Sunday, January 12, 2014

It's a whole new year...

I'm not going to make excuses for myself for not posting since August. Shit happens.

I'm not going to sugar-coat things and say that last year wasn't a complete bitch of a year and I'm happy that it's in the past (though, holy cow, it went fast).

I'm also not going to filter myself a whole lot on this blog anymore and play Miss Mary Sunshine all the time. Usually, I really am a positive person most of the time but 2013 and even 2012 really beat the absolute crap out of me. (I have a feeling my swear jar is going to fill up quickly this year. Drinks are on me, people!)

I am, however, going to continue to work on getting healthy. Since turning 40, my weight has skyrocketed and my self esteem has plummeted. I even went online self-diagnosed that I was depressed (according to the test I took, I'm actually severely depressed but I don't think it's that bad. Depressed, yes. Severe...debatable.). Most likely, this hasn't helped my weight issue.

With both a 5k and a 10k goal this year, I am getting get back into running. That's right. I want to be the dork with the 13.1 on the back of her car. My mother gave me money for Christmas and so I went out and bought myself a treadmill (thanks, Mom!). No Excuses. 

Consistent exercise is also the name of the game. Again, no excuses. Treadmill right in the damn house. It's unavoidable. Granted, I've been exercising three times a week but it's not on a schedule and it's definitely not enough for the amount of weight I need to lose to get to a comfortable, healthy size again.

BICHOK or "Butt in chair, hands on keyboard" is yet another mantra. I am going to write at least a little bit every single day. My goal to move from writer to author will be realized (maybe not this year but SOON).

And I'm going to try to be a bit better about updating my progress, too. No, I'm not going to tell you how much I weigh now. I probably won't do pictures (I might...but I've never really liked having my picture taken so I'm not putting pressure on myself to do so). As my goal is to get healthy and down to a comfortable size, I will tell you that I want to lose around 40 pounds, though I don't have final number in mind. I just want to feel good about myself again. I'd love to be in a size 10 or 12, though I haven't been that size since high school.

Well, it's a plan at least. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Pick yourself up, dust yourself off...

So, if you read my last post, you know I was in a bad frame of mind. I still kind of am but I'm determined. 

My visit to the doctor's office didn't do a damn bit of good. Oh, he was nice enough but he really just told me what I already knew: calories in, calories out. Get moving. Get that metabolism going.

Thanks, doc. I do appreciate your time but that's stuff I know. Tell me why my metabolism has practically shut down and I'm gaining weight as if I were just sitting on the couch and eating 4,000+ calories a day.

At least I know now it's not my thyroid. Two blood tests analyzed by two separate professionals have ruled out this possibility. It would have been a simple solution, though it would have required more medication (I already take more than enough because of my asthma and allergies, thank you very much!). So, I guess that's good.

But that leaves me with a sloth-like metabolism courtesy of my 40's (boo!!). I've got to jump-start this puppy.

This requires a plan of action (ooh, I do love my lists).

First, I'm going to start a food journal. Obviously, there's something(s) in my diet that needs to be added *cough* veggies *cough* and probably something(s) in my diet that need to be cut or reduced.

Second, I'm going to start Couch to 5K. My daily walks aren't cutting it but I really hate group exercise (I'm so very uncoordinated that Body Attack, Zumba and all that stuff -- I spend so much time trying to figure out the steps and not trip over my own feet that I don't burn much in the way of calories). So, I'm going to focus on running, yoga for stretching and some weight training to sculpt muscles (which will be visible after I lose  some body fat, hopefully!).

Third, I'm going to research and make a list of healthful foods that I can easily make and eat at school. I need lunch and a little snack to eat so I won't be starving when I get home at 5 or 6pm, to give me enough energy to teach throughout the day, and to maintain that energy so I don't collapse on the couch when I get home.

