Monday, December 31, 2012

Lax and Lazy - A Holiday Update

Well, it's the last night of 2012 and as promised, here are some pictures from my shamelessly lazy, wonderfully low-key holiday.  The good news is that I really tried not to do a lot.  The bad news is I did even less than I planned.  The lesson - next year I'll aim even lower!

I hope you had a wonderful holiday.  If you did something especially lovely, lazy, awesome that you would like to share, send me a picture at and I will make a special post featuring all of your wonderful holiday exploits.  Happy New Year!

~ My Report ~

Pre-X-mas Getaway!  For my 40th  birthday present, my husband planned a trip to some place warm.  This is us in Ft. Lauderdale the day before Christmas Eve.

Me and My Hairy Man :-)

Here are the books I planned to "catch-up" on while on vacation...yeah, not so much.  Some are new, others are old favorites and some I'm too scared to read more than a few pages at a time (Anne Rice...anyone).  See you all in 2013.
Christmas Day - I made two things - Stuffing and Brown Sugar Cookies.  Both went so fast I couldn't even take a picture.  My mom and sister brought over the rest.  We ate, we played, we laughed, the kids got riled up, then we all went to bed. Bliss.

I call the picture below "Elmo's Alley" because if you look closely you will notice the debris from our merriment scattered all over the floor.  They've been there for days with no ETA on when they will be picked up. Like I said...lax and lazy baby!
Elmo wants to know...when are you going to clean up?

The picture below is the reason why the toys, socks, etc. haven't been picked up.  This is a picture of my husband in heavy pursuit of The Grail, except he kept being interrupted by me, trying to take this picture :-) We traded off getting naps all week.  It was awesome!

The Holy Grail aka A Nap
And when The Grail was not possible, I did the next best thing - write.  But it is hard with little people who don't believe in nap time, alone time or quiet time.  Usually when I write, I sit some place quiet with a netbook.  But this holiday, I had to go old school just to make sure I got some writing in.  As you can see from all the chicken scratch, it wasn't pretty, but my little pen and notebook got the job done!

The Red Order - Chapter 7 in what can ONLY be described as ROUGH draft format.
Still waiting for some snow to go sledding, but other than that, I've been as low-key as possible for the holidays and loved every minute of it.  How about you?

Since I will be long gone when the New Year's Ball drops, let me raise a toast to everyone reading this ~ Here's to a truly happy new year and thanks, as always, for reading!

~ Cerece

p.s. For anyone planning to take up yet another fad diet for the new year, consider watching Hungry for Change before you start.  It just might change your mind. The entire documentary is available for streaming on Netflix.  If you do watch it, let me know what you think!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Happy Scrooge

Holidays can be madness.  I personally hate how the days and weeks get cluttered with all this “stuff” you have to do, buy, make, etc.  Sadly, almost none of it truly brings us closer to the people and things that matter most.  So last week, when someone asked me what I was planning to do for the holidays, I was pleased as pumpkin pie to say “Not a damn thing!”

Here’s my holiday agenda: 

1) We’re getting a tree and I’m decorating the house, ‘cause I like to (see below)

Meet "Pinky", selected, decorated and named by our son.

2) I'm going to give my son a Spiderman watch for Christmas because I am so proud that he is learning to tell time.
3) I want to go sledding with my family over the winter break.
4) I'm looking forward to catching up on my reading and
5) I’m going to bake and eat a lot of brown sugar cookies while counting my blessings.

That’s pretty much it. It helps that our youngest is less than 2 years old and would be happy if I handed her my house keys for Christmas and all the adults in my family don’t really care about gifts.  We are alive, we are relatively healthy and we are together.  That’s more than enough for Christmas.

So this holiday season, I thought I would share some things that give me peace and joy in the whirlwind.  Check back every so often as I will be posting pics of my favorite ways to unwind throughout the season.  If you need a break, try one of these. That way no matter how far apart we are, we’ll be smiling together. 

How do you unwind in the crazy?  Send me your secrets in the comments section and one lucky commenter will get a free signed copy of Order of the Seers.  Here’s to a safe and happy holiday filled with the things that matter most to you!

Joy to the World (and thanks for reading)!
~ Cerece

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Morning in Chicago

A view from my walk in Chicago

I start with my body crouched and my head up – facing forward.  

The wind tests me, trying to push me back with force and the malice of her chill.

What my legs lack in spring, they more than make up for in determination and my heart pumps hot red blood with conviction.  

The wind is no match for me.

My feet navigate the cracks in the pavement - steady and sure.  They have learned through blisters how to keep me upright, even if it means I’m on my knees. 

I know better now than to wish the road was even or smooth.  Wishing doesn’t make it so and this is my path, nonetheless.

I endeavor to keep a pace that moves with the urgency that life deserves, while still noticing everything.  

I’m no longer in a rush.   

This is my life. 

In every hard won step and easy stumble.  I hurry when I have to and take in all I can from the rest of time that is mine.

It will not last forever.  But as long as I am here, it is mine and I will claim it with the pounding of my feet.

If you're out there, thanks for reading!

~ Cerece

Why I Posted Order of the Seers as Fan-Fiction First

I try to follow my instincts as often as I can and today something told me that I needed to answer the question of how Order of the Seers got its debut as fan fiction.   For the people who might read this story, have read it or are considering doing so, I want to be as honest and open as I can.  Most of you will not care about this, but some do.  This answer is for anyone who wants to know. 

