Blog N’ Vlog Update: Exciting News!!!

There’s so much going on you guys 🙂

Check out the timestamps below for specific references. Briefly, I discuss current submission goals in both my poetry and short story endeavors.

Additionally, I officially announce the launch date of my new YouTube channel: Sassy Scorpion Tarot (currently under construction, but you can still subscribe) and the first 5 subscribers will earn a free 3-card reading! Finally, I update you on my erotica projects.

BONUS: I read the opening sentence (not an excerpt) to my first erotica short story, The Client, as a thank you for all the views on YouTube!!!

Phew!

[I’ve gotten reports of there being a “lag” between video and audio.]
[*Update – it’s a YouTube thing. It’s less than a .03 second delay, I’m looking into it to prevent this from happening in future videos. Thanks for sticking with it.*]

TIMESTAMPS
0:00 I’m Back
0:10 Poetry Submissions
1:15 Short Story Submission
1:50 Sassy Scorpion Tarot (SST) Announcement / Going Full-Tilt
4:31 Win a Free 3-Card Reading
4:54 Separating AWC & SST
6:18 Let’s Talk Numbers / Erotica Views Update
8:03 Writing a “Quick N’ Dirty”
9:16 The Client
9:53 Book of the Month
10:10 Take Care Out There


Upcoming Video Dates:
April 1: Book of the Month, April 2020 (AWC)
April 5: Sassy Scorpion Tarot launches with 12 zodiac readings (YouTube only) along with, Sassy Scorpion Tarot: An Introduction (AWC & YouTube).

Vlogs Referenced:
On Writing Erotica (My Goals)
Happy 10k Subscribers & Followers!!!

Cheers Y’all,
Christina Schmidt, MA
armedwithcoffee.com

Where Souls Meet (a poem)

You were in the most beautiful dream

We said our goodbyes on that

Golden plane

Where souls meet

Saying what we could not

Embracing as we could not

With our bodies

Back on earth

I’ll say no more

You were there


PS – I’ve never posted from the mobile app before. If the formatting is wonky I apologize. Had to get this little guy out of my brain before I forgot.

PSS – I’ll be releasing a blog/vlog update Sunday. Exciting news!


Where Souls Meet, by
Christina Schmidt, MA
ArmedWithCoffee.com

Get to the Point Book Reviews: The Girl With All the Gifts, by M. R. Carey

Book Review Rules.

The book may (or may not) work for me personally but that’s not to say it didn’t do wonders for (or fail) someone else.

girl with all the gifts

The Girls With All the Gifts, by M. R. Carey

Would I recommend?
Yes.

Favorite Quotes

“The truth is the truth, the only prize worth having. If you deny it, you’re only showing that you’re unworthy of it.” (brilliant)

“You can’t save people from the world. There’s nowhere else to take them.”

“Melanie thinks: when your dreams come true, your true has moved…like a weird echo of something that already happened to you a long time ago.”

“They walk on endlessly. Time elongates, fractures, rewinds and replays in stuttering moments that – while they have no coherent internal logic – all seem drearily familiar and inevitable.”

“She’s lived in Plato’s cave, staring at the shadows on the wall. Now she’s been turned around to face the fire.”

“Even the air seems to have a smell – earthy and rich and complicated, made out of things living and things dying and things long dead. The smell of the world where nothing stops moving, nothing stays the same.”

The Goods

1. I love a good post-apocalyptic story. The author imagines a world in which a fungus-like organism infects humans by invading and hijacking the nervous system, effectively creating a zombie-verse* or “hungries” as Carey writes them.

(*Yup…it’s a zombie story. Can’t believe I’m recommending a zombie novel. Not that I have a hard rule on the subject, I just never really saw that as a possibility. I was tricked into reading it by the author’s unique approach. One must give points for originality.)

2. Carey delves into the creation of the virus, almost making the contagion read as plausible.

3. The introduction of our main character, Melanie, is quite dramatic and appropriate given the context and setting: Melanie, along with an elite group of children, are infected with the virus but have retained their ability to think and function (almost) independently of their infection. They only go “full-zombie” when they get too close to the scent of an uninfected human.