Fourth, I'm going to experiment with exercise to see when the best time to go for a run (well, run/walk until I can build up to pure running). Is it better to get up a 5am and get this thing over with, get my adrenaline pumping before school or would it be better to wait until after? I'm actually leaning towards doing it in the morning, just because I'm exhausted when I get home. 

That's a good start, don't you think?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Weight Loss Wednesday: It's not going well

Over the past school year, I gained a little over 15 pounds. That adds up to around 30 pounds since I turned 40. So not good.

I don't eat horribly, taking in less than 2,000 calories a day (many times a lot less than that). However, I don't eat enough veggies or fruit and I definitely have too many carbs. 

My job keeps me on my feet, circling the classroom and running around the school (sometimes literally), so I don't sit much during my 9-12 hours at work. The stress of this job is incredibly high and gives me insomnia and stress dreams (usually, it's peanut butter or gum stuck to the roof of my mouth that I can't get off and that won't let me talk).

The dogs and I go for a brisk mile walk almost every day and then I head back out for another two-mile attempt at running four times a week.

I wasn't expecting to lose weight with this program (though a girl can hope) but I certainly shouldn't be gaining weight at the pace I am.

There's got to be something wrong. Or not. Either way, I need help.

So, I'm headed to the doctor on Friday to talk about some options. Maybe I need a dietician or nutritionist. Maybe I actually do have a wonky thyroid and some meds are in order. Maybe I just need a professional to talk to rather than stumbling around in dark. *sigh* 

A depressing post for my first one in nearly a year. Sorry! I've been obsessing too much about this. It would be different if I were this size and comfortable in my own skin. But I'm not. I'm uncomfortable, I don't even like to even go out in public because I feel so *wrong* and not myself (this I'm going to have to get over quickly -- no more hiding now that school's about to start). I feel like everyone's staring, judging me. I know some of this is just my self-consciousness but most of my friends are highly athletic (former college swimmers and basketball stars; current gym rats), and I know they're watching me get fatter and fatter and it makes me even more self-conscious and uncomfortable (even though they're really sweet about it, willing to talk to me about diet and exercise without verbal judgement or comments. They're good people).

I need a massive change. And I need help to do it.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

I have an excuse, I swear!

Well, it's been wayyyyy too long since I blogged here. But I've been busy (isn't everyone)! 

August brought about the start of a new school year. This year isn't the same old, same old for me because I'm starting at a brand-spankin' new school (seriously. Construction was/is still ongoing. It's crazypants) in a brand-spankin' new (to me) position -- journalism teacher/yearbook and newspaper adviser.

Cool thing is, I get to set everything up. Hard thing is, I get to set everything up. Write curriculum. Train a brand-spankin' new staff (seriously. Not one of them has worked on a yearbook staff before.). Try to make deadlines with only four staffers. Try to put out a newspaper using only Journalism I (read: zero experience) student stories and no editors. Try to get stuff done when the computers haven't been set up and the programs aren't installed and Macs don't connect to our network so there's no way at the moment to share photos except for a couple of external hard drives that swap back and forth between the photojournalism class's eight computers and my 12 computers. It's been...interesting. And exhausting as I put in 14-hour days and weekends. 

Sadly, my personal writing time is nil at the moment. Still, I'm determined to do NaNo so I've got to get it together and reduce my daily to-do list down to one page per day, instead of the three to five it's been since the beginning of August.

One of the things I've rediscovered is how much I love journalism. I love the design, writing, interviewing, editing, photography, and the whole process of putting together a final product. I hope I'm sharing my passion with my students -- so much so that they'll want to be a part of my production staff next year (fingers crossed!). 

I do miss the hot wax machine, though. And slicing a column of text down to the right size. Physically lining up the entire spread. The smell of the chemicals from the darkroom. Everything's online now. Simpler in many ways but much less of a visceral experience as it's just staring at a computer screen while manipulating a mouse rather than creating a spread hands-on.

