What IS a Ninja Nanny, anyway??

Recently I was asked what a Ninja Nanny was, by someone who hadn’t yet read Ninja Nanny: The Beginning or Ninja Mommy: Maritime Magic.

Well, others may have different definitions. In the UK, a granny is often referred to as a nanny. In the US however, a nanny is that person who watches someone’s kids. In this case, with the word NINJA in front of it, she is a total badass.

A badass with lots going on, that is…so, in the first book, she’s trying to figure it all out.

Ninja Nanny is not your typical superhero. She doesn’t wear a cape. She can help you escape your reality for a while for a while with her autobiography of awesomeness. The main character, Natalie Newport, first has to figure out if her love interest, a smokin’ hot firefighter, is interested back. She goes on a road trip with her best friend to try to clear her head, and they have fun and all, but it seems that the road trip only adds to her confusion about what she’s supposed to do, because everywhere they go, firefighters appear.

When she returns, the murkiness of Natalie’s love department clears up, due to some assertiveness on her part (and that’s fun) but then she starts a new nanny job and begins to have visions and her cat starts speaking to her. So now she thinks she might be going bonkers. Good thing she has her martial arts training to help release the tension. But then her trainer Jin (who trains her in a secret dojo in the basement of the gym) tells her she might just have superpowers, and she realizes her true destiny. Her life is forever changed.

As the author of this book and the upcoming sequel, I hope to encourage young women to be strong and rely on their inner superheroes to be able to solve their own problems.

Hope this clears things up about the book. The second is an enjoyable adventure involving pirates and such.  

One last post before NaNoWriMo ’13!

I woke up this morning thinking about my mom, and how she did what she did to make my and my brother’s childhood fun, and really…magical.

She absolutely loved the holidays, and would buy decorations for every one, even the smaller ones. She hung cloth banners in the skylight of our house for all of them. Christmas, though, was her favorite. We got stockings and presents under the tree every year, and the house was decorated to the nines with Christmas lights on the roof and Frosty the Snowman lit up outside, with some reindeer. Inside stood her nutcracker collection, a talking Santa and many other delights. She wouldn’t rest until the banners were up and all holiday details and decorations were in place, up to and including the wreath on the door.

There are good moms everywhere, but I’ve never seen anyone take the job of “Mom” and run with it quite the way she did. She went all out, from Easter egg hunts for us and our cousins, to camping trips with the cook stove so we could all have delicious meals while at the ocean or in the wilderness, and she always had an excited gleam in her eye to be out there camping.

As we got older, her coolness spread to our friends and youth group. For years, we went on summer trips to a beach house in Oregon that I remember with fondness, and we also put on a haunted house in the old barn at our church. We all had such a blast dressing up and scaring the bejesus out of people.

Mom’s way of meditating was taking care of the plants all around the property – 3 levels worth of plants. It was a huge undertaking but she did it lovingly.

I never got the feeling that she was happy to see us head off to school. If she ever had that, she hid it well. She took such joy, delight and pride in being a mom that I don’t think it ever crossed her mind to be “rid of” us, even for a while. The pure essence of loving kindness surrounded her, always and it really did make it hard to leave for school – up to and including university. In a sense, now that she is gone I’m sad that I did, or didn’t go to a closer college, because I would’ve had that much more time with her. Luckily, during our elementary school years she would take us to the ocean once a year, letting us skip school that day so we could fly kites with our family dog, and go on the go-karts and bumper cars, and many other fun little places.

Since I did go away to school, it gave me the ability to return to see the precious gift I had in her. I appreciate that she always encouraged the writer in me – and didn’t mind so much that I never had kids. She always said “I’m not old enough to be a grandma yet” with a little smile. Deep down, I think she knew that it wasn’t in me to give birth to babies but to stories instead, and she was cool with that. My dad always wanted grandchildren but my mom didn’t worry about it…sort of the reverse of most families. I credit her for awakening my imagination as a child. She read so many books including the Oz books, which she collected and which I now have, to us as bedtime stories, so I went to sleep dreaming of those characters. My own books lay dormant within me until the time was right to write, and out came the story of Ninja Nanny and her adventures in babysitting and in becoming a superhero.

