Archive for December 2013

Not all disabilities are visible   1 comment

Yesterday at the market my husband made a remark about the handicapped spots in the parking lot that got me thinking.

Many people resent those legally mandated handicapped parking spots as “political correctness” or “pandering to people who should just let others take care of them”.  I am not one of those people and become annoyed when I hear those comments.

I used to have a good friend (used to because he died 8 years ago) who suffered from a severe form of schleroderma (http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Scleroderma/scleroderma_ff.asp).  In Michael’s case it caused scarring of his internal organs, leaving him with only 18% of his lung capacity.  On his good days it didn’t look like anything was wrong with him.  People would glare at him for using the handicapped spots, probably assuming he was using someone else’s placard.  He wasn’t.  On his bad days he could only walk very slowly, with extreme pain.  He would be exhausted just by walking from the bedroom to the door.  He never knew when a “good” day would change to a “bad” one.

The point is, not all disabilities involve wheelchairs or crutches or guide dogs.  Besides diseases that affect the organs, as in Michael’s case, various stress disorders, such as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be far more debilitating than many people realize.  These are people who need your support, not your scorn.

Bottom line – Next time you see someone using a handicapped parking spot, don’t assume they are “sponging off the system”; don’t assume they are using someone else’s placard.  Instead, be happy that you are healthy enough not to need a placard and give them a smile instead of a glower.  Not all disabilities are visible from the outside.

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Posted December 15, 2013 by Leoma Retan in Uncategorized

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The 10 Days of PitchWars   2 comments

The following should be sung to the tune of “The 12 Days of Christmas”.  This is offered with a special thanks to Brenda Drake and to all the mentors who are working so hard evaluating queries.

THE TEN DAYS OF PITCHWARS

On the first day of PitchWars the mentors gave to me,
and the chance to become a mentee.

On the second day of PitchWars the mentors gave to me,
two big bags of stress,
and the chance to become a mentee.

On the third day of PitchWars the mentors gave to me,
three g-mail fails, two big bags of stress,
and the chance to become a mentee.

On the fourth day of PitchWars the mentors gave to me,
four cryptic tweets, three g-mail fails, two big bags of stress,
and the chance to become a mentee.

On the fifth day of PitchWars the mentors gave to me,
five helpful thoughts,
four cryptic tweets, three g-mail fails, two big bags of stress,
and the chance to become a mentee.

On the sixth day of PitchWars the mentors gave to me,
six twitter replies,
five helpful thoughts,
four cryptic tweets, three g-mail fails, two big bags of stress,
and the chance to become a mentee.

On the seventh day of PitchWars the mentors gave to me,
seven massive migraines, six twitter replies,
five helpful thoughts,
four cryptic tweets, three g-mail fails, two big bags of stress,
and the chance to become a mentee.

On the eighth day of PitchWars the mentors gave to me,
eight notes on requests, seven massive migraines, six twitter replies,
five helpful thoughts,
four cryptic tweets, three g-mail fails, two big bags of stress,
and the chance to become a mentee.

On the ninth day of PitchWars the mentors gave to me,
nine hints of choices, eight notes on requests, seven massive migraines, six twitter replies,
five helpful thoughts,
four cryptic tweets, three g-mail fails, two big bags of stress,
and the chance to become a mentee.

On the tenth day of PitchWars the mentors gave to me,
bad indigestion, no hints of choices, no page requests, the last massive migraine, six twitter replies,
five helpful thoughts,
no more cryptic tweets, no g-mail fails, no more bags of stress,
AND THE LIST OF PICKS TO BE A MENTEE.

Posted December 5, 2013 by Leoma Retan in Writing

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10 Reasons You Should Pick Me as a Mentee   3 comments

This is another blog about Pitch Wars.  Apologies to anyone reading this who is not involved in it.  I promise I will post something different by the end of next weekend.