I'll be changing up the design and focus of this blog as the school year goes on (considering it's nearing the end of 2012--eep!), incorporating more digital photography and life in the South. As yearbook/newspaper adviser, I have to teach a bit of photography so I'm brushing off my photography skills. Problem is, they're super-rusty and digital photography does change things up a bit. It's no longer  adjust a couple of knobs and take the photo. Now there are so many buttons and options and blah! way too much stuff on these fancy new digital cameras. Learning is fun.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Summertime...and it's almost back to school already!

When the back-to-school commercials start in full force, I get sad. Summer is always too short, I always pack way too much in, have a great time and am not quite ready to go back. But, hey, it's a job and the pups and I have to eat and keep a roof over our head, right? Definitely not complaining...just a little whining.

And once again, this blog has been a little bare lately. As has my writing. Why is that? *shrugs* It's summertime, I should have plenty of time to write. And I do write...a little. Nothing near where I want to be, where I'd like to be. I think I need to put myself on a pretty tight schedule to finish this rewrite and do at least one revision/edit before passing it along to a couple of beta readers. But I am reading my arse off, so I suppose that's something! So many good books out there...I want to read them all!

School starts in a couple of weeks and between then and now I need to:
Recover from sinus surgery. Man, the surgery is not too terrible (beyond the not being able to breathe through your nose for a long while) but the recovery is slow going. Today was particularly brutal as I had to get some of the packing in my sinuses removed. And, yes, I'm one of the 11% that passes out (or comes close, anyway) when things muck about in my sinuses. Oh, and I get to go back next week to get more packing and my splints out. Yay.
Write curriculum for my brand-spankin'-new Journalism classes. I'm excited about this but it's going to take a serious amount of time because, even though this is my "guinea pig" year, I want to get it as "right" as possible. 
Put my classroom together. Right now, the classroom is packed up in 14 boxes stored in the brand-new school's gym and cluttering up my parents' basement. Luckily with high school, stuff doesn't need to be cutsie and not every wall has to be decorated. But I like it...and I have to be in it 8 hours a day so there you go.
Come up with a strategy to incorporate both yearbook and newspaper production into my Journalism II classes, which are very small at the moment (as happens at brand-new schools), and still be able to hit our deadlines.

Busy, busy! (heh, this is what happens when you put stuff off because you don't want to acknowledge the imminent demise of summer break.)

Hey, is anyone participating in WriteOnCon August 14th and 15th? Even though work starts the 15th and I'll probably be at school for at least part of the 14th, I'm still going to participate as much as I can including entering the 450-word contest they've got going on.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

How do you stay focused?

How DO you stay focused? I'm in serious unfocusedness-land, people. I mean, I really like my YA Romantic Suspense (that's the genre I've decided it is...but that might change. Again.) but there are TWO other plots just a knock-knock-knocking on my brain and I'm having a very hard time focusing on these rewrites.

On the plus side, I've turned into a procrastination genius. In some ways, this is actually good. I'm catching up on reviewing all those lovely NetGalley stories I've read...finally posting them and getting them archived so it doesn't look like I have eleventy-billion novels to review. I've hit the dentist, the doctor, the vet, have my sinus surgery scheduled (yahoo? A week's recovery will be no fun but at least I'll be able to breathe!), all my reviews for the past year have been sent on to the respective publishers (something I've been meaning to do for the last six months), and I've read all my magazines (I told you about the massive pile I it's ready to go to Mom).

How do you handle it when you get unfocused--and yet you REALLY want to get something done? Because I do want to get through these rewrites. When I get through the rewrites, I can get through revisions. When I get through the revision, I can do a quick edit and send it on to some beta readers while looking for crit partners (anyone up for exchanging manuscripts? I lurve y'all...). Once I get it through that process and another revision/edit, I can start querying agents. So, there's a plan in place but my brain is just not cooperating.

Am I scared? Maybe that's it. The last time I finished a novel and sent out queries, my dream agent asked for a partial but then sent a very sweet rejection. I mean, rejection does scare me. But I've failed before and, if I do fail again (despite my investing 2-3 years of my life in this project), I'll pick myself up and keep on writing and trying. 

