A Special Word of the Day : Amalgamology

First blog post of the New Year and well on the way to my first full year of blogging…I can hardly believe it. So much happened the last half of 2015, and I’ve managed to find myself in an excellent launching place for the start of 2016; a lot is going to happen this year.

But first! For those that have been following and perhaps wondered, or those new and curious, a special word of the day: Amalgamology. What is it besides the name of my blog? Well, first, it’s not technically a word (as in not in the dictionary)…yet (that’s right, I’m channeling Shakespeare  and Dr. Seuss here). I fused two words together, as many words are. First there’s amalgam, which is a mixture or blend, and then ology, or simply, the study of a subject or branch of knowledge. So what does it mean? Here’s my definition:

amalgamology
Amalgamoology: the study of a mix of blend of thoughts and ideas

 

The easiest way I can explain why I call my blog this is because…I don’t do the whole niche thing. There are many fantastically talented writers that have one area their platform is known for or raised on, or one topic in particular they focus on.

I completely understand the benefits involved with having a niche and working within that scope, a lot of things become a lot easier for marketing, finding your audience, much more. However, if I tried to pin myself down to only one aspect of….almost anything, I think I might combust.

giphy
The same thing happens when asked about my favorite book…singular

My interests are many and varied. Another way to say it is that I’m eclectic. I have a handful of useful “go-to” answers to the question of my interests, but if I were to give my full list, it would overwhelm anyone, including me.  In fact I will, most begrudgingly, admit that I probably will not have enough time to delve as deeply into everything that I want to in this lifetime…there are just so many amazing thing to read, learn, see, do!

Admittedly, a good chunk of what you will find on here is writing or literary related, but why choose when you don’t have to? I understand what is typical, but this is me forging my own path and I don’t think I should start changing that about myself now…I’ll save you any possible suspense, but me choosing one focus, topic, interest, otherwise, is not likely in the cards. I’m okay with that, I hope you are too! Who doesn’t like to shake things up occasionally? Believe me, there will still be plenty of writing related goodness (have I mentioned I’ve got plans?) 😉

If you’re curious about what topics might be on the horizon, or just in general where some of my interests in and out of writing and books lie, then here you go:

Writing– competitions, tips, useful resources, updates on my own, sharing of others’, etc. the list could go on. (stay tuned for an influx of fiction to be shared as well..plans, you know?)

Languages– this could come in many forms, I love languages and wish I spoke others as fluently as English. I know some German, a little French, bits of Russian, Italian, Spanish, Latin, ….the list I want to know encompasses and goes beyond these….(I said  a lot right?)

Awareness/Causes– many issues that could use attention including mental illness, abuse in all its many forms, Lupus and a few other medical issues close to my heart, etc., posts to raise awareness, combat stereotypes, offer help, and more are likely candidates.

Art– paintings, drawings, sculptures, mixed media, photography, artists I know, artists I’ve newly found, and more! Any way that I can slide some art in, you can bet I will.

Travel– it’s a big world out there, so much to see and experience, so much to learn! Places I want to go, sharing interesting tidbits from research, either for my books, or my own inte-…okay same thing, my interests, varied as they are.

Books– anything to do with books, reviews, suggestions, etc. also this and travel may overlap in the area of libraries, but you can definitely expect books.

Crafting– this could involve sewing, knitting, jewelry, clay, stuffed animals…anything that comes to mind when I’m in a crafty mood.

Anything!

Really, I could probably be here all day but you get the picture: I have lots of interests, and I couldn’t choose just one or even two to focus on. If I end up doing so naturally, that’s perfectly fine, but I won’t purposely restrict myself to a few topics to suite a niche. That feels too limiting.

Thus, Amalgamology is the name of my blog (if you were curious). Does your blog have a specific name, word, or phrase for a reason? Please share what you named your blog and why in the comments.

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October Platform Challenge from Writer’s Digest- Not just for October

The beginning of October brought more than the usual autumn chill and spooky roberttwitterimage-226x300vibe with it this year. The first of October marked the start of a challenge, one I have eagerly taken up. This is the 2015 October Platform Challenge from Writer’s Digest Editor Robert Lee Brewer and it involves a new challenge for every day of October.

