Showing posts with label Update. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Update. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Fast Forward


Life moves forward at break-neck speed, and last week was no exception. (Kelly Rippa and her co-host today Carson Kressley  just informed me April is Stress Awareness Month. I don't need a movement to be aware, I can tell you that.) In addition to the kids being on Spring Break and eager for at least one adventure a day, I had the refinancing of our house to contend with.

Putting together numerous paper trail records in a paperless world, and then scanning them so they become paperless again, had me teetering on the edge of a mental breakdown.

When it got really bad, I plonked down the mountain of paperwork at took the kids to see the Hunger Games, again. It was even better the second time!

Nothing reminds you of your financial obligations like refinancing a home. With property depreciation across the market, we're licking a $45K loss wound. Depression hovers like early morning haze. So, this week I brought out the sun.

I created a new board on my Pinterest wall. It's simply called, My Bucket List. The act of transferring my deepest desires into web-found images, where they materialize into tangible possibilities, has breathed new life force into my soul.

"Write a Novel" is on my list, of course. More on that later.

I only have 25 or so pins up, but the list will continue to grow. And I'm excited to say one item is already going to be checked off. My husband and I are currently working on our SCUBA Diving Certification. Fun!

To see My Bucket List board, CLICK HERE.

Life moves forward, so enjoy every lovely/maddening/beautiful/stressful/creative moment. And work to find your bliss,

Thanks for reading!


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What's Up With Me (?)

I'm a Libra, and for me, life is all about balance. I'm in constant pursuit of it, off-kilter when I don't achieve it, and of the mind that true success comes with it. So, here's how elusive balance has affected me lately.

I have two passions, both which require enormous amounts of time and energy. One is writing. The other is running.

When I am fully engaged with one, there is not enough time or energy for the other. No matter how I've tried to rectify this, it continues to be true.

In January, I began training for a half-marathon. So, in January I stopped working on my WiP. I didn't mean to. I had full intention to continue writing. But it didn't happen.

The race was a little over a week ago, on March 18th.

Here's me corralled at the start line, waiting for the race to start.

My husband and kids took this shot as I ran past near the mile 9 marker.

And here I am with my kids, after completing the 13.1 miles in 2 hrs. 23 mins.

Now that the intensity of my training has eased up for the next couple months (my next half is October 21), I'm turning my attention back to my writing. All time and energy is swinging in the creative direction as I pull up my manuscript off its dusty cyber shelf. 

To fully facilitate my first draft success, I'm laying low and staying off the Internet as much as possible. Once a week I'll post a short blog here to talk about my week's work, if only to keep myself on track and accountable. I'll visit around the blogosphere, but if you don't hear from me you'll know it's not 'cause I don't love what you've said, it's just because I'm confining my written words to my book.

And of course, I'll be cheering on all you A-Zers from my quiet corner of cyberspace!

See you on the other side! 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Belize or Bust

In just three short days, I will have escaped the bone-chilling, humid grip of Georgia's winter weather and been transported to the sugary sands and turquoise waters of the Caribbean. Yep, Sunday it's Belize or bust!

Besides the ridiculous beauty of the country, I have a lot to look forward to. Two of my sisters will be there, and there are so few opportunities in our busy lives to get us all together. What memories we'll make!

Also on the trip will be a dear friend, his cousin (whom I have met before -- he's an hilarious story teller!) and his sister, whom I will be meeting for the first time.

I know one sister's son is coming, and my fingers are crossed that the other's children will be there. My two kids have such a grand time with their cousins! And in this locale? Forget about it! (<-- Please read this with your best New Yorker accent. Thanks :D)

Belize 411 borrowed from Belize on the Wild Side:

Approximately 9,000 square miles, bordered by Mexico to the north, Guatemala to the west and south, and the Caribbean Sea to the east.

The latest census in Belize shows a population of over 300,000 made up of Creole, Garifuna, Mestizo, Maya, and Europeans. Belize in general has very young population with over 50% under 18 years old.

English is the official language and is widely spoken throughout the country. Other languages spoken: Creole, Spanish, Garifuna, Maya, and German.

Belize is a member of the British Commonwealth, with a stable democratic government established along the model of the British Parlimentary system. 

The Belize Dollar has a fixed rate of $2BZ = $1US. 

Belize has the second longest barrier reef in the world (165 miles long). 

And one of the many reefs in the system includes The Lighthouse Reef. It's center is known as The Great Blue Hole. Our friend and host of the trip is an avid and experienced diver. He plans to explore this natural wonder of the world.