I'm a late-bloomer as it is. Despite writing (golf magazine, nonfiction) and wanting to write (fiction) since I was a teen, I'd never finished a novel until I was in my late 30's. Before I got deep into social media and found an incredibly supportive writing community, I never thought I could actually finish a novel. Carcasses of my attempts lay scattered behind me...false starts, unconnected scenes but never an entire novel. *sigh*
Okay, if you say so,  Avengers! Credit
Enough babbling and back to my original question: how do you stay focused? Or get refocused? 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Operation Get Fit: Research

Call me a nerd but when I need information, I go read something. And, because I'm working on the whole "Get Fit" thing, I found a couple books that may or may not help me. Now, I get a ton of magazines (I have a serious problem, y'all) including Health, Shape, Fitness, Women's Health, Glamour...and a pile more (they cycle their way through me to Mom to all of Mom's friends--at least they're well-used, right?) so I know to take anything I read--published or on the interwebs--with a huge grain of salt. But not too much salt, because that's bad for your blood pressure.

DROP DEAD HEALTHY: One Man's Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection by A.J. Jacobs

I bought this one was actually more for "fun" than anything--I didn't expect to learn too much from "one person's quest to become the healthiest man in the world," according to the blurb. Anyway, Jacobs went through an absurd amount of trouble for this quest. He consulted with tons of experts (who pretty much told him what we already know--eat healthfully, exercise, get enough sleep) and tried a boatload of diets including raw food and extreme chewing (did you even know there was such a thing? I didn't.). He tried a bunch of exercise programs including using his treadmill desk almost constantly (he walked somewhere close to 1k miles or something ridiculous like that!). It was quite interesting.


Yeah, right. (For disclosure's sake, I did get this one from NetGalley for review--it's not one I'd ever buy myself!) This book didn't offer me anything that I hadn't already digested from last month's Women's Health. Again, it's all about choosing the right foods (she puts way too many on the "restricted" list. I'm more of a "if you want it, take a little but don't binge" mindset and don't really trust those who tell me I can't have things like granola). The NetGalley edition didn't have the exercises but again, they sounded like the ones you can find every month in Shape or Fitness. And that first round of "diet"? Way too restrictive. One question in the book was something like, "Why do I feel sluggish the first week?" and she says it's because the person's body is getting used to a new way of eating. Um. No, thanks.


Another NetGalley get because I'd love to be able to call myself a runner someday. Not an ultramarathoner--those people are cray-cray! One hundred and thirty-five miles through Death Valley? No thank you! But this was a very interesting read because it started with Scott Jurek's life and motivations for getting into running. I do enjoy an interesting biography! Anyway, he's also a vegan and he shares a bunch of recipes throughout the book of things he eats to fuel his body--something that's incredibly important, especially when you're running races that are over 50 miles long (eep--can you imagine?!?). I'm too much of a carnivore to turn totally vegan but some of the recipes sounded pretty good (I'd probably tweak them so they were more vegetarian than vegan but that's just me).

It all boils down to eating as healthfully as possible, getting your exercise on, and making good lifestyle choices. Now, let's hope that works! Heh.

Read anything interesting lately?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

When the story goes all wibbly-wobbly

For even the most dedicated of plotters, stories sometimes take unexpected turns. A secondary character becomes key to the plot. A third-person point of view gets up close and personal, morphing into first person. A setting moves across the pond.

A twisty path. Credit.
Unexpected can be good or it can take you so far off course that you barely recognize the original story. Then you have the choice of either going back, deleting and following your original course or taking the new path that appears before you.

What to do...what to do...

With one novel--which is now hidden deep in the trunk--I stuck to my guns and stuck with the plot, deleting those little plot bunnies that appeared and left a mess all over everything.