My fanfic name is LittleWing2, from the Jimi Hendrix song, which I love.
As I have said in various videos and interviews, when the idea for Order of the Seers came to me, I had never written a story based on my own ideas.  I wasn’t sure if I even had the ability to write the story that was in my head.  I just knew that I would try.  My only experience writing anything longer than a few pages was a Twilight fan-fiction short-story that I wrote called Spirit to Flesh that was based on a Hallmark Movie called The Love Letter and The Twilight Saga Series.  I’ve been reading fan-fiction since The X-files days and I am a true admirer of the enormous talent that resides there. 

About 2 hours after I had my first images of Marcus Akida and the general themes for Order of the Seers, I told my husband about it.  His reaction, after “sounds cool,” was to ask me how I planned to “get it out there”.  Publishing was the farthest thing from my mind.  I JUST got the idea a couple hours earlier and while I was committed to trying to write the story, I didn’t know if I could or if it would be any good once I  finished.  

I immediately thought of posting it as a twilight fan fiction piece for three reasons.  First, I had been reading Twilight fan fiction for almost 2 years and it was the only reader/writer community with which I was engaged.  Second, the Twilight fan fiction community is the community that inspired me to write my first poem in 5 years, not because of the Twilight Series itself (which is awesome) but because of the creativity of the writers in the fandom.  I wanted to share this new idea with the community that had inspired me to start writing stories in the first place.  If it was going to be any good, I wanted to share it with that community first.  Third, I wanted to get honest feedback.  These are all people who don’t know me and have no reason to say they like or understand my story if they don’t.  I thought it would be an excellent place to find out if the story made sense to anyone else but me. 

A couple weeks later, when I first told my friends Jessica and Shawna about Order of the Seers, they asked if the story was going to be a Twilight fan fiction piece.  I told them it had nothing to do with Twilight, but I was going to post it as a fan fiction piece anyway to get some exposure and feedback.  I spent the next 10 months developing, outlining and writing the story.  I completed the first draft of Order of the Seers in February 2011 and posted the first chapter of the fan fiction version shortly after.  It was a wonderful and extremely helpful experience in refining the story into what would ultimately become the published novel. It also gave me the courage to try and find a wider audience for this story.  

As always, if you’re out there, thanks for reading!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Insides Out: 2012 NY Comic Con

So now that I’m back from NY Comic-Con and over the exhaustion, I’ve had some time to reflect on all the things I learned from my first major “con” – as a fan and as an exhibitor, and I wanted to share a few thoughts with you here.

First and foremost, if you write, what you dream about is meeting the people who will read and hopefully like your story.  I got to meet over 160 of you 2 weeks ago and it was the highlight of my life as an author so far.  I have already heard from some of you who have read and enjoyed the book and it is an honor to read your kind words. 

May the Force Be With You - Always

Second thing is how joyous it was to be around so many people who just let their weird hang all out.  When I told a friend of mine I was going, she said it was like a grown-up playland/fantasy and honestly, I couldn’t have put it better.  How often do you get to become your favorite superhero and walk around without a soul thinking you’re crazy?  Some people I met had been planning their costumes and/or trip to NY Comic-Con ALL YEAR.  For 4 days, you can be *anything* you want - in public - and no one will laugh or ridicule you.  In fact, someone will probably ask to take your picture.   The more out there you are, the more you will be celebrated. And believe me, I saw it all – from the truly avant-garde to the downright obscene.  You can bear your boobs or your creativity for all to see. 

Looking as average as I did, at first, I thought I would feel out of place, but then I realized that “normal” was ok too, because the folks in costume were really just turned inside out.  On the other 361 days of the year that aren’t NY Comic-Con, they look just like me.  But for 4 days, I can look at each person with their cape or light saber and smile because we both know that on the inside, I look just like them.  

In this special world of fantasy and fiction, anyone can let their insides come screaming out in honor of all of us whose souls know magic and refuse to forget it.  If you can’t tell already, I loved every single minute of it.  The only thing I would change is that next year I will have to figure out a way to get beyond my booth for more than a bathroom break.   As much weirdness as I was able to take-in, I know there is SO much more to enjoy.  For a glimpse of all that was weird and wonderful about NY Comic-Con 2012, check out my Pinterest album here and as you peruse the images ask yourself, if you could be anyone for 4 days, who would it be, then bring that part of you to NY Comic-Con 2013 and I’ll see you there. 

If you’re out there, thanks for reading.
~ Cerece

p.s. For those writers who may be considering exhibiting at NY Comic-Con next year, I will be posting some tips that may help you in making a decision.  Check back here for the link.    

Friday, September 7, 2012

Hitting the Road...sort of

The Open Road by Trey Ratcliff

The wait is over! Order of the Seers is now available online at Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and Booksamillion.  Plus, any bookstore in the US can order a copy for you upon request.  Kindle and Nook versions are also available now, with iBookstore formats on the way. 
We’re just 4 days into the release and the buzz is slowly gathering.  So we’re packing our bags and going on the road…sort of.  Order of the Seers is going on a Virtual Book Tour.  From now until September 28th, Order of the Seers (and I) will be featured on various blogs and web news outlets including, Minding Spot, Pocketful of Books and Luxury Reading.  For a full list of all my blog appearances in September click here.

I will be posting notices on twitter as well as on my CR Murphy author and Order of the Seers Facebook pages.    Through this tour, I hope you learn something new and fun about Order of the Seers and I hope you have fun reading it.

As always, if you’re out there, thanks for reading,
~ Cerece