The Blue Hole is perfectly round, more than 1,000 feet (305 meters) in diameter and 480 feet (146 meters) deep. It's  the result of repeated collapses over 15,000 years of a limestone cave system that formed as the sea level drop during the last ice age journey. I don't dive, though I want to learn. One day, I too will dive into The Great Blue Hole. This time, I'll simply enjoy the snorkeling experience.

So, that's what I'll be doing from Sunday the 19th to Sunday the 26th. I hope you have a lovely week too, no matter where in the world you'll be. See you back here at the end of the month!


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Holy Head Trauma

Saturday was a busy day full of Christmas shopping and fun, but it ended with a freak accident that landed me in the hospital.

I'd woken at 1am with a headache, so I got up to take a couple Tylenol. In the kitchen as I opened the pill bottle, a wave of nausea hit me like a brick to the head. It happened so fast, and the next thing I remember I was flat on the floor, blinking in the dark and very confused. I sat up in a mess and realized I had, in fact, been sick.

Disoriented, I woke up my husband and told him I was sick. I later learned I didn't mention to him for several hours that I'd passed out. I vomited four more times and was shivering cold. I was concerned that I was so sick, which is unusual for me, but when I realized I was losing blood-tinged fluid from my right ear, my husband and I got scared. He rushed me to the ER.

The ER doctor determined that I'd ruptured my ear drum when I fell on the floor. He ordered a CAT scan to be sure I didn't have any other injuries. I thought it was just a precaution and didn't expect them to find anything. After all, I didn't hurt anywhere; I was just so sick.

Imagine my shock when the CAT scan revealed I'd fractured my skull.

The bone behind my right ear cracked upon impact. Crazy!

I was emitted into the hospital as neurologists and cardiologists worked together to figure out why I passed out in the first place, and to be sure another episode didn't happen. I underwent many tests and learned some stuff about my physical self.

First, I have always suffered from Vasovagal Syncope. According to  Vasovagal syncope (vay-zo-VAY-gul SING-cuh-pee) is the most common cause of fainting. Vasovagal syncope occurs when your body overreacts to triggers, such as the sight of blood or extreme emotional distress. The trigger results in vasovagal syncope — a brief loss of consciousness caused by a sudden drop in your heart rate and blood pressure, which reduces blood flow to your brain.

In the past, I've passed out from having my blood drawn and once, from just hearing the story of a friend whose appendix burst. But Saturday night was the first time I passed out from violent vomiting. I learned that can happen.

I underwent an EKG, which revealed I have Prolonged Q-T interval

My cardiologist wants to be sure my prolonged Q-T intervals don't indicate I have Long QT Syndrome, which is a heart rhythm disorder that can potentially cause fast, chaotic heartbeats. These rapid heartbeats may trigger a sudden fainting spell or seizure. In some cases, your heart may beat erratically for so long that it can cause sudden death. (Source I am scheduled for a stress test after Christmas, which I must pass before I'll be given the okay to resume vigorous exercise, like training for half-marathons. Wow. So thankful all this happened, if I discover something life-threatening in my heart.

Okay, this is getting longer than I anticipated and my head is beginning to pound. Time for some meds and a long nap. Please forgive me for not responding today, should you leave me a comment. I will be back to my old self soon -- within a week, according to my doctors. Just need rest to heal.

Hope your feeling healthy and vital today. Happy Holidays!


Monday, December 5, 2011



I feel like #@!$ today 

Question: Know why?
Answer: Blogger Support 

I have two simultaneous but completely unrelated problems on my blog.

1.  My Google Friends Connect gadget does not update when I get a new follower. It has shown Nick Wilford as my most recent sign-up'er for weeks, (*waves to Nick*), but I have at least a dozen new peeps following who remain un-displayed. 

(BTW, this is the reason I am now using DISQUS commenting system. Please fill in the blanks the next time you leave me a comment! You only have to do it once; DISQUS will remember you. And that way I will have another trail back to your blog, if I've never been there before. Thanks in advance!!)

2.  I have a new blog layout in mind that will include a slider to display artwork for my short fiction and include links to the stories. (If you know me, you know I change this blog rather often-ish. Graphic art is on my top five list of passions.)  Anywhooz, I uploaded into my "practice blog" the HTML coding for the new blog and checked it in the Preview mode. It's going to look beastly!! But when I click Save Template, I get an error message. I've tried in Google Chrome and IE9, I've tried other third party templates, I've tried everything I can think of! Every time I get a different error code that always starts with 'bX-'.