Everyday, and at gunpoint, Melanie, and her counterparts are strapped down and locked into wheelchairs in an underground bunker and wheeled about the facility for purposes of education and experimentation. The children are not told about their infection or their unique abilities to retain some of their humanness. The underground is all they’ve known. Melanie, the most gifted of the children, is considered the prize of the group and the best candidate for dissection in the hope of a cure. Really, quite dramatic.

Want to know what happens to Melanie? Is she successfully dissected for a cure? Does she escape the underground bunker? Read the book. I’ve already given more away than I typically do. Refer to Book Review Rules.

The Not So Good

1. *Boo, zombies. Personally, I’m zombied out. I do admit, the approach is different and what I read kept me engaged despite the common trope.

2. I think this novel would have benefited from a part I and a part II. I can see an entire novel dedicated to the underground aspect, ending with an escape, and a second novel dedicated to the above ground experience. As is, The Girl with All the Gifts, reads as two different novels crammed into one. The underground and the above ground stories really needed their own space.

3. I would have liked more background on Dr. Caldwell. As the scientist tasked and obsessed with finding the cure, the doctor’s ambition came through very well. Dr. Caldwell’s thought process and internal dialogues were also well done. I wanted to know more about her, unfortunately she was cast as a responsible but ever-so-slightly mad genius. The same is true for character Sergeant Eddie Parks, a lot of rich flavor there but not enough time to explore his character. Again, a part I and a part II would have allowed greater depth for these worthy characters.

From Goodreads

Melanie is a very special girl. Dr. Caldwell calls her “our little genius.”

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.

Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children’s cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she’ll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn’t know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.


Cheers,
Christina Schmidt, MA
armedwithcoffee.com

Writer’s Lift Wednesday #4

This is a writersliftwednesday blog, sharing the works of fellow writers, poets and persons random. All re-blogs will be linked appropriately to their authors.

Writing is no easy calling and nothing easy was ever worth doing.

Support each other. Share and reshare.

Cheers,
Christina Schmidt, MA
armedwithcoffee.com


#1. 3 Ways I’ve Changed as a Blogger, by New Lune

I’ve mentioned a number of times on how much I’ve changed as a person and the fact I do relate to the person I used to be to a certain extent but in other aspects, I definitely don’t see any resemblance at all. So I asked myself the same question but in terms of blogging. If I was the same blogger when I started my blog 5 years ago and the answer is pretty similar to what I said previously. I’m still the same blogger but over the years, I’ve definitely changed so much whether it’s my writing style, niche or even the way I view my blog.

I still value my integrity more than ever now and I definitely won’t compromise my morals and values for anything but at the same time, I’m not the same blogger I used to be. Even if I compare myself to the blogger I was a couple of days ago, I’ve changed. In today’s post, I wanted to share with you 3 ways I’ve changed as a blogger. As always, if you are interested keep on reading!

I’M WAY MORE ORGANISED (TO A CERTAIN EXTENT)
I always talk about planning and writing your blog posts ahead but would you believe if I said that when I started blogging, I was writing and publishing my blog posts on the same day. There wasn’t any organisation nor planning, I was posting randomly whenever I wanted which wasn’t that bad because it helped me find the best time and day to post on my blog. Plus, I really enjoyed writing my posts that way.

read the full article here


#2. What Is Not Seen in the Mind, by Dawn Lhamo

“What is not seen in the mind, becomes an event in the world”

An eightfold stanza haiku for you~

Hiding and blaming
others for your dark past won’t
make yourself happy

His silence was a
daily act of violence on
her heart torn open

The help he needed
was not found in his doctrine
but to bravely love

She gave him six months
and he stoked only fear and
escape, so it ends

She can no longer
live to placate the damage
of his broken soul

That only he could
alone begin to absolve,
but where to confess?

Download this haiku
use it as you have before
to arm from the law

Problem is that there
is a higher god in you
that needs atonement.

I’m not mad
I’m not angry
I will now purge all dreams
of what could have been

even the colors and bliss of the
ones confirmed by
divination are now dispersed

I burn the paper
of our future
into the fire
and proclaim
I’m done.


#3. Separating Yourself from Your Characters, by Doug Lewars via A Writer’s Path

I expect most people, whether they agree with it or not, are familiar with the Myers-Briggs personality classification system which divides the population into 16 groups. Many psychologists complain this is over simplified, but although the system appears to consist of four binary couples, each pair is, in fact, a spectrum and the four letter classification merely a place to start. Be that as it may, the idea can be a pretty good place to start when developing characters. It also raises a yellow caution flag for writers.

