Monday, December 17, 2012

Share with me some happy

After all the sadness of Friday (my prayers are constantly with these families!), and the death of my friend, I really need some happy. So I'm sharing with all of you my favorite Christmas story. *Smiley Face*

 I think I was four, my brother was about two and a half, and we were fostering a little girl at the time, Christina, who was eight. My mom said to me and Christina the evening before that we could open our presents as soon as we woke up

 That's probably not how she said it, but that's how I heard it. (A lesson in making sure your childen understand they don't mean it literally.) 

So what do you think happened when we woke up? I flew out of bed, straight for the present-piled tree downstairs. Christina, being the older wise one, tried to talk me out of it. 

I said, "No! She said as soon as we woke up!" 

See? That's how I heard it. 

I couldn't read at the time. I just remember grabbing gifts, wildly tearing away the paper not knowing who the present was meant for, saying "COOL!" everytime, and setting the gift aside, eager for another. Imagine the anger tornado that ensued when my parents woke up. To say it was not pretty was an understatement. I think I saw actual steam come out of my mother's ears. 

She tossed all the presents in a box and told us we were not having a Christmas, she was so heartbroken. Later, though, being the loving mother that she truly is (Hi, Mom:) she sat us down and redistributed every gift to its intended owner. I do remember being a little disappointed when some of the gifts I'd thought I was going to keep were not meant for me. But at least we still had our Christmas, and all was well in the end. 

Do you have any great Christmas stories?  
Share with me your happy.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Too-Soon Goodbye and a FREE gift that could save your life

Trevor on the left, with his buddies
I’ve been quiet in the online social world this week. We lost a friend this week. His name was Trevor, he was two weeks older than me, a fabulous musician, warm-hearted, laid back, hilarious, and an all-around good guy. I don’t handle death well. Not that anyone does, but I guess you could say, I don’t handle it normally. I’m a firm believer in heaven, hell, and a loving God, but it’s still difficult for me to fathom a person being here one minute and the next, gone. It’s an issue my brain battles from time to time, so when I think about Trevor’s death, it’s hard to make my brain grasp that he’s just gone.

I don’t handle funerals well, either. I’ve been fortunate in that I can count the funerals I’ve been to on one hand, and this is the first time I’ve experienced a friend, someone our age, dying. And, again, not that anyone handles a funeral, but I get clammy, nervous. I’m uncomfortable. I can’t come within so many feet of an open casket. It doesn’t seem right saying goodbye to an unbreathing body with no soul. And you can feel it. When you’re there, bent over them, looking at the too-thick makeup, and their strangely molded hands folded over their middle, it’s just… not right. I don’t like it. I don’t know if anyone else shares this view, but I can’t help how I feel.

At Trevor’s service, his father stood and made a speech about how he was an early walker, bright, a good older brother, kind to everyone he met, and how that night he asked his dad if he could borrow something. His dad said “sure, come on over”. Trevor said, “Thanks, Pops. I’ll be there in twenty.” And never showed.

Our hearts are hurting, but what hurts the most is how preventable his death was.

Sunday night, Trevor lost control of his car in the rain and catapulted into a pond. He panicked, didn’t think to open a window right away before his car filled with water, and by the time he was fully submerged, he couldn’t open the door or break the glass. It took rescue workers an hour to get him out.

Hundreds of people a year die this way, and my husband and I want to do everything we can to make sure this never happens again. Below is a video, showing exactly how to get out of a car, should you find yourself submerged in water. ALSO, we are ordering glass break/seat belt cutting tools from Amazon and are giving these out FREE! If you do a search on Amazon, you’ll see several different brands. Here is the one we’re giving out. If you want one PLEASE CONTACT ME. We will buy and ship FREE. This is at NO COST to you. NO questions asked. (I'm fully aware that I sound like an infomercial right now.) We just want to make sure such a preventable death never happens again, as much as we can within our ability.

