Thursday, July 8, 2010

Friends & Family...and Forgiveness

There are days that I look at my life and realize how lucky I am to have such wonderful friends and family. Not all of my friends are as close to me as I would like them to be...and some of my family is difficult for me to deal with sometimes.

The point is...I love them anyway. We (in general) do what we can for them, and we hope that they will do the same and love us as much as we love them. Remembering that everyone makes mistakes in life, we have to forgive. It's hard to forget...but we have to try. But then again, there are some things that we shouldn't forget, so that we don't put ourselves in a position to get hurt in the same way again.

It's hard when you try to do the right thing: for others, for yourself, for everyone involved. You might come out looking like "Miss Perfect" or "Self-Righteous" or just a plain-old "B*#ch!" So I sometimes wonder...why do I even bother? Why? I think it's because I do care so much. Because I can't just sit by idly and not at least SAY something. I always know that, in the end, I will probably be the door mat. I will be the one used and walked over...and maybe that is a little self-righteous in and of itself. But you know what? At least I can rest easy at night knowing that I did the right thing. If someone, anyone, is being horrible by doing ugly things to me or mine, would I not forgive, and do the same to them? No. That would make me just as bad as them. And what kind of example would that set?

Whether or not someone, friend, family, etc...who has wronged me has asked for my forgiveness or not, I have decided to give it anyway. It helps me to deal and to move on. Anything else they do, is their decision and they have to live with the consequences.

Nothing has happened recently to bring this post of mine on. I know that usually when I write something like this, a lot of people in my life start to think I am writing about them. Rest assured, I am not. This is all me preparing myself to face future experiences in a better way that I have faced them in the past. It just feels good to write this all out.

That is all, folks. The end!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Catching flies

Hello my readers, all two of you! I have had one heck of a week and feel the need to write about it - in particular my attempt to "catch more flies with honey than with vinegar" as the old saying goes.

The week started out okay. Michael began film camp; the movie they made this week titled "Deady Bears" will premiere today and I cannot wait to see it! I had the privilege of being the make up lady on set (yes, there were zombies!) so it is close to my heart.

Wednesday was the day. I was off of work, and had a check up appointment with my neurologist. In case I haven't ever said so on my blog, I have multiple sclerosis. Well, it's not like I go around introducing myself "Hi, my name is Michelle and I have MS!" So, it's not like you could have known. I do okay most of the time; it's in the early stages and I am on injection therapy to slow the effects of it. Dr. Kundo had told me at my last appointment that I didn't do so well on my memory test and probably have adult ADD. ME, ADD! I would have never guessed it! He says that it manifests differently in everyone, especially adults. It could explain why I a) don't sleep well b) can't focus sometimes c) stress out over little things d) have OCD over minor things and other various things I have never even thought about. make a long story short, he has decided to treat me for it with a low dosage medication and see how I do. Yay. Not really. Well, if it helps....we'll just see, now won't we?

So, I left the doctor's office. On my way through a neighborhood to miss traffic, I was pulled over for going 11 miles over the speed limit. It was 25, but I honestly thought it was 35. So, now I have to pay a ticket and take defensive driving to keep it off my record and insurance. At this point in my day, I was ready to crawl into a dark hole and never emerge.

Michael and I grabbed a quick lunch at a Chinese buffet and headed down to artspace for his film camp. I had a great time doing zombie make up on the kids. I got to meet some great kiddos and one girl in particular, Hanna, was a great assistant and a smart, sweet girl.

Michael and I left at 5 PM. I walked to my truck, where I had parked in the parking lot for the Robinson Film Center, which sponsored the camp. There was a vehicle parked behind me, blocking me. There was also a business card on my window with the words "Private Parking" written on it. I had apparently parked in an area that was not for the Robinson. It was really confusing, but definitely all my fault.

As soon as the lady came out, I apologized profusely and told her it was a mistake. I told her that I honestly thought that the parking was for the Robinson Film Center. She was really mean to me. She told me I had been in her spot all day (not true, only 1 PM - 5 PM) and that she pays for her spot. She also said that next time, she will have me towed. I explained to her again that there will not be a next time and that I was really, really sorry. I didn't know what else to say. I was ready to cry at this point - I was so stressed out. We finally left, and I did cry. Poor Michael, my 12 year old. He had been with me all day and seen me go through all of it, even when my doctor told him he needed to cut me some slack, he felt bad. He tried to make me feel better, and I really love him for that.