So, I did what any reasonably intelligent blogger does:  I posted two different questions in the Blogger Help Forum, one for each of my issues.  Usually, someone (*waves to Dark UFO*) gets right back to me.

This time, nada. Rien. Absolulte radio silence.


In the meantime while I wait for help, I've tweaked this old blog template.  Looks sleeker, I think. :))

Hey if you've ever encountered any of my problems, won't you tell me about it in the comments? Oh, and I have lots of other problems, if we don't share one listed above. Like, I steal Halloween candy out of my kids' pumpkins. And I hate housework so I keep the place "tidy" until someone says, "Um, Mom/Dear? I went down the hall and walked right into a spider's web. Is  there any still in my hair?" And I cuss. Sort of a lot. (Hey, lots of situations warrant it!)

Hope your week's off to a great start. I'm off to check the Blogger Help Forum...again. Then maybe I'll see if any of the kids has a Snickers left...

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Up For Air

I'm popping my head through the surface of the writing pool to gulp some fresh air and say hello.  I've missed my blogging friends so much!  But the energy coursing through me for my newest writing project is high, high, HIGH and I am loving it.  Here's what I've been up to:

*  I'm deep in the planning stages of "Untitled WiP."  *note to self: Figure out a working title, at least!*

*  The characters have all shown up and are clamoring for my attention.  Some days, the greatest challenge is hushing one character so I can listen to what the other one is screaming at me.  Every new detail sends me in a scribble frenzy, trying to make bullet points of all the new ideas I'll need to expand upon, that have streamed out of that moment of inspiration.

*  One day, I stopped writing to massage my cramped hand when I heard the school bus outside.  My kids were home from school -- and I realized I'd been writing for FIVE hours straight!  That, my friends, has never happened to me before!

*  I've been researching on the Internet:  The first major turning point thrusts main character Piper Crow out of her regular life and jettisons her across the globe to the Central African Republic (CAR).  I lived in that country between 1994 and 1996, but a lot has changed there in the past fifteen years.  Also, the story will deal with characters who entered the CAR in 1960, fifty-one years before Piper was born.  I've needed to refresh my memory about the country's history, which I learned in preparation for my Peace Corps service but have since forgotten the specific details.  I want to weave CAR's historical past, with regard to the political and social climate at the time the country gained its independence from France, into those characters' backstories, as that storyline heavily impacts Piper's present-day life.

*  On the reading front, I'm mid-way through Jessica Bell's String Bridge!  Stunning book, so far!

*  Finally, I stumbled upon a wonderful YouTube series by Martha Alderson called How to Plot a Novel, Memoir or Screenplay.  I watched all 27 Steps and was guided and motivated by Martha's advice.  The series does not promote plotting in a strict sense, but rather provides a wealth of tips to help organize your thoughts and establish the rhythm of energy your book should have for the greatest emotional impact on the reading audience.  I especially liked Martha's down-to-earth, organic vibe in this entirely unscripted series.  If you are interested, here is the first Step.  If you enjoy it, you'll be able to follow the rest of the series from there:

And for anyone who'd like to see more photos from our extraordinary vacation on the Mediterranean Sea between Italy and Malta, I'd like to link my Facebook photo albums.  These links are for public viewership, but if you have any trouble viewing them and we aren't FB friends already, just send me a friend request!

Until next time, happy writing!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Congrats Carolina Valdez Miller!!!

Have you heard the AWESOME news?  The fabulous Carolina Valdez Miller has signed with an agent!!!

It was only a matter of time.  Someone of Carolina's talent, humor, and positive energy is destined for greatness.  And now, the next stretch of her path is bathed in light and she can see where she's headed.  I'm so happy for her!!

Help her celebrate by getting in on this fabulous giveaway. Here's the 411, directly from her blog:

Agent Signing Celebration Mega Giveaway

Winner 1: A 1st page critique from my agent Vickie Motter!

Winner 2:
slate-shasta-main-wifiA Kindle Wireless Reading Device

In order to win this one, you will need to follow all the blogs in the giveaway to qualify.