But with my current story, I'm going with the flow. My main character's love interest has become more than just a summer fling--he's an integral part of the story and even has his own voice now, which changed the POV of the story from third person limited to third person omniscient. I've never written anything in omniscient before and am struggling with how to corral the voices, how to transition between my's a challenge. But, because I think this is going to work out even better than originally planned (if I can get a hold of this squirmy POV, that is), I'm hanging in there.

What about you--do you follow those turns or do you go where the wind takes you?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Operation Get Fit: It's the little wins that count

Last Operation Get Fit post I was down, depressed, and sad. And thank you so much for reading my whine, commenting, and propping me back up and sending me toddling off, better attitude in hand. You all are fabulous.

While my weight still hasn't changed (come on, seriously?!? not even an ounce? maybe the scale is broken...or not), I'm determined to keep going and to stay positive by focusing on baby steps to lifelong success. You know, sometimes, it's the little wins that count.


1) Didn't gain any weight while at chi-chi resort on "working vacation"
2) Run/walking an hour on the beach goes about fifty-million times faster than when on a treadmill
3) Bought myself an adorable hot pink purse that was seriously on sale (hey, I deserved it!)
4) Finally have a summer routine that's working for me--and it includes daily exercise
5) Made a kick-ass run/walk playlist (with Call Me, Maybe of course! Cheesy is good.)
6) Up to running 20 minutes (15 min and 5 min) out of my 45 min. workout. This is WAAY up from the three minutes I started with last month
7) No longer out of breath walking up the five flights of stairs to the YMCA's equipment room. (Sadists.)
8) Get to watch Supernatural while pounding out my 45 minute treadmill routine. Woot for Sam and Dean! (Though I'm not exactly sure what season we're in. Might have to look that up. Eh. Who cares. They're adorable.)
9) Haven't *needed* my mid-afternoon nap, which means I'm finally caught up on my sleep. I sure do enjoy a good nap, though.
10) I can touch my toes now. Flexibility FTW! 

Any little wins for y'all lately?

Friday, June 29, 2012

Workin' at the beach

Just get back from a yearbook conference at a lovely resort (Kingston Plantation) in Myrtle Beach. You know, any conference that's held at a beach resort is worth begging your boss to attend. Especially when there's built-in "beach time". Yes, please.

You may remember that I'm starting a new job at a brand-new school next year (Go Redhawks!) and that job includes advising (and organizing and creating and all that jazz) for our yearbook. It's been a looooong while since I worked on a "real" yearbook (the middle school yearbook that I ran really was just a photo album...very few captions and no copy) so I really needed a refresher course. My brain, she is full of knowledge now. So. Much. To. Do. But a very productive conference. 

Plus, I did get in a little beach time. And pool time. And porch/reading time. I finally read OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon after so many people telling me how awesome it is. I really enjoyed it--though (and don't crucify me) I don't think I'll be joining the super-fan ranks.

I also read PUSHING THE LIMITS by Katie McGarry--a young adult romance that comes out in August. YOU MUST READ THIS!! It's absolutely fantastic.

Now that I'm back, the heat has HIT! It's 108 degrees in Columbia--that's hotter than hot tubs are allowed to be (The sign by the hot tub I was in yesterday said 104 is the hottest a public tub is supposed to be). Can anyone say sauna? Stay frosty, my friends (heh).

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Too Hot Tuesday: In honor of summer

It's summer! Heh. As if you haven't realized, what with the crazy-hot weather and tropical storms swirling around. Oh, and all those nutty, buzzy June bugs (love 'em). My favorite way to spend a hot summer day? Lazing around in the lake on a noodle with a frosty adult beverage in hand, dogs on their boogie boards, and friends floating nearby. Heaven.

In honor of summer, Too Hot Tuesday's men are all wet...
Daniel Craig as Bond...ooh, that suit!
You know, white is see-through when it gets wet...
Honey, that sand is...everywhere

Thursday, June 21, 2012

When is it revision and when is it a rewrite?