For my birthday this year, my boyfriend got me the Wizard of Oz box set which has the original movie in 3D and special features, and a number of other Oz memorabilia, which I’ll add to my mom’s collection when I can display it all. Awesome gift! It also came with a journal, which I wrote this by hand in before typing it, in honor of Mom – Sharon. Thanks, Mom, for being such a powerhouse and an example of how to be, all life long.

Though most of you reading this didn’t know my mom, this is the way I spread her unconditional love out to you, and I hope you feel it. She loved everyone. You have her love, and mine as well.

 ~NN

Happy Autumn!

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It’s the season I love the most, autumn and welcome to it! As much as I love the other seasons, this one makes me feel magical, mystical and creative, and it is usually when I become the most inspired, and productive in the creative process. The world is cooling down again to prepare for the hibernation of winter, but life is gearing up as school begins once again after the playful summer, so it feels like there is a swirling of energy and a natural balance occurring. Also, maybe I feel most at home as I was born in late October. (I was supposed to be a Halloween baby, but my parents went dancing on 10/28 and I think that made me want to dance my way into the world a few days earlier than expected!)

Right now I am focused on the reds, ambers and golds of the leaves as they change colors. This is not as apparent here in the Phoenix area as it was in Washington state where I moved from last year, but if we drive a bit north, we can still witness it. These colors are the colors of the first three chakras (red, orange, yellow), so the issues of survival and having a solid foundation tend to arise during the autumn, for me and for others I know. I’m doing several things at the moment to bring in money, but at the heart of it, a writer I will always be, to the core.

As you know, I have two fiction books out and I’m going to be taking a break from those to write a self-help novel in November, during Nanowrimo. (If you don’t know what this is, go to nanowrimo.org and check it out).  I’m very much looking forward to these intense periods of writing during which I will sequester myself with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate – creative juice -and try to reach word count by month’s end. I have other projects going on as well, both literary and musical, and hope to gain some ground on those also. I’d love to connect with fellow creative souls. Let me know what you have going on right now. Let’s inspire and encourage each other! Please feel free to leave a comment and I’ll do my best to respond in a timely fashion.

Whomever you are and whatever you’re up to, I hope you’re enjoying the energy of autumn and the current lunar cycles – harvest moon and hunter’s moon and all the festivities that go along with this season.

 

 

 

From a Crisis of Confidence to a Canyon of Cool

I spent a lot of time in my younger days worrying about what others thought of me. Now I wonder why I even cared…but when your world consists of going to school every day and seeing those faces looking at, or let’s face it, judging you, and you live that world of immature people every day and aren’t immediately accepted, it can sometimes feel fatalistic to even try for anything in life. It can be socially paralyzing, or at least debilitating.

So this post is for those who have been bullied, made fun of, picked on, or ridiculed for not being whatever “the cool crowd” deems is cool. Or beautiful. Or handsome. Or hot. If you didn’t or don’t fall under that definition, I argue that you are much, much cooler than those people, who take it upon themselves to make others feel worse by making themselves feel better. Those people have very narrow views of life, tunnel vision, and that will likely never change. You on the other hand may see life in a different way: with very intelligent, creative, caring eyes. You have extremely special gifts that the world needs. So what that the world can’t see them just yet?

There is much more love and acceptance right now than when I grew up, but bullying still happens much more than it should, which of course is never. Doing what the cool crowd does even if the alarm bells go off in your brain because you know you’re going along with something that’s wrong for you, is in fact, not cool at all. Listen to those alarm bells. It is okay to say no when you know deep down that something is wrong, although doing it may make you seem like one of the cool crowd in the moment. What is that truly worth in the end?

Humans do a lot of dumb things. They do planking, and at least one person I know of died doing that. They do choke outs, and people have died from that too. Those are just two of many examples. These fads roll like waves through society, and then they fade and then next fad comes up, and it’s equally as dim-witted a thing; sometimes even dumber.