If you want to buy your own, PLEASE DO. If you want us to send you one, go to my CONTACT ME page, or email me your info directly at All I need is your name and address, and we’ll ship it out as soon as we get them in. You are NOT putting us out by asking for one. We want to help. Let us do that.

Thank you for reading. Prayers for his family are much appreciated, and please please watch the video below!

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Monday, December 3, 2012

Review: Skylark AND my Babyfaces Contribution

Goodreads Summary 
Sixteen-year-old Lark Ainsley has never seen the sky.

Her world ends at the edge of the vast domed barrier of energy enclosing all that’s left of humanity. For two hundred years the city has sustained this barrier by harvesting its children's innate magical energy when they reach adolescence. When it’s Lark’s turn to be harvested, she finds herself trapped in a nightmarish web of experiments and learns she is something out of legend itself: a Renewable, able to regenerate her own power after it’s been stripped.

Forced to flee the only home she knows to avoid life as a human battery, Lark must fight her way through the terrible wilderness beyond the edge of the world. With the city’s clockwork creations close on her heels and a strange wild boy stalking her in the countryside, she must move quickly if she is to have any hope of survival. She’s heard the stories that somewhere to the west are others like her, hidden in secret—but can she stay alive long enough to find them?


 Meagan Spooner’s Skylark was recommended to me by my very best reading friend, my sister, Anna. Aww, cheers, lovely sis. Anyhoo. I must say my sister and I have similar tastes that tend to bob and weave. Lately, I’ve leaned more toward the contemporary side of YA and NA, while she’s stayed strictly with the paranormal and dystopian YA. It makes me a little sad, because we’re reading primarily different books now, and haven’t been able to discuss a book together in quite some time.

*sad face*

So when she recommended Skylark to me, I was like Eh, okay. But, somewhere not so deep in my subconscious, I knew I was going to struggle with this book. And, let me tell you, it was not because of the writing – which was FANTABULOUS. No. It was the story.

Lark is a 16yo girl living in a city controlled by magic. At a certain age all the children are harvested for their magic – sacrificed to the city – and given an occupation. The end. But Lark is different. She’s a Renewable, an endless magical resource, and a promise of safety for her city’s future. However, becoming this energy source for her city will require an unimaginable sacrifice – she will become the city’s slave and live in constant pain.

When the story began, the first thing I noticed was the writing. Amazing. Truly. The author has a fluid way with words, creating a vibrant and grim picture of the current world. The world building was great. Once I was into the story, I didn’t feel lost or confused, including when Lark escapes the city. So it wasn’t that it was lackluster or boring, it just wasn’t what I was in the mood to read at the time. I passed this book over for others, and ended up finishing it over a span of several weeks – which I never do. Never.

When I finally did buckle in and decide I was going to finish it,  I was immediately drawn into the second half, reading wide-eyed and ignoring my child for periods of time because Holy Surprises, Batman!

My take on Lark – I liked her, didn’t love her. She did not come off as sixteen. She felt much younger and too innocent. I guess I can understand with how sheltered of a live she’s lived in her city, but I still thought she was a touch too innocent. The other characters were pretty wonderful. It’s hard to say much about them because they were all very background. The story mostly revolves around Lark and her experience. And there are betrayals I don’t want to give away by discussing the character’s, er, character.

In a nutshell, the story was wonderful. Anyone who likes magic will LOVE this book. Now that’s it’s over I can honestly say I did love it. I just wish I’d have loved it over a few days rather than weeks.

Favorite Quotes:

There was a rawness to his voice that cut me more than any anger would have. "I know," I said, keeping my gaze ahead of me, on the fractured surface of the water. "I'm sorry."
He had been so like an animal that first time I'd seen him. Then, I would have believed him to be a monster. The way he'd gazed at me, as the ghosts faded into mist around us, with such shock and such hunger, had shaken me to my core. The blood-stained face, the bestial grace. Why hadn't I remembered it later? Because he saved my life. Again and again. And because I learned, or thought I had learned, to see through the dispassionate exterior. Had I truly learned, or had he been growing more and more human, the longer he stayed in the aura of the my magic?