I saw this topic on a blog recently and it got me to thinking: when IS it just another revision and when do you call what you're doing a rewrite? Here's my take on it:

Revision--a couple major changes; things can be cut and added but no more than half of your overall story or concept changed; and/or characters may come or go.

Rewrite--you're cutting more than half your story; your characters look nothing like when they started; your plot is practically unrecognizable from the first draft; and/or you're adding a boatload of new words, doubling the length of your story.

I think I've done a little of both with this story because what I'm revising now looks nothing like what I started with, besides a few main elements. I thought it might have series potential but now it's a standalone. I started with a male MC and now he's a girl (without the sex-change operation!). I started over in Paris but moved back to the states. I started in first person but now it's third. Yeah, I think there's been at least one major rewrite with this WIP. 

At the moment, I'm doing a bit of revising, playing with what's already written, changing some things, deleting some characters. But the story's genre morphed from a YA action/adventure with a touch of kissing into more of a YA romantic comedy. Once I thought of it as a rom-com, things just fell into place. Of course, that means that I need to add the male MC's POV in to balance out the romantic part. His point of view will also help answer some sticky "why" questions, I think. So, I consider that part of it to be rewriting.

Can you do both at once? I *think* so...I'll have to let you know how it goes. (All things considered, with the addition of another person's POV, this is technically more of a rewrite.)

What do you all think? When is it a rewrite and when is it just revision?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Operation Get Fit: So frustrated

I'm frustrated. The scale hasn't moved AT ALL. Not up. Not down. Not even a half-pound. Seriously, y'all. I'm so frustrated I could cry.

Let me tell you what I've done, so you can feel my pain. And maybe give some suggestions!


  • Dropped the Diet Coke COMPLETELY *sigh* I know it's bad but it's so, so good
  • Upped my water intake--most days, it's over two liters (thank you, Crystal Lite)
  • Greatly reduced my sugar intake--my dessert is usually an apple with a tablespoon of Nutella, a piece of dark chocolate or a piece of Extra Mint Chocolate Chip gum
  • Cut the carbs by about half
  • Upped my veggie intake (not hard, as I wasn't eating many to begin with!)
  • On average, I'm eating between 1400-1800 calories a day with three main meals and no snacks


  • Run/walk 40-50 minutes (3-4 miles) four times a week (I'm working to bring this up to five or six but I'm not there quite yet fitness-wise)
  • 5 flights of stairs on the run/walk days (it's an old YMCA in a six-story building)
  • 15-minute walk with the dogs daily (they make certain of this)


  • With no school, my cortisol *has* to have gone down from the super-high levels it was all second semester (Well, probably all year. It was a really crappy year). However, I just had a stress dream about my high school journalism class (haven't developed the curriculum yet, don't really know what I'm teaching), so maybe it hasn't gone down as much as it should. I'm also breaking out which, for me, indicates stress.
  • I'm getting 8-9 hours of sleep a night (yay for summer)
  • My house is clean(-ish) and organized

It seems my metabolism just doesn't want to kick it up, and my body is very happy to hold on to the extra fifty (or so) pounds of nasty fat that I desperately want to get rid of. I'm telling you, I'm so frustrated, I'm really about to cry. But not give up. Never that. I don't want to be an obese old person who can barely walk or who has a ton of health problems. And, if I don't want to be that, I need to get my weight under control and get healthy. 

Damn you, body! *shakes fist* Drop this weight and be healthy! Grr.

