepsi.  She had just described her father without realizing it.  Christ on the couch of life, Freud breathes and Oedipus did the CPR.  She was going to get her little heart broken-I knew it.  I struggled to maintain my composure,   steadfast at the wheel, as we sailed into the treacherous, uncharted waters of romance.

Every time I read this particular scene- from Dorothea Benton Frank’s Sullivan’s Island– I laugh out loud.  Perhaps its because I’m the mother of a teenage daughter as well as someone who can appreciate the ingenuity of including a reference to Christ, Freud and Oedipus in a single, blasphemous quip.

I’ve read several of Frank’s books, all of which I’ve enjoyed.  She has an ability to express a picture of the south that rings true even where I live, which is surprisingly similar to the Low Country she writes about in her books.  Her characters could have been my neighbors growing up, which makes it that much easier to slip into the world she creates.

Another simple quote from the same book that I love comes during a scene full of grief over the loss of a loved one.

She put her cup on the night table, extended her arms to me and sighed a sigh that sucked in the whole room and then blew it all away.  Shakily, I leaned over her bed and kissed her on the cheek.  She smelled like sweat and old perfume.

I can’t think of a better reason to choose these words as this week’s Gem- words that can immerse you in a scene- or in a feeling, like the second quote- should always be considered a treasure.

Week In Review

Posted in Random Musings, Talkabout Thursdays with tags , , , , , , , on August 14, 2009 by amareluna

I missed you, did you miss me?  This week flew by!  I know, I didn’t post yesterday, but I had good reason, I swear.  Yesterday was Migraine Day.  It comes about twice a month on average and involves lots of medication, dark rooms, cold air and sleep.  Its generally a miserable day all around, but there is one oddity that occurs on Migraine Day: I get cravings.  Usually its for vast quantities of food, which is unusual, since I’m generally ambivalent on the concept of eating to begin with.  Most Migraine Days, I want red meat- which I never eat unless (a) my iron is dangerously low or (b) its Migraine Day.   Thanks to the wonderful world of the internet, I know I’m not alone in this-  check out Stacey Snacks: Migraine Munchies for an example.

Circus Peants- Puffed bits of sugar and corn syrup

Circus Peants- Puffy bites of made from sugar, corn syrup, gelatin, soy protein, food coloring and artificial flavor. Yum!

Every once in awhile, though, something ridiculous happens: I crave sweets.  No, no- not that stuff I normally eat- I’m talking the big guns! Things like Candy corn, Circus Peanuts and Smartees, anything that is nearly pure sugar.  I have no idea why this happens, as my typical junk food choices are salty over sweet.  When choosing sweet on a daily basis I opt for the Hershey bar (with almonds, thanks!) or a Kit Katt- something with chocolate, but not all chocolate.

Believe it or not, there is a point to me sharing all of this with you.  During yesterday’s horrible Migraine Day, the medication has kicked in and I’m happily ensconced in my dark, quiet room when BAM! the sugar craving hits.  Only problem? There are no sweets in the house.  None.  Not so much as a Popsicle (which is quite shocking, since this is Florida in August)!  In my drug-induced stupor I try to reason with myself.  I don’t need the sweets, I just want them.  Have you ever tried that line of thinking? How’d it work for you?

It failed miserably for me.

So, last night at about 10 p.m., my husband was on his way to the store.  At this point you’re probably asking yourself what wondrous confectionery he purchased for me, but if you are, you’re in for a surprise: he bought eggs.  See, in my desperation for something sweet, I remembered that, a few weeks back (right after a Migraine Day, actually…lol) I bought a box of Funnel Cake mix and my husband promised to make them for me.

Yes, I was enjoying funnel cake at 10:30 last night. It was WONDERFUL- almost as wonderful as my husband, who always seems to have the best sense of humor and patience when indulging my odd behavior.

Now that Migraine Day is behind me, here’s a great blog to check out for yesterday’s Talkabout Thursday:

Nicole Balch’s Making it Lovely

Its one of the most visually appealing blogs I’ve ever encountered and I love how creative Nicole is in her style choices.  Plus, I think there’s a little voyeur in us all (have you peeked in someone’s medicine cabinet before?) and this peek into their lives serves that darker side of us, the one we hardly every….well…indulge…lol.

A final note: For those of you who are wondering why I’ve typed Migraine Day in bold and italicized it, you must not suffer from migraines.