This challenge was designed to grow my platform, essentially, the people that might care what I have to say or are curious about and enjoy my writing enough to stay updated with my shenanigans; i.e. you lovely people!  A link can be found here as well as being included at the end of this post.

The challenges have ranged from tasks I’ve already completed or have been doing on my own previously (such as blog posts), to ones I was dreading and hoped would never really cross my path as any sort of necessary mountain to climb. Many of the challenges have been related to social media creation or interaction for the obvious reason of being one of the quickest and easiest ways to begin making new connections with people. I now have a Facebook Page which can be found here, as well as a Twitter where you can find me @amalgamology or click here.

One challenge in particular that comes to mind involved defining some short and long-term goals, which have always been vague notions knocking around my brain pan, but seeing those goals down in front of me made them more solid and necessary to achieve, perhaps even made them more attainable. Other challenges so far have included, creating a website (Voila!), writing a bio, writing various blog posts and blog related tasks, conducting an interview, and even looking into possible live events in our area. As part of the challenge there have also been live chats on Twitter with #platchal where we discuss questions we may have, meet other writers, and encourage each other, as well as share interesting and important tips and information.

The timing of this challenge was incredibly fortuitous as I’ve been creeping towards growing my platform the last few months. The October Platform Challenge has given me the added push to take the leap and I’m happy with the progress I’ve made so far and eagerly await growth with each passing day, of myself as well as my platform.

One of the best things about this month and the challenges each day has been the level of accomplishment I’ve felt. I’ve been waking up absurdly early, in part with anticipation of getting the next day started. As I’ve mentioned, most of the challenges have been easy enough to accomplish in that first hour of the morning if not less, so you’re essentially starting the day off with a check in the Win column, and you know the best thing about that feeling? The desire to do even more! At least that’s often how I feel (until I’ve done that the entire day and need the next to rest, but let’s not go there).

I’ve learned so much this month from my experience and have much to utilize as I continue forward with the remainder of the challenge and beyond. I have gotten more done in the past month, just writing wise, than I have the last year, and I take heart from that. Even more so, because I’m excited about the future. I have big plans, both with my novels and stories, as well as in the community and connecting with my fellow authors and lovers of all things creative. I’ve also met some really wonderful people full of new ideas and perspectives.

There are three big things I will take away with me from this challenge: that planning is the best foundation but flexibility is important too, always look for the possible learning opportunity, and finally, give myself some credit and believe in myself because obviously if I try, I can accomplish even the scary things. I’m looking forward to completing this challenge and to finding and creating a writing community that will challenge, support, and inspire me the way my fellow participants have this month.  I’m looking forward to what the next couple of months will bring.

If you’d like to connect to any of the other blogs of the October Platform Challenge participants, a list of them can be found here.

Happy writing!

gone-writing

Links:
http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/there-are-no-rules/2015-october-platform-challenge