PitchWars: Why Mentors Should Pick Me as a Mentee

Leoma Retan picture - 512x512 - 15 Sep 13_001          This is my avatar, not my picture but it is designed to resemble me.

1.  I’ve done Firewalk.  That pretty much means I can handle anything

bonfire - 22Nov13- sized and processed

2. The world described in SONGS OF CHANGE exists in the virtual space of inWorldz – and I can modify it if I want because it’s mine.

3. I love all animals – cats, dogs, horses, chinchillas – bring ’em on.

The boys in winter - IMGP1380

4. I’m capable of subsisting on coffee for long periods of time – in fact, I’ve been known to use it in place of blood.

5. I will send you bribes as needed.

6.  I don’t sleep much so I’ll have lots of time to respond to your criticisms and requests for change.

7. You can find my vision of my world of Fyrnlosing by looking at my website: http://www.leomaretan.com/fyrnlosing.html.  Here are some of my concepts of the people in it:

Rissa - from cover art     Cait at the Library    Erissa and Crusty    Erissa and Dark Dancing

                                 Erissa and Dark closeup    Cait by the lake

8.  I have a thick skin for criticism.  In fact, my favorite way to hold a design discussion is to create a “straw man” solution, send it to everyone involved, and let them take pot shots at it.  The technique generally results in good solutions.  I suspect the same will apply to editing my manuscript.

9. I chose you as a mentor because your list of interests had a large overlap with the elements in my book  and because I think, based on your interests, that we can work well together.  I will work as hard as I need to to make SONGS OF CHANGE a success.

10. THE REAL REASON YOU SHOULD CHOOSE ME: You like the subject of my novel and believe we can be successful together.

I am a writer of fantasy and science fiction. Check out my website at http://www.leomaretan.com and my other blogs at: https://leomaretanheroes.wordpress.com/ and https://lretanmysttech.wordpress.com/

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Posted December 2, 2013 by Leoma Retan in Writing

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Pitch Wars   Leave a comment

I haven’t posted a blog this week because I’ve been busy preparing an entry for #PitchWars.

If you’re not familiar with Pitch Wars (http://www.brenda-drake.com/) , it’s a competition run by Brenda Drake which allows writers to submit a query letter and the first five pages of a completed, unpublished manuscript to mentors.  If you attract a mentor, they will work closely with you for five weeks to polish your manuscript for submission to agents.

This year there were 46 fabulous mentors but you could only submit pitches to 4 of them unless you were lucky enough, as I was, to win the right to a 5th mentor submission.  Since only 5 people were selected for the 5th mentor, I was definitely doing a happy dance when I found I was one of them.

The trick is to find the mentors most likely to be interested in your particular book.  Each of them provided a list of what they are looking for and, equally important, what they do not want to see.  Some are doing only young adult, some only new adult, adult, or middle grade.  Some signed up for multiple categories.

Now, after days of polishing my query letter plus five pages, perusing the mentor list, and tweeting with my fellow writers for assistance and support, my 5 pitches are sent.  The only thing I can do now is wait.  This is the hardest part for me since I’ve never been a patient person.

The submission window ends tonight at midnight.  The mentors won’t see any of the queries until then.  If I succeed in interesting one of them, I will probably need to send more material.  If I have done as I hope and written a query and start to my book sufficiently compelling to win the support of one of the mentors (keeping my fingers and toes tightly crossed), I will be spending a lot of time polishing my book through December and January so I won’t have time for much blogging.

In any case, the mentors will not finish their selections until 11 December (still hating the wait, like everyone else).  The successful writers will have their polished work reviewed by 17 agents (awesome ones by all reports).  In the past, contracts have often resulted from this contest, so wish me luck.  If I don’t win a mentor this time, I will still keep working on my manuscript and submitting it to agents – just not at such a furious pace.

 

I am a writer of fantasy, science fiction, and poetry. If you are interested in learning more about me or my work, check out my website at http://www.leomaretan.com.

Posted December 2, 2013 by Leoma Retan in Uncategorized

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