AND... Ready for it?


Trisha at WORDS + STUFF is hosting Baby Faces Blogfest:

  1. Between December 2nd and 3rd, post a pic of yourself as a baby, and/or;
  2. Tell us a story about when you were a baby (no doubt you can't quite remember it yourself, but you've probably heard some stories from other members of your family).
You can choose to do one or the other or both, depending on your mood on the day(s). ;)

 Here's my story. I actually had to call my mom this morning because I couldn't remember any baby stories of facts about myself. I do, however, remember using this picture for a 2nd grade contest. It was a last-to-be-picked kind of thing. And I won. Because everyone thought I was a boy, haha! 

My mom said I was a very independent baby, toddle, and child. That does not surprise me as I am a bit too independent as an adult. She said when I was 18months, she went away for a weekend retreat. When she returned, I turned my nose up at her, ignored her, and would not look at her for TWO DAYS! Wow, that's some determination.

I'll be posting my favorite Christmas in the next week or so. Think about your favorite Christmas story. I wanna hear!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Once a loser

Me and my current manuscript

Always a loser, right?

When I was a kid, I was never a loser. I was always beautiful. Always successful. Always great. Always a winner. Because my momma said so. Those other kids be damned.

Now that I’m an adult, I have to bandage my own boo-boos, make my own insurance calls, clean up my own messes… Okay, who am I kidding? I always did that. Either way, I have no one now but my little ole self to stare down in the mirror. Chin up, shoulders back, head high, you’re a winner. A winner, I tell ya!

Not according to NaNo…

And I wasn’t just any kind of loser this year. I was a giant, roley-poley one. But I was no couch potato, I assure you. With a nearly full-time piano teaching job, teaching my pre-K music class, and taking care of a toddler, my life is pretty full. Then add on the reading, piano practicing, and writing requirements, and my life is an old stuffed suitcase popping apart at the seams. It’s overwhelming. Not that anyone else’s life isn’t. I know we (speaking mostly to you women ;) are constantly overwhelmed with the duties of life, whether you work and raise kids, or just do the kiddo-raising, it’s hard. Like really freaking hard! To have to add to that is just insanity, right?

Me and my current life
I don’t care. I see all you beautiful author people, having your babies, maybe working regular jobs, and making it happen. I know I’ll get there, too. I’ve just come to realize that this year isn’t my WINNER year. For NaNo, that is. Maybe next year, when my kiddo is in pre-school, I’ll have some longer chunks of time. The important things to me right now are: raising my son, making sure he’s happy, making sure our relationship is strong, teaching my kids and doing a darn good job of it. Anything extra has to be relegated to the bottom of the pile. For now. I am content with knowing that this won’t always be my life. My son will grow up, he’ll go to school, maybe (hopefully) I’ll be able to teach a little less, free up some more time. I know my shining moment will come, and someday I plan on earning that NaNo WINNER badge. But not this year, and I’m absolutely fine with that.

But now that I am a loser, I do have one beef with NaNo. I admit, before this year, I never actively participated in NaNo. I only heard about it a couple years ago, and had just finished a novel that March, and was not in the position to start a new one in November with my son being a baby at the time. But now that I’ve participated, I’m wondering – who the hell thought to have it in November?! Seriously!

During the mid-point of holiday/cold and flu season? Really?!

I know this wasn’t an issue for so many of you, because I’ve seen around the blogosphere there are a LOT of WINNERS out there, and GO YOU!! But, seriously, NaNo people, you could’ve picked a way better month. Like January. Everyone hates January. The post-holiday blues. That cranky winter thing that keeps us inside. Many great reasons to have it in January. Or February. Or March. But during the middle of the holiday season? Okay. I’m done.

To all of you NaNo WINNERS, CONGRATS! I am so proud of you. Right now, I’m just damn proud of myself that I’m writing consistently and not falling apart, lol.

That’s my life.