Tag Archives: anthology submission

Soft on the Outside: Orange Karen Anthology Countdown – Day 6

Cara Michaels ushers in Day 6 of the Orange Karen Anthology Countdown with a great post about the power of human will. So if you Inkslingers are thinking about wanting to submit a short story to the anthology, there’s only a handful of days left until the deadline (December 15, 2012) have a read of Cara’s post and dig in for some will and hit the keys with renewed vim and vigor! Once you’re all motivated, read up on the Submission Guidelines.

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Soft on the Outside

Cara Michaels

A good friend and I have spent time discussing the power of human will in recent months. Could we change things in our lives simply by changing how we thought about them? Did a lot of the crap in our lives begin with the crap we expected to experience?

We humans spend an awful lot of time talking about people, places, jobs, events…especially those that make our lives not so great. We want people to ‘vent’ to, to spew our misery on empathetic ears. Maybe we get some positive feedback. Maybe we just get commiseration, because oh yeah, our friends and loved ones all have a laundry list of people, places, jobs, and events, too.

We wallow. A lot.

Until one day, the news spreads of a dear friend’s illness. Along with this news come pleas for positive thoughts, prayers, love, juju: Whatever you’ve got in your spiritual arsenal, will you please send it her way? Because this isn’t a mundane illness. This bastard could take our friend out of this world any moment. Days, hours, minutes… it’s all touch and go. Maybe she’ll respond to treatment. And maybe she won’t.

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Karen DeLabar, Our Orange Warrior

We’re pretty soft on the outside. Prone to illness, injury, wear and tear. Plus we let the day to day worries bruise us and knock us down emotionally and spiritually. But then a life and death moment comes along to wash away the small concerns. A moment to recognize how incomprehensible and frightening the world can be. She’s not even 30. She has a husband… two beautiful little girls. How can this happen? Why did this happen?

While Karen’s illness didn’t prompt the talks between me and my friend, she provided plenty of real world examples of the power of human will. We get to go through most of our days without having our resolves truly tested. Sure, we have ups and downs, triumphs and sorrows. But we should be grateful every day we don’t face the life and death moments, and perhaps the biggest question we answer in life: If the worst happens, how do we carry on?

It’s a question Karen’s family faced day in and day out during her hospitalization, even as they tried to stay positive.

When it comes down to it, maybe the hows and whys don’t matter. Maybe all that matters is we offered any support we could. We climbed to our feet and we stood together. Such an outpouring of love, hope, and help reached out to Karen and her family. And… in the face of terrifying illness, Karen survived. The illness left its marks, permanent reminders of how fragile our bodies are. Reminders in the form of surgeries, scars, therapy. Ten days of illness has yielded six months of recovery and it’s still going. But her survival gives testimony to the strength of the human spirit.

We may be soft on the outside, but we’re pretty damn tough on the inside.

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About Cara Michaels

A left-handed, right-brained Gemini with stories to tell, I have been writing since childhood. I suffer from an extremely low boredom threshold and can typically be found tinkering with half a dozen projects. Occasionally all at once.

Many of her projects can be found on her website. She also tweets on the Twitter and has an author page on Facebook.

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NaNoWriMo Half-Time Pep Talk…and Procrastination Ideas

Alright NaNoWriMo Ink Slingers, huddle up!

You’ve reached the half-way point of wrangling 50,000 words together this month (where in the heck has this month gone, by the way?). Congratulations!! Are your fingers furiously typing trying to feverishly keep up with the amazing ideas in your brain? Or are you kind of stuck, banging your head against your desk, hoping that words struggling to get past all the self-doubt and self-criticism will somehow tumble out onto paper?
What do you do when you’ve hit the dreaded “Writer’s Block?” Tweet about it? Randomly poke some friends on Facebook? Text a whole bunch of people hoping they respond right away? Scrub the kitchen floors?


What do you do when all of those things don’t work?
You could check out the Submission Guidelines of our Orange Karen Anthology. There’s nothing like a bit of productive procrastination to bust through the brick wall of Writer’s Block. Sometimes changing your focus can loosen up those creative joints. The orange Karen anthology project is an excellent opportunity to recharge your inspiration and do something awesome to help an awesome chick, all at the same time.
Speaking of inspiration, let me tell you a little about our dear friend, Karen. She’s a loving mother and wife and a fantastic friend, but Karen is also a writer. And she’s participating in NaNoWriMo this year. And she is kicking its ass. There are many roadblocks in Karen’s path to success with NaNoWriMo. First of all, due to nerve damage caused by the disease that nearly killed her last summer, she can’t type very fast or for very long. So she was able to get Dragon Naturally Speaking, a speech to text software, to help her rack up the word count on the page. Karen also still experiences a lot of pain still, so she has to pace herself. Tack that onto being a busy mom of two sweet little girls and you’ve got the profile of a warrior. Nothing holds her back. Nothing. She almost lost her life, but she came back fighting – literally. Just ask Karen’s nurses. She is our Orange Warrior. If there is a will, there is a way. It may not be easy, but it sure as hell will be worth it.

You want proof that Karen is truly an Orange Warrior? She posted this on her Facebook wall recently:

“Ok, wrote almost 4500 yesterday. I’m going to try for 5K tomorrow then I’ll only be 2 days behind. DeLabar’s big come from behind victory is in the works. I already ran one pen dry, working on the second! Watch out, people!!”
So writers, what’ll it be? A flourish to finish NaNoWriMo? A submission to the Orange Karen Anthology? Or are you going to go for the gusto and do both? If you are not a multi-tasker, the submission deadline is December 15, 2012 so you can still craft up a short story after you cross the NaNoWriMo finish line!
Whatever it is, we’re behind you. We’re the ones whispering “You can do it” in your ear and cheering when you hit a milestone in your plot development, or in word count.
Go forth, you wizards of words, you crafters of climaxes.
Go forth and do what you do, and when an obstacle rises in your path, think of Karen as you ninja-kick that obstacle’s ass.

See you at the finish line.

Christina Esdon