I picked up Sammy from my friend's house and went home. The next morning, I got to work and before clocking in, I had an idea. I still had her business card. And you know, I really was grateful she didn't get my truck towed. Had I walked out and my truck had been gone, I would have had a break down right there in the middle of downtown Shreveport. So...I wrote her a note thanking her for not towing my truck, and I also apologized again, explaining to her how stressful my life is; my husband being deployed, health and family issues, etc...without going into detail. Then I walked next door to Edible Arrangements and sent her an arrangement with the note attached. I hope she enjoys it. I really do. I also hope that she will think twice about being so mean to someone who is honestly sorry for doing something wrong, like I was. But I am, once again, thankful she didn't have my truck towed. And like they say, I hope that I caught that fly. Because she left her business card on my truck with all of her information, if I had been an evil person, I could have easily swatted her.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Little Library of the Living Dead!

The Library of the Living Dead Press proudly presents –

“Little Library of the Living Dead”
edited by Michelle McCrary
with assistant editors Michael & Sammy McCrary

Submissions are open to all youth authors, age 17 and under.

The last day to submit is December 31, 2010.

Stories must be about zombies and be written by children and for children!
Since the subject matter is zombies, some mild violence is expected, but no ultra-graphic violence, sexual situations, or extremely mature situations will be accepted.

It is acceptable for parents/guardians to assist with the submission process, but a story will not be rejected for not following these guidelines exactly:

RTF attachment
Courier Font
Double Spaced

Please include name, address, phone number, email, and the word count on the title page. Submissions MUST also have parent/guardian name and contact information.

In your email please mention where you found the submission call.

Most submissions will be accepted until the book is full. Rejections will be based on content not being appropriate for children, at the editor’s discretion.
The editors will also be happy to work with the author on their submission to make it publishing ready!

Before the book prints, a parent/guardian will be required to sign a consent contract for the youth author to be published by Library of the Living Dead Press.

Payment is 1 contributor copy.

Please send submissions to:

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Texas Frightmare Weekend!

I spent an entire weekend in Irving at the Sheraton Hotel for a horror convention, Texas Frightmare! It was amazing! I met SO MANY stars...including two of my all time favorites, George A. Romero and Cassandra Peterson AKA Elvira!
I met so many other stars and got pictures with them and autographs. Check out my Facebook page and friend me if you would like to see them! And while you are there, you can "like" my author page...woo hoo.

Some other great news is that while I was there, I got to spend a lot of time with fellow authors from the Library of the Living Dead Press, and the publisher himself, Mike...AKA Dr. Pus! We chatted Saturday morning by the pool before the con opened and he graciously gave me an editing job! It will be an anthology of zombie short stories for AND by kids/young adults! My own kids will be working on this with me, helping with cover art and contributing their own stories and art. Our goal is to publish everything that gets submitted (within reason) so that no child gets a rejection. I am super excited about this!

So, that is all for now. I will blog more later when I have more time. May the 4th be with you!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Being a writer and stuff

I have to say that I am really happy that I started writing. I haven't really written much since high school. I think it's because I could never write about anything that interested me. It's true when "they" (whoever they are) say to write what you know. I may not know everything about horror and zombies, but I just write what I DO know!

Most of the time, I have to force myself to sit down and write. It's not that I don't enjoy it; I just have SO much other stuff to do. Deadlines are an amazing thing, let me tell you. I have never been such as a procrastinator as I have been as a writer. I'm trying very hard to build up my collection of short stories. I don't feel like I'm to a point yet where I could actually write a full book. My goal is possibly a novella-length before the year is out. Until then, I'm trying to pump out the short stories! I just need ideas and motivation!

I did finish a story and submitted it to an anthology about phobias, that will be coming soon from the Library of Horror Press. It is about a lady with a fear of frogs. If you know me, you know that I really have that phobia! Yes, let's all laugh at the lady who loves zombie movies, books, etc...but cannot STAND frogs and toads! The story, called "Hoppers," isn't about me, but I did use some of my life experiences and feelings on the phobia to write it. Well, the lead character is named Diane, which is my middle name...and that and the phobia is about all we have in common!