Any suggestions? Any books I should read? Ideas? Help me out here, people.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Too Hot Tuesday: Possibly my favorite day of the week

Mary sings (horribly off-key), "It's gettin' hot in here! So take off all your clothes..." Guys respond: "I am gettin' so hot, I'm gonna take my clothes off!" (From "Hot in Here" by Nelly)

Ah, the power of suggestion. It worked on these boys!
Come on, let's get you out of those wet clothes...
Wet Men by François Rousseau...Mmmmm
Theo Theodoridis...shower time. Yes, please.
This one of RDJ always makes me giggle...If I were the maid, I don't think I'd run away.
*sigh* Lovely, lovely men. Thanks for being hot. You made my Tuesday.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Maurice Sendak: Not a whore

Provocative enough title for you? Watch this fabulous video of Sendak talking about his work. My favorite part:

Question: Why isn't there a Wild Things 2?
Maurice Sendak: Go to hell! Go to hell. I'm not a whore. 

Awesome. I think I love this man even more now. And I'm lucky. My local library, the main branch of the Richland County Public Library, has an incredible Where the Wild Things Are mural that greets patrons as they enter the children's room.
Guarding the Children's Room
"RCPL and Mr. Sendak enjoyed a long friendship, which began when he was approached some 20 years ago about the idea of creating a mural when the new library was in the planning stages. The mural, which was unveiled when the library opened in 1993, was the first time Sendak allowed his work to be used as public art.
Outside the Children's Room
The 46-foot-mural enhances the garden area and two freestanding scenes greet children of all ages as they enter the Children’s Room of the Main Library in downtown Columbia. Michael Hagen, an internationally recognized scenic painter, produced the artwork." --From the Richland County Public Library blog
Not the best pic but this is the rest of the mural opposite those big ole guards and the entrance.
I'm seriously lucky to have a library as awesome as RCPL. Keep up the great work, my library peeps!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

In honor of True Blood's new season...

I don't know if you're into True Blood at all but the new season started on Sunday. Many nekkid man parts were flashed. Many abs and booties and arms. It was lovely. 
But one of my favorite characters, Alcide the Werewolf, didn't flash much of anything. To make up for that rather disappointing turn of events, I decided I'd share some of my favorite, Joe Manganiello (these are actually promo for his new movie, Magic Mike. I'm so going to see that. Mom, you coming?).
From Men's Health UK photo shoot
More from Men's Health UK photo shoot (work it, baybee!)
Of course, the other boys of True Blood deserve some love, too...
I pinned this lovely boy--Ryan Kwanten--and there's no link. If you know where this pic is from, please let me know.
If you need more Eric--Alexander Skarsgård--go HERE
Are you a True Blood fan?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Quick Update and John Green

BookExpo America was awesome. An amazing experience that, due to my school district's schedule, one I don't think I'll repeat anytime soon. *sniffle*

If you're a book lover and you have an opportunity to go to BEA, do it. It's overwhelming, fast-paced, and crazy, and it's over so quickly it takes a while to process everything that happened. I went solo--not knowing anyone in real life, though I did know a bunch of bloggers and even some authors via online interactions. Let me tell you, even though I'm usually crippled socially in big crowds (a combination of shyness and introversion), I had a blast and talked to a ton of fabulous people and added a ton of awesome books to my TBR pile.

I was even star-struck a couple of times (Jen Lancaster, Ina Garten, Michael Connelly, Tim Gunn, Jennifer Weiner, Michael Bolton, R.L. Stein, the girl who wrote Cakepops...). One of my major star-struck moments was when I met John Green. 

If you don't know who this man is, I don't think I can be friends with you. Kidding. Sort of. But, really, you're missing out. He's a fantastically brilliant author (Looking for Alaska, Paper Towns, The Fault in Our Stars...Sigh. I can't even say how much I love his books.) who also runs a vlog with his brother Hank--The Vlogbrothers and has a bunch of minions he calls "NerdFighters". They're both hilarious and amazing.
(John Green rocks. Even though he's afraid of a dangling rope.)
Anyway, I was wandering around with some fellow bloggers (hi, ladies of Wastepaper Prose!) and we got to the Penguin booth and...OMG...John Green! Who was just hanging out with his ever-present posse surrounding him, killing some time before his next speech or signing or whatever so we went up and talked to him. Well, I smiled and said hi and then my tongue went numb or something because I couldn't contribute anything else besides the ridiculously wide grin that graced my face for the rest of the conversation. My knees were weak. My heart was pounding. I was completely useless. Of course, he was completely charming, taller than I expected (he's taller than me--probably about 5'11"), and so flippin' cute. I've decided we need to clone him so there are more John Greens to go around, since this one is already taken. 