One thing I find difficult is separating myself from my characters. So, for example, using Myers-Briggs, I am INTJ. An ESFP character would react differently in just about every situation. Consider a scene in which the main character, a marketing manager, is meeting with his team prior to a product launch. The first question I would ask in such a meeting would involve clarifying the timeline so I could plan an effective campaign, verifying my resources and evaluating demographic possibilities, but if this guy is ESFP, his chief concern would be how the customer might relate at an emotional level to the new product, how they might create a marketing campaign fully inclusive of women, indigenous people and minorities, and how the campaign might grab the buyers at a visceral level. However, before even getting to the question stage, this main character would likely lead off the meeting by displaying considerable excitement at the opportunity. He would be effusive in his praise for the product, how it would contribute to the company brand and how it would enhance the lives of customers. This might inspire his team; however, someone such as myself would find him lacking in substance.

In addition, should someone raise concerns with respect to the effectiveness of an idea, I would probe to find out the specifics of the concern and try to work out means to mitigate them. My ESFP character would become instantly defensive. He would likely accuse the person raising the objection of not being a team player and being a naysayer. In all probability he would override the concern and press on. Simply put, he would be someone I would find highly unpleasant and not presenting him as a villain would be challenging for me.

read the full article here


 

Break (a poem)

3 of swordsWhen you remember
your heart is a muscle
not fragile, spun glass
finally
will you understand
the strength of it

Not a vault
Not a prison but
an origin
a fount
a source of
passion, love, longing, dedication

Nothing so valuable
so driven
could be be contained by anything so brittle
Who could want such a heart?
So fragile, it fears to beat
least it break

Only false feeling
can be contained by
something so delicate
Destined to shatter of its own weight;
false feeling weighs heavy
Strength is truth, light as a feather

An avenue of the heart ends
try another
Passion must have direction
or stagnate and die
Remains turn to shards
the beginnings of a glass heart

My muscle is a fist,
aim is always true
If I could, I would smash it into you
An avenue closes
I break through
I break through


Break (a poem)
Christina Schmidt, MA
armedwithcoffee.com

Beautiful Creature (a poem)

You absolute
beautiful creature

Perfect as you are

Wild hair
back straight
easy gait

Shy smile
crooked tooth
open, unafraid gaze

Nothing else to do
just you being you

We should all take a page
from your book

Just need to check
if I have any
blank pages left


Beautiful Creature (a poem) by
Christina Schmidt, MA
armedwithcoffee.com

Your Job Search Questions, Answered by Career Professionals (A Freelance Article)

Hello All,
I am pleased to share my latest freelance article:
Your Job Search Questions, Answered by Career Professionals.

I want to thank Brad Boggs, President & COO of DiversityJobs.com, for providing me with another opportunity to freelance for such an amazing company. It’s always a pleasure!

Also, much thanks to Emily Salazar and Andrew Harper. Knowledgeable and professional, as always.

Cheers,
Happy Friday!
Christina Schmidt, MA
armedwithcoffee.com

Writer’s Lift Wednesday #3

This is a writersliftwednesday blog, sharing the works of fellow writers, poets and persons random. All re-blogs will be linked appropriately to their authors.

Writing is no easy calling and nothing easy was ever worth doing.

Support each other. Share and reshare.

Cheers,
Christina Schmidt, MA
armedwithcoffee.com

# 1 Poetry,” by Vidur Sahdev of VerseInEmotion

When the
stormy clouds
of your normally
peaceful mind,
hold more weight
than they can
retain,

I am the words
that fall
like incessant
rain,

when the
continuing silence
of your own voice,
goes beyond
the realms
of what the heart
can contain,

I am the words
that fall
like incessant
rain,

when the
expanse of love
is a sea within,
seeking it’s share
of reciprocation
from the universe’s
expanse,

I am the words
that fall
like incessant
rain,

when the insides
are scorched
by a relentless drought,
and the fumes
of the vaporous soul
are too much
to bear,

I am the words
that fall
like incessant
rain.