I'm still waiting on the rejection or acceptance for "Hoppers," but even if they don't accept it, I am still very proud of it. The deadline was looming and I forced myself to sit down and finish it in one night. It took me a good 2 hours - I finished it, printed it and edited. The next night, I did another edit and finalized it, then...I submitted it! Scary! I'm sure all you other writers know that feeling well! So, the wait is on...

On the home front, things are busy as usual. I am really missing my husband, of course. This is his second deployment to Iraq, and we hope to have him home around Christmas time this year. He assures me he is in a much calmer, peaceful section of Iraq than last time, but I still worry. If you've never spent an entire day cleaning your house for your husband's return in 6 months, only to get the phone call that evening that he is coming home sooner than expected thanks to a VBIED, then you probably wouldn't understand. (and that is my little homage to "Breathers: A Zombies Lament. dah-dah-ching!) Gotta keep a sense of humor about this folks, or I might lose my mind.

Well, you should be able to walk into any book store and ask them to order a copy of "Dead Set" now. Of course, it is on Amazon always. We're getting copies out to reviewers to spread the word, and so far the folks who have read and reviewed have given positive ones! I will try to keep my blog updated with links to any reviews we receive. It really is a great, classy book. I am just so honored to have been involved - plus have a story in it!

Thanks everyone (all 7 of you!)! Have a great week!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The books are here!

I came home today to find a wonderful box on my front porch full of wonderful things:

I've never known such a feeling, as a writer (and now editor) than to open a box full of fresh-from-the-publisher books with my name on the cover. It is a great feeling. Thank you Mitchel at 23 House Publishing!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Fried Night: A Film by Michael & Sammy McCrary

Several weeks ago, my sons, Michael & Sammy, created a film titled "Fried Night" and entered it into the 2010 Louisiana Film Festival. It was screened in it yesterday; we had a great time watching it and the 29 other movies involved - all made by K-12 students around the United States.
Although their movie didn't bring home one of the cash prizes, it was an honor for their film just to be shown in the festival. The films that did win were truly deserving; those kids have great talent and imagination!

So...congrats to them...but...this is my blog so I am going to brag on my kids! Let me give a little background on "Fried Night" before I give you the link to watch it online.

Sammy is obsessed with French fries. Really. This is not a joke. My child can have an entire plate of fresh fried potatoes placed in front of him, and he will literally be sneaking around your back to steal the fries off of your plate! This kid loves nothing better. We have often joked that he eats so many French fries that if we cut him open, he would bleed ketchup! (Look for that joke to be played out in the movie!)

Michael & Sammy have recently been called "the youngest cinephiles I know" on a much-read blog here in Shreveport by a good friend at the Robinson Film Center, Chris Jay. He is so right. What he also doesn't know is that even if they haven't actually SEEN a movie, they know all about the plots because their mama has broken it down for them! Why? Oh, I want them to watch SO many movies....but I just can't let them watch the rated R stuff, not yet anyway. They want to watch "Dawn of the Dead" so badly. They yearn for "The Blair Witch Project" and other such stuff that their friends parents supposedly "let them watch" (but I probably think they just didn't know that little Johnny was watching it in his room late at night...because little Johnny promised mom & dad he was watching Curious George! Case in point as to why we only have cable on one tiny TV in the computer room in my house, and that's only to watch Lost on Tuesday night....but I digress...)

Back to my point. Michael & Sammy know a lot about cinema but are still sheltered...but somehow it all works out. Why? Because I am their filter. I am the great MOMMY FILTER! YAY! Okay, so yes, we have the internet, and I know for a fact that they have read all about the Blair Witch and Paranormal Activity movies in Wikipedia, but I don't mind. It's better than them actually watching the movies, which are full of language I would rather they didn't hear and adult situations I would rather they didn't have to process. I just want them to be kids, dagnabbit!
So in being kids, I very much encourage them to use their wonderfully creative imaginations! And they have such a great opportunity to do something awesome with it: make films! They have been making goofy little shorts and posting them on YouTube for awhile now. Michael got a Flip video camera for his birthday, which makes it easy and takes me out of the process completely! One thing that they love to do is make spoofs. After finding out about the film festival via Chris Jay while having dinner with him and his wife Sara one night, the drive home was filled with talk of what kind of movie would be made.