Winner 3:
escapingintotheopenSigned copy of Escaping into the Open: the Art of Writing True by Elizabeth Berg

Winner 4:
shadeSigned Hardback of Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready

Winner 5:
passingstrangeSigned Hardback of Passing Strange by Daniel Waters



(You will need to subscribe or follow her RSS feed)

One winner will win: 
WRITING DOWN THE BONES, by Natalie Goldberg
HOW NOT TO WRITE A NOVEL, by Howard Mittelmark and Sandra Newman

One winner will win all three:
  • Stephen King's ON WRITING
    • Ray Bradbury's ZEN IN THE ART OF WRITING
  • Anne Lamott's BIRD BY BIRD

(In lieu of a follow, you will need to LIKE her Fan page)
Winner 1: A signed copy of MISFIT MCCABE (or ebook)
Winner 2: A signed copy of NOWHERE FEELS LIKE HOME (or ebook)
 Winner 3: A canvas book bag

One winner takes all 3:
A signed copy of THE DARK DIVINE
A signed copy of RAISED BY WOLVES

A $25 Amazon gift card

A $25 Amazon gift card

A Hardcover of Across the Universe

A Signed copy of PERSONAL DEMONS by Lisa Desrochers

(You will need to subscribe to her blog)

101 Success Secrets for Gifted Kids: The Ultimate Guide
A partial Critique

A $15 Barnes and Noble gift card

Winner 1: DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth

ANGELFIRE by Courtney Allison Moulton
ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS by Stephanie Perkins
HEX HALL by Rachel Hawkins 
DEMONGLASS by Rachel Hawkins

To enter her giveaway, please click here and fill out the form on her blog.

As for me, I'm off on a writer's field trip.  I won't say where I'm going, but I will say it's going to be the most gruesome, fascinating research trip of my writing career.  Wish me luck!  *hopes she doesn't pass out*

I'll share details later.  Until then, have a great day!


Friday, January 14, 2011

Enough, Cold in Hotlanta

Usually, I root for the underdog.  But we've been holed up by winter storm conditions for a week now, so I'm cheering on the sun.  (Sorry, neighborhood snowmen.)

The sun's shining bright over Atlanta as I type, and temperatures are supposed to climb above freezing through the weekend.

I'm ready for a return to normalcy!

Hoping you have a wonderful, warm, productive weekend!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Going Through Some Changes

Anyone who happened by today saw any one of a hundred-ish blog templates I tried out.  Tomorrow is the first anniversary of this blog, so I'm changing it up.  Hopefully, I'll have chosen something...soon.  Bear with me!

Have a happy evening!


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Thanksgiving in December

I was up yesterday morning before the sun rose, before the children woke, while the house was dark and quiet.  I wanted to log onto the Web for just a little while, to view some holiday pictures on friends' sites, work on a guest blog post I'm doing on January 4th (more about that to come), and just enjoy the sound of my fingers tapping the keys.  Imagine my dismay/dread/pout/frustration when my hard drive power button didn't respond to a push.

No dull whirl of unseen, internal components, no blinking green lights, nothing.

I checked the connections.  All good.  I checked the monitor, modem, printer.   Everything seemed to function, except the hard drive.

Basically, I had a comatose machine, in a vegetative state.   A headless, metal corpse.

Braced to hear the worst case scenario, I took the drive to Best Buy.  It felt like Christmas all over again when the Geek told me the power box was blown -- just a $60 part -- which he would replace in-store for $50 more. Three hours later the ordeal was over.

Yesterday revealed an unexpected realization:  I don't want to go back to life without my computer!  Let's face it.  A writer doesn't need more than her hand, a pen or pencil, and a sheet of paper to compose.  And it's more than enjoying the online experience.    Simply put, I have come to rely on my online network of friends and family.

I love reading what you've aspired to, attempted, and accomplished.  I'm inspired by your perceptions.  I feed off your energy.  Yeah, I can pick up a telephone and call some of you.  (And I do!)  But the Internet brings so many more of you right to me, right into my life.

I love it.  And there's just no going back.

So thank you, for every word on your blog, every status update, every tweet.  I don't know what I'd do without you!

And, let's all decide right now to back up our flippin' files -- 'cause if my hard drive can pass away quietly in the night, so can yours!

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Awesome NEWS!!


Have you heard??  Jessica Bell at The Alliterative Allomorph has landed a publishing contract!  Lucky Press LLC is publishing her debut novel, whose working title is Dead in the Corner of my Bedroom.  Way to go, Jess!!!

Click here to congratulate her! --> JESSICA

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Celebrate With Jessica Bell!

Okay, I know I said yesterday my blog posts would be more scarce in November, and here I am posting outside my regular MWF schedule on a Thursday...