At least I waited until I was around the corner to lose it whereupon I squeed like a little fangirl (in my head, of course). The grin lasted for a good half-day.

(I included a video with both John and Hank because they're so cute together)
And then I went home and collapsed in a big heap of post-BEA exhaustion.

So, how was your week?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

NYC and BEA, here I come!

Tomorrow, I hop on a plane and jet into New York City where I'll join thousands of other book lovers in what my friends deem "Book Geek Paradise", otherwise known as the BookExpo America or BEA.

I'm not going as a writer (Oh no--that's what writing conferences are for! I can only imagine the cringing that would ensue.), I'm going as a book blogger (for my other blog, The Book Swarm), an English teacher and, yes, a book geek. For me, it'll be three days of talking books, reading books, chatting with authors and publishers about books, and totally geeking out with fellow bloggers and book lovers. *sigh* Doesn't that sound amazing?

I've spent the last few days trying to slip in time to plan out my schedule (you don't even know how time-consuming this is!), get my house in order, pack, run around and get things I'm missing/need, and trying not to lose my marbles in the process--all while finishing out the school year. I need a nap. (Nope! Not until Saturday! Until then, I'll be going full throttle.)

It's probably the only year I'll be able to attend unless my school district decides to end school before Memorial Day so I had to take advantage while the calendar is in my favor. Maybe one day, I'll attend as an author and people will be talking about my ARC (advance reader's copy) and lining up for me to sign a book for them. Dare to dream, right? :)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Too Hot Tuesday: The Cowboy Edition

I could do multiple cowboy posts (and probably will at some point) because cowboys are inherently hot. There's just something about a man who works with his hands, spends serious time in the saddle, and doesn't mind getting sweaty. *whew* Is it hot in here? *fans self*
Pensive, navel-gazing cowboy says work day is over
Just chewing on some hay, inspecting my cotton fields...
Why, yes, I do walk around in my cowboy hat and boxers. You got a problem with that? (Btw, the answer is no.)
I have plenty of rope...never know when you'll need to tie something up.
Too Hot Tuesday is definitely one of my favorite days of the week!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Pixar Story Rules (Some of them, anyway)

I find the most interesting things via Twitter. Today, I was trolling through my feed, smiling at all the Memorial Day (U.S.) messages to soldiers and vets, when I ran across one that mentioned Pixar's story-telling "rules". Of course, I had to click on the link and found THIS awesome blog post on the

Pixar stories are the kind of stories that appeal to both young and old audiences with each story filled with humor, drama, and plain ole good storytelling. So, Pixar story "rules"? Yes, please.

Here are my top ten favorites from the list Pixar story artist Emma Coats tweeted. She learned these guidelines from her colleagues and they translate well to any genre or medium.

(from THIS post by David on the blog)
#1: Trying for theme is important, but you won’t see what the story is actually about til you’re at the end of it. Now rewrite.
#2: Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.
#3: Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.
#4: Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.
#5: Finish your story, let go even if it’s not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time.
#6: When you’re stuck, make a list of what WOULDN’T happen next. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up.
#7: Pull apart the stories you like. What you like in them is a part of you; you’ve got to recognize it before you can use it.
#8: Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you’ll never share it with anyone.
#9: What are the stakes? Give us reason to root for the character. What happens if they don’t succeed? Stack the odds against.
#10: Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.

Of course, no rule is hard and fast--they depend on the story and the writer as well as the situation. Personally, I like lists like this because I can say, "Yeah. That's right!" or "Ooh, let me try that and see if it does work.". Plus, Pixar knows storytelling so I'm more than willing to take writing advice from them.