They had all of their usual silly little boy ideas:

"Okay, I can be a ninja and you can be a zombie!" and the like...then they trailed into making a documentary...then maybe a mockumentary. The whole French fry idea came about while we were waiting in line for cold medicine at Walgreens. It was going to be a very serious family intervention to get Sammy some help for his addiction. I can't quite remember how it turned into the whole plot that you will soon see, but I love the fact that it did, because it really works! I did help the boys a tiny bit. It was allowed for the film festival. Basically, all I did was show them how to storyboard it before they filmed, and how to polish it up in post-production. They did all of the filming, all of the lines, all of the props, camera work...the only prop I provided was making a 9:55 pm trip to McDonalds for the last cooked batch of fries for the night (they close at 10 pm.) I bought 3 large fries and they were the greasy gross ones. Do you think Sammy cared? Watch the movie for an answer to that question.

A couple of people asked me if the boys had seen the movie "Paranormal Activity" before making this movie. I told them all that no, they had not. I have seen it, and can definitely see where "Fried Night" would come off as a spoof of it. But to me, it is just a great little film straight from the imagination of two wonderful, talented & creative kids that I love more than anything in this world!

I hope you enjoy "Fried Night!"

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Dead Set: A Zombie Anthology

So....edits are pretty much finished on Dead Set and the release date is April 5, 2010! I am super excited and super proud of this book! Check out the website here to read all the details and watch the awesome trailer put together by one of the authors with a story in the book, Steven W. Booth.

Did I ever explain how I came to be one of the editors of this anthology?
Last year, I had my first short story published by "Library of the Living Dead Press." It was called "Every Rose." It wasn't my best story ever, but I was proud of it. I found out that there was a small book festival in my town; authors had the opportunity to have a table and sell their books. I applied - somewhat anxiously, knowing that with only one published short story under my belt, I was pretty amateur in comparison to most of the authors involved. I soon found out that they accepted my application and were excited to have me involved! I called my publisher, Mike (aka Dr. Pus, LOL) and ordered 25 books at cost to sell at the festival. I crossed my fingers to at least make back what I paid for the books!

The weeks zoomed by and the day came. With help from my crafty & creative aunt, I set up an attractive table with goodies and info about my upcoming writing. I even did a reading at the festival - an excerpt from "Every Rose" and a zombie poem I had written. It was a good day; I sold seventeen books and even autographed and took pictures with people! It was a little overwhelming - I mean, I'm not famous or anything! The best part of the day was getting to meet, get my book signed and get a picture with Charlaine Harris, of Southern Vampire fame. Well, I also ended up chatting with one of the book festival organizers who is now one of my very best friends, Carey, so a lot of good came out of that day.

Okay, back to the anthology...
I got home that evening and relaxed with a satisfied smile on my face and a content feeling in my soul. I slipped into my ratty old house dress and checked my email. I saw something very interesting...Mitchel Whitington of 23 House Publishing had a table at the festival...and he picked up a copy of the anthology with my story in it...and he had recently been thinking of doing a zombie anthology with author Joe McKinney....and was on the lookout for another editor...and would I be interested? He said it just seemed to all fall into place so perfectly. I replied almost immediately; Mitchel mailed to me a proposal and a copy of a previous vampire anthology he had published called "Nights of Blood 2" (which is excellent, by the way) and of course, I said YES YES YES!!!

The entire editing process with Joe, Mitchel, everyone, has been phenomenal. From choosing the title of the book, to choosing the stories, to choosing the cover art and to every little thing in has been such a great first editing experience for me.

I don't know what doors this may open for me, but if anything, it has been so fun! I can't wait to walk into the bookstore and see that anthology sitting on the shelf knowing that Joe, Mitchel, the contributing authors & I put a lot of work into that and that the readers will enjoy it. The stories are wonderful; not a stinker in the bunch!

If you are interested in buying, the pre-order on the link above is a great deal and I suggest doing that! I hope you enjoy it!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Picture It...Sicily...1942...

To my loyal readers (hi if you actually exist!) I am trying to keep my blog updated more frequently. It's been over 2 weeks now and I guess we are doing okay. Luckily, I have plenty to occupy my time and thoughts. Dealing with the 12 year old has been a constant battle, but I think we have come to some sort of middle ground for now, at least.

I've been spending every little minute of free time at home editing "Dead Set." The other editor, Joe McKinney, is a fast worker! He already finished his half and I am about a fourth of a way into mine! Alas, the sooner we get this part finished, the sooner the book will be published - so I am lighting a fire under my butt tonight!