I urge you to see what might seem like a gigantic chasm of chaos (that you must cross in order to feel confident) in a different way. In your mind, turn it into a canyon of cool. If you have to trudge through it anyway, why not enjoy it while you’re there? What do you love to do? Bring it into your canyon and make that canyon your playground. Realize your vision, your unique dream this way. Focus on what you love, and never lose that focus, and just keep stepping. Just keep swimming. Just keep slogging through the daily motions. Someday, you’ll be able to leap over that canyon and fly.

Honestly, the people who “peak” in high school have little to live for after that. That’s really sad. But they make their choices. If they want to be king or queen for a day, for now, let them. It matters not, in the end, that they strutted their stuff because they did so too early and it won’t help them later in life. Most will waste any talent they have, and just hope that it lives on in their kids. Others that do become successful will waste that talent by believing they’re invincible and breaking the law somehow and losing all they had. We see it all the time in the media.That’s no kind of life. Alternatively, later on down the line, you (and I do mean you) will blossom into the most beautiful flower—or perhaps transform into a butterfly from your current cocoon. The world can’t wait to see that—me included. Hang in there.

“Here’s to the crazy ones; the misfits; the rebels; the trouble-makers; the round pegs in the square holes; the ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them. But the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” –Jack Kerouac

Excerpt – Ninja Nanny takes the kids to the gym…

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I’d been considering taking them out to lunch, but I was going to save that for next week. Good behavior was to be rewarded, not bad. So today we might get to see the Lollipop Man at the Lollipop Stand, if they were on superlative behavior for the rest of the day.

I walked in, put the kids on the seats at the door’s entrance, directly behind me, as usual. There was heavy foot traffic at the door, and if I told them to stand by me, they usually wandered away after about 30 seconds and got under people’s feet. I checked myself in, told Jeremy, the guy at the front desk, “Two for Kids’ Club,” and started to hand him the money. All of a sudden, I heard the fire alarm go off. Was there really a fire? I asked Jeremy where it came from. He smiled slightly, and pointed to the kids. Oh no they didn’t, I thought. I turned around. Oh, yes they had.

Cameron was half smiling. He had this look that I read as, I’m going to pay hell for this, but I am so proud that this drama all happening because of me. I gave him the evil eye that said, you’re right, you are going to get it. I wanted him to be scared. Courtney just looked worried like she didn’t know what was going on. She looked at her brother and smiled too, until his smile quickly faded while he studied my face, and turned into a look of fear. Mission accomplished. She followed his gaze to my face and immediately stopped smiling. I put my head in my hands for a second. By this time, all the personal trainers in the club had come from wherever they were in the building, to the front desk, asking where the owner was, asking if there was really a fire. I read their lips, because it was so loud. The owner wasn’t there yet. All the older ladies came down the stairs and filed out of the club in their swimsuits.

Apparently, they needed the owner to unlock the room with the switch in it, to turn off the alarm. He was the only one who had the key. The firefighters were already on their way. Sweet Jesus. “I’m so sorry!” I mouthed to Jeremy. He just smiled. All I could think of to do was blend in, so I grabbed the kids’ hands, and filed outside with the rest of the, oh, I’d say 250 people who were in the gym that morning. I stood there and gave Cameron the biggest lecture of his life. Talk about punishing him in the moment.

I wanted to just leave the club, right then and there. I was just that mortified. However, it would have been the cowardly way, and that was not mine. In addition, the members blocked in the car, and the fire trucks were coming around the corner. I stopped lecturing Cameron, who was enjoying this too much to care what I was saying. To him, it was all a big party in the parking lot that he had started, and when he heard the sirens, he was even more delighted. I didn’t cry, but I was feeling very anxious. My stomach churned. One engine, one truck, and one ambulance were now parked in front of the building. The fire station was just across the street from my gym, so by the time Jeremy had called them, it was too late. They ran inside, in full gear. Now, I was crying. I couldn’t even tell which one was Hammer.

Five minutes later, I could tell which one was Hammer. He and the guys were laughing as they walked out the door. They held the door open for all of the older ladies, who filed back inside in their bathing suits and towels. Poor things, a couple of them were starting to look a little blue. If any of them caught pneumonia and died from this, I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself. Or Cameron. Ever.