#2 “Insomnia,” by Ken Craft of Ken Craft Poetry

[An excerpt poem from The Indifferent World]

Three is the loneliest number on a clock
when the night can’t save you.

No doubt it is the constellated tug,
a conspiracy of stars, the silent, primal

voice that whispers the uselessness,
that grinds greater gears,

that mocks the hubris of careful plans,
set alarms. Every blanketed life around you

sleeps safe and happy and secure
like nothing can touch them, like change

has made its exception, named it you,
and passed finally over the frosted roof.

#3 “Lessons of a Story Collection: The Smashing of False Beliefs,” by contributing author Cai Emmons for Women Writer’s, Women[‘s] Books

False Belief #1: I am only a novelist.

I am a novelist—I did not intend to write a short story collection. I write what I love to read, and since I was a young child that has been novels. I used to lie on my side on my bed, elbow bent, head resting in my hand, and read for hours while my mother hounded me to get outside. There was nothing I loved more than escaping into a big immersive book.

It was only natural that, when I became a writer, the ideas that came to me were ideas for novels. When I entered graduate school, it became necessary to write stories. Workshop situations can only handle a certain number of pages, and writing shorter pieces is an efficient way to explore aspects of the writing craft. So, I wrote some short stories during my years as a student. I approached them mostly as exercises, but I began to appreciate the micro focus and concision a good short story demands.

When I left grad school I focused on the writing of novels, but every once in a while, in the twenty years since then, an idea has come to me that is clearly a story not a novel, and I have written it in my rambling novelist’s way. In my head, however, my real mission was the writing of novels and writing stories remained an exercise.

However, a little over a year ago I was perusing the stories that had accumulated in my computer—a few had been published, a few had only been read by close friends—and it occurred to me that there was a clear thread that connected some of the stories. I gathered five of them and knew immediately that they cohered as a collection, despite the fact that I’d written them over a span of twenty years. I sent the collection off to a contest on a whim and was shocked, truly shocked, when it won with the promise of publication. A long-held false belief was smashed. Maybe I could be a novelist and a short story writer?

False belief #2: I am always writing something new.

I think many writers feel as I do, that each time I take up another project I am exploring something new. I never reread my published work to prove that point, so the belief has gone unquestioned, but when re-examining my stories I saw something different. It became clear to me that, for most of my writing life, I have been probing the same basic question: What does it mean to live as a woman in this culture? I never committed to this consciously, it was merely a matter of writing the story that came to mind and seeing what it brought to light. I have certainly been approaching the question from different angles, but the thematic undercurrent, the dianoia of my work, is quite consistent.

The five stories in Vanishing are a case in point. In “The Deed,” for example, a woman is so timid and uncertain about who she is in the world that she cannot even assert ownership over her own house. In “Fat” an aspiring young artist with body issues is forced to reckon with her own judgment of the fat model in her art class. All the situations of the central characters in these stories are unique to women navigating lives in a culture that undervalues them.

How could I not have realized that I was returning again and again to this central question?

False Belief #3: Staying with one form of expression is the best way to “improve.”

Since I’ve been writing novels I am aware of getting better at the discipline. I have novels in a drawer that have never seen the light of day, and I am quite sure they should remain comfortably sleeping there. I have a couple of new novels in the pipeline each of which I believe demonstrates some kind of advancement in my command of the form: more seamless plotting, more concise and evocative language, more profound relevance to the human condition.

But since birthing this story collection so unexpectedly, something else has occurred to me: Maybe I would benefit from writing in different genres. Not just short stories, but poems and plays. My evolution as a novelist had its roots in dramatic writing and, before that, poetry. Why not return to some of those forms periodically to reframe my view of how the written word can function? Why remain exclusively in the novel writing gulag?

My thinking has gone even further than that. Why not attempt some different kinds of art-making which would involve learning new skills? I have always wanted to learn to draw and paint, but I’ve been afraid to try. I also love to dance, but long ago I left behind any disciplined approach to dancing. What if I were to take a drawing class, or learn to tango or tap dance? Doing these things would wire my brain differently, just as language-learning does, and no doubt it would widen and refresh my view of the world.

I have not extended myself yet, but maybe soon, because putting together this story collection has changed me, smashing through a long-held belief that I am a person who does—and should do—only one thing.

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