(Crazy, right-brained creative -- see why it's so hard for me to focus on schedules??)

This isn't actually a blog post, you see.  It's more of an announcement.

Jessica Bell at The Alliterative Allomorph is nearing the 400 followers milestone, and she wants to celebrate with you!  Just click HERE to visit her blog and see why it's one of the best in all of Blogland.

To enter for a chance to win one of several Amazon gift cards, be a follower and comment on her contest post.  (Commenting here won't enter you in the contest...but I'd love to hear from you :D)  That's it!  Easy-peesy.  And the best part is everyone is a winner, 'cause Jessica's blog is one you'll want to read every day!

Okay, we now return to the regularly scheduled mini-blog hiatus.  And I'm off to close the door and write.

See you on the flip-side!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Kowalski, progress report!


The speculative fiction short I wrote for a contest that I blogged about in Monday's post got me through to the Final Round!

When the contest began on August 30th, there were nineteen competitors.  Based on the entries in each of three rounds, participants were eliminated.  Now, there are just three of us left standing.

Tonight at 10:00 p.m. (EST) the final prompt will be posted.  I'll have two weeks to write my entry.  When the entries are judged, the winner will be announced, as well as second and third place winners.  Wish me luck!

And, for anyone dying to read my story (*snort*), here's the link again:

Happy Hump Day to All!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Joyful, Yet Unplugged

I'm coming off a great weekend and streaking into this Monday with ample amounts of energy and purpose.  If only every Monday felt as vigorous as this one!

We had more rain than sunshine over the weekend, but the kids and I stayed busy with a new project that's got our creative blood pumping.  In addition, I learned I won two blog contests -- an Amazon gift card from Amy Holder and an ARC from Shannon Messenger -- and I've been doing a goofy happy dance since.  Hubs and I cooked together, amazing meals both Saturday and Sunday nights, so I have a food buzz on top of everything.

In short, life is good.

Thank goodness, too, because I have quite a week in front of me.  I'm coordinator of the Student Store at my daughter's school, and this is the last week of planning before we open our doors next week.  Lots to do with that.  And, I'm leaving on Friday for NYC, where my family is reuniting for my baby sister's son's baptism.  He is her first baby, and we are all so excited to celebrate this event with her.  Not only do I have to organize myself for the trip, but I have to help prepare hubs and the kids, who are staying behind but enjoying the weekend at Callaway Gardens, in the Black Mountains of GA.  All this, while I WRITE -- 'cause the muse is back in the house!

All this to say: with all that's going on this week, I'm going to unplug and jump in with both feet.  I have the energy and motivation to make great things happen in the next couple days, and I'm going for it!  I hope you have a great week and reach all your goals, too!!


Enjoy it!!

(Brought to you by an annoyingly bubbly and optimistic blogger, for a Monday anyways...!)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Almost eleven...that's five pm in France...

I can't seem to get back into the swing of non-vacation life.  Is jet lag supposed to last a week??  Hindering my return to day-to-day life is the arrival of our newest family member, Lily-poo.  She's a shy, rescued 10-week old kitten who's needed lots of love as she adjusts to our lively home.  Wait until you see her.  She's a real beauty!  (Pics to come...)

Also, my friend and next door neighbor went into premature labor at 34 weeks, and gave birth by c-section to sweet baby boy.  I'm helping her out, watching her two older girls and anything else I can do, while baby and mama are gaining their strength.

But the real problem is my head and heart are still in France. *sigh*  Here are a couple pics of the Eiffel Tower, taken the night before our flight home.  It was the Sunday of the World Cup Finals between Spain and The Netherlands. (Bravo l'España!!)  

These pics were shot at about 9:30 at night.  It doesn't begin to get dark in France in the summertime until well after 10 pm.  

Each of the four anchor towers house an elevator to this first level, as well as staircases for those brave enough to climb, or too reluctant to stand in the long lines for the lifts.  Other elevators can be taken from this first level to the second observation deck, and a single elevator from there takes you to the very top.  In the early years, the top of the tower was the location of Mr. Gustave Eiffel's personal office.  Today it is a restaurant.

We didn't go up, and the growing crowds of World Cup enthusiasts awaiting the match on the giant screens erected on the lawns around the Tower shortened our stay.

Cody, me, and Sidney, beneath the Eiffel Tower

I've only made it to a couple blogs, but I'm looking forward to visiting yours SOON!!!  Have a fab day!