Falling for Autumn: 10 Reasons to love Autumn


It’s a week into September and I can already feel the whispery touch of autumn in the air. While out on my balcony as the sun begins to set or rise, I can feel the change in season, and it’s nearly my favorite time of the year. It hasn’t quite enveloped us yet, but every summer haze that is overtaken by crisp autumn winds brings us ever closer. Nearly everyone has a favorite season, a time of the year they look forward to the most, and apart from the true feeling of Christmas come winter time, autumn is my favorite time of the year. Here are 10 reasons I love autumn:
1.       Change in Weather-
Aside from the fact that I have no tolerance for the heat or humidity of the summer here and eagerly await the more habitable change in temperature, it’s that shift in the weather where it’s cooler outside but not cold, and there’s a crispness on the breeze that you can smell and feel tickling your skin announcing autumn that I adore.
2.       Coats and blankets-
I *love* trench coats, in the varying cuts and styles available, and fall is an excuse to break them out without dying from heat stroke (as a teenager, I used to wear a big heavy trench coat even in the summer…ah, youth…).  Blankets take up station over laps in the mornings while sipping coffee or settle over tired shoulders in the evening while enjoying the clear night air with the slight chill that comes with the season. The reason autumn wins over winter in these aspects is that they become mostly necessary in winter time, leaving the novelty or enjoyment to make way for the desire to not freeze.
3.       Lighting-
As we learned somewhere around fifth grade in science class, the seasons are caused by the changes in Earth’s proximity to the Sun and the differences in weather because of it. Somewhere between around the end of September, the lighting for outdoor photography, to me, is wonderful. October is my particularly favorite month, lighting wise. There is an ineffable quality to the light in the autumn afternoons and evenings that I find irresistible for photography purposes and am often most inspired in the fall months.
4.       Leaves-
Of course, anyone else who appreciates the fall knows that I would have to mention the change in leaves. When the colors of the trees begin to change it’s almost a magical place to me, something from a fairy tale or a story, picturesque in its beauty. More than that, I love the sound leaves make as they crinkle and scrape against the ground, the way they appear drifting through the air on the breeze. Autumn scenes depicted in pictures and paintings fill me with inspiration and wonder.
5.       Ray Bradbury-
The genius that gave us Fahrenheit 451 and gems like The Illustrated Man and Something Wicked This Way Comes, and so much more, is integrally linked in my mind to the autumn season. Ray Bradbury, may he rest in peace, is the man who brings the season to life for me with his words…no one writes autumn or that Halloween feel like Mr. Bradbury, as an example, I give you : ”October Country. . . that country where it is always turning late in the year.  That country where the hills are fog and the rivers are mist; where noons go quickly, dusks and twilights linger, and midnights stay.  That country composed in the main of cellars, sub-cellars, coal-bins, closets, attics, and pantries faced away from the sun.  That country whose people are autumn people, thinking only autumn thoughts.  Whose people passing at night on the empty walks sound like rain. . . . “
6.       Halloween/ Dia de los Meurtos-
Ah yes, the time of the year where you dress as something other than what you are, and also remember our loved ones that have passed on the Day of the Dead. I have a great love and respect for this cultural celebration, and adore the art and beauty that comes with it. There’s so much to enjoy and respect about these respective holidays that adds to the appeal of the autumn season.
7.       Home Decor-
Something about this time of the year brings out some wonderful items for around the home, the types of things that make it *your* home. This is helped along by Halloween because often times it is Halloween décor that often becomes the daily décor for my home. Sometimes it’s lights (okay, often times its lights), but sometimes its candle holders or wall/door hangings, I’m never sure until I see it, but this time of this year is the best to find something I like.
8.       County Fair/Carnivals-
Hay mazes, hay rides, petting zoos, rides, games, funnel cake, cotton candy, and all the rest that comes with a county fair or carnival is synonymous with autumn. Children run around with coats unzipped, rushing from one ride to the next with bright cheeks and chilly air in their lungs as they plunge through the crowd with smiles painted on their faces as their parents call for them to slow down. Even as an adult, some rides still hold their appeal, and there’s nothing like watching the pure enjoyment of those around to remind our hearts of childhood merriment.
My favorite ride since childhood
9.       Pumpkin Bread-

No one was more surprised than I to find that I enjoy pumpkin bread…I was at a friend’s house one autumn evening and he and his girlfriend had made some pumpkin bread. I wanted to be polite, so I decided I would at least try it, even though I’ve never been a fan of anything pumpkin. Low and behold, it was delicious, and so I found something new I enjoyed this time of the year.  You can keep your pumpkin spice lattes or whatever, I will just take my pumpkin bread come the fall.

10. Family-
Even though Thanksgiving comes near the close of autumn, often right before or as winter gets her chilly grasp into us, it is a time I look forward to because of family. I see so many people and it’s a time to hear what everyone is thankful for, to see what the year has brought us, and what we can all look forward to next year, in between inwardly suppressing the urge to kill them all because while we love them, family is frustrating sometimes too; it’s part of why we love them.

So there you have it, ten of, I’m sure, plenty of other things to love about the autumn season. Please feel free to add anything that may be special to you about this change in the year and mark of passing time, or any favorite memories you have from this time of year.