I have several ideas for short stories and even for a book. My cousin and I have talked about collaborating on a journal-type book about a zombie invasion, but I have to wait until this editing job is finished. Scouts is taking up a lot of my time, and I have also just been informed by the boy's kung fu teacher that I will be in the Chinese New Year demo in Dallas, performing Tai Chi. Wow, thanks for the heads up! That's what I call being "voluntold!" I haven't done the 13 Golden Postures in almost 2 years, so I better dust off the "wave hands like clouds" and get on the ball!

On top of everything, I have a sick kiddo at home and I am still recovering from another ear infection! Something has got to give, man! These ear infections are kicking my butt! Antibiotics don't seem to doing their job. I might have to go see an ENT doctor...ugh...and by that I mean "ear, nose and throat" NOT a giant talking tree.

That's all for now, folks. I will try to update again next week. Hopefully I will have more interesting things to say by then.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Knitting and knitting and knitting....

The mind plays tricks on you. You play tricks back! It's like you're unraveling a big cable-knit sweater that someone keeps knitting and knitting and knitting and knitting and knitting and knitting...

Well, here I am almost a full week after the husband has left for training to Camp Shelby. He will be there 2 months before heading to Iraq. I almost didn't post this info, but it's in the local paper. It's not like my loose lips will sink any ships there!

Anyhow, I had a major pity party on New Year's Eve when he was still home. He popped fireworks outside with the boys and their friend while I stayed in bed and moped. He finally came in the bedroom to keep me company. I think I was crying in his shirt when I heard that familiar "beep beep" of his wrist watch to let us know it was indeed 2010. I wasn't happy; this is going to be a tough year for me.

All through the months leading up to his deployment, I have had the idea that it should "hurry up and get here so it can get over with!" Man, I was dumb! I should have used my time more wisely. I mean, it's not like I will never see him again...but then again, anything can happen to anyone at anytime. I need to cherish my time with Mikey and my loved ones much more than I do. You never know when it's their time - or your time, for that matter.

This week started off great (said sarcastically) with Peanut waking up on Sunday morning to let me know his social studies project was due on Monday! Of course, the fact that he didn't have it finished was my fault because "he told me about it last week!" UM, I think I have a 6th grader for sale if anybody wants one...Sunday couldn't have been any worse, right? Oh no, add one of those know, the one where it feels like someone is pushing your eyeballs out from the inside of your skull? Yeah, that kind. Somehow I made it through the day and today, Monday, has been exceptionally better, believe it or not!

I miss my husband sorely. It's funny how we take advantage of someone being right there all the time and not thinking anything of it, then when they aren't, you miss them immensely. That's the case here! Peace of mind goes a long way when you don't have it. Plus, I don't have that companionship in my lonely times. Late at night, long weekends...those will be the worst for this year, I can see it now! My birthday weekend is coming up and both of the kids will be gone for Scouts camp outs. Is it totally lame that I planned my own birthday dinner - just so I won't be alone and bored? I mean, friends have told me they will "take me out for my birthday" and that's fine and I look forward to it, but I wanted to opportunity to get all of my friends and family together, not just the ones who will "go out" whatever that means (probably drinks and karaoke, I imagine.)

One awesome thing today is that I got the first file of stories to edit for "Dead Set!" My first editing job, wow! That will keep me very busy when I get bored, I imagine! I get to read over 65,000 words and make sure they are just right. How am I even qualified to do that, I wonder? We shall see! Hopefully Joe McKinney (my co-editor) will be better at this than I am; as a matter of fact, I KNOW he is better than me! Please don't let my loose words and punctuation on this blog be an example of my editing skills - I just relax and type what comes to mind here. I promise, I am better than this malarkey!

Christmas was great! The boys got all they wanted and more! Mikey got me a Sony Reader, which I LOVE way more than I thought I would. He also got me 2 tickets to see "The Wedding Singer" musical on stage in February. I am SO excited about that!

Now that I am just rambling, I shall stop. Please pray that this years ZOOMS by and that Mikey and all the other soldiers in his unit stay safe and come home to their families in one piece. We weren't so lucky last time - Mikey left some teeth in Iraq and probably some pieces of bone! Hmmmm.....maybe he can get those back this time. To quote him in the hospital after getting blown up by an IED, "Nobody makes me bleed my own blood." I have to love this man and his sense of humor about such serious issues. And his love of Dodgeball.