Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!!

Halloween Theme

At this time of year, the internet is inundated with Halloween trivia, tips for safe trick or treating, costume ideas, and spooky stories. Halloween is my favorite holiday. Yup, I like it even better than Christmas.

There are no presents to buy, no holiday dinner to stress over, and no to-do lists. Sure, you HAVE to buy candy for the trick or treaters, but I don't consider it a chore. In fact, I look forward to buying huge bags of my favorites, anticipating a large amount left over. :)

Halloween Candy

For me, Halloween is all about FUN! It's caramel apples and costume parties and crunchy leaves and lots of orange and creepy decorations. Halloween is the one holiday that 'too much' is never too much.

Halloween Autumn Theme

And the costumes! I love the costumes. I can be a butterfly and skip around, fluttering my pretty wings.

I can be a witch with green skin and a large ugly wart on my nose, cackling at the moon (and scaring the crap out of my cat.)

Deluxe Wicked Witch - Adult Costume

I can be a fortune teller in a long skirt and a peasant blouse, and gaze into my crystal ball while I tell your future in broken English, read your palm and consult my  tarot cards.
Divination Cards

 I can even be a pirate wench and imagine sailing the open seas with Captain Jack Sparrow aboard the Black Pearl in thigh-high boots and fishnet stockings.

Oh, wait...I do that all year.

Anyway, Halloween is MAGIC! What other time of year can you use your imagination and be whatever you want to be? (without people looking at you like you're crazy.)

What or who will you be today?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

This Is Me Thursday--Looking Way Back

This is the 12th week of "This Is Me Thursday." This is also the last week. Not only have I gotten tired of talking about myself, I also don't want to bore all of you anymore. Don't worry, I'll think of something else to do a weekly post about.

The year is almost over. I know I'm rushing it a bit, but it's already the end of October and there are only 9 more weeks of 2011. I started thinking about how the older I get, the quicker time flies. I mean, just yesterday I graduated from high school! OK, maybe not yesterday. It's been more like 31 years since I left the hallowed halls of Bayonne High School.

(Big school, huh?)

I think back on how even though I didn't know what I wanted to be, I felt so ready to take on the world. Boy, was I naive. After three decades of scrambling around, I finally found my passion. Better late than never, I say, but I can't help thinking that I wish I knew a little bit of what I know now, back then.

Do I want to go back in time? Absolutely NOT! I was shy and lazy and so unsure of myself. Plus, I couldn't possibly live through Earth Science one more time. But if it should happen that I somehow got caught in a swirling vortex that took me back to high school, there are a few things I would have done differently.

I would have...

1. been a much better student.

2. gotten involved. In something. Anything other than just hanging out with my friends.

3. not started smoking.

4. not wasted two years with that guy who swayed me from what I had wanted to do. Long story. Sad ending.

5. made a conscious effort to keep in touch with friends after graduation.

6. put more serious thought into my teacher's suggestion of going for an Art Degree.

7. taken a mechanical drawing class.

8. been more outgoing.

9. read those books I didn't think I would like, instead of getting the Cliff Notes.

10. written down all those poems and stories that rattled around in my brain.

What about you? Would you go back and do it all over again?

Monday, October 24, 2011


(I took this picture on my way to work one morning.)

I've never suffered from writer's block. I have a box full of story ideas, character profiles, scenes, and picture prompts. Not to mention the ideas still rattling around in my head.

My problem is--after a long day of work, I come home to dirty laundry, dust, a full litterbox, and a stack of mail. Besides all that, three of my favorite TV shows, House, Survivor,and Fringe, are recorded and beckon me to watch them. Thank God, Hell's Kitchen ended last month!

Carving out some writing time is a daily struggle. I wake up with the best intentions and plan my evening to allow for two hours of writing, but things come up, or a household task proves to be more involved, taking up more time than the hour I've alotted for it.

I find that unless I write every day, whether it's a blog post, a poem, a chapter in my WIP, or even a story idea, I lose my momentum. One night or one morning without writing can send me into a tailspin of inactivity. One day turns into two days, and so on. Although story ideas continue to pop into my head, I've gone weeks without writing anything down on paper. I cringe when I think of all the ideas I've forgotten because I was too busy to write them down.

So, how do I get back on track? What do I do to drag myself away from the Facebook ticker and the Twitter timeline?

I read writer's blogs. Not the, "How-to" type of blogs where there is heaps of info about how to make your characters stand out or how to fine-tune your plot. Those sites come in handy when I need help with my projects, but when I'm not working on anything, it all sounds like, 'blah, blah, blah.'

I'm talking about the writer's blogs with posts about their own struggles to fit writing time into their schedules along with hobbies, day jobs, families, illnesses, and other crises. Reading blogs such as:


Courtney's Blog  (Just to name a few...)

usually does wonders to push me out of that "writing funk" I so easily slip into. These are real people with real lives and struggles and still they manage to find time to write and (the ultimate writer's goal) get published. Reading about their accomplishments through all the hardships of daily life is like a swift kick in the butt, for me. A shot of motivation to get to work on my own dreams and goals.

With all the talk about blog fatigue and how bloggers and readers are losing interest, I can only hope that my favorite bloggers continue to post about their lives and their accomplishments. Not only do I find their posts interesting, I also find them inspiring.

What inspires you?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

This Is Me Thursday--I Wish

  • There were two more hours in the evening and just one more day in the weekend that I could devote to writing. But then, the weeks would drag.
  • My washer and dryer were upstairs. I wouldn't have to intrude on my son and his girlfriend when I want to do laundry. But then, I'd have nothing to bitch about.
  • We had sold our home before the real estate market plummeted. We could have been semi-retired and living down South, with money in the bank. But then, I'd miss the rest of my family.
  • I had gone to college when I was younger. But back then, I didn't know what I wanted to be.
  • I wasn't so tired all the time. No 'buts' about it.
  • I could win multi-millions in the lottery. But then, I'd have bigger worries and numerous false friends.
  • All my wishes could come true. But then, I'd have nothing to dream about.
Never mind...

Monday, October 17, 2011

"Island of Lost Girls" by Jennifer McMahon (Book Thoughts)

When Rhonda Farr watched six-year-old Ernestine Florucci climb out of her mother's car and follow the six-foot rabbit into the gold VW Beetle, she didn't realize a crime was being committed.

Feeling guilt over her inaction, Rhonda helps in the search for little Ernie's kidnapper. Like Alice in Wonderland, she follows the rabbit down the hole and brings back memories of a rabbit from her own childhood.

Every step brings Rhonda closer to the truth about disappearance of her best friend, Lizzy, years before, and along with some dirty secrets, she learns that people aren't always who they appear to be.

Although the subject matter is grim, Jennifer McMahon's writing is colorful, compelling, and sometimes very funny. The following excerpt is six-year-old Suzy's point-of-view of a mouse family she finds in a rusty old car, she believes to be a submarine.

...This was not just any mouse. This was the secret-underwater-periscope up-first officer-mama mouse who was friends with the octopus, who told her how to outwit the sharks, who had pushed seven wormy babies out from inside her...
"Island of Lost Girls" is a fast-paced and suspenseful mystery, switching back and forth between Rhonda's childhood and the present. The story twists and turns and keeps you on the edge of your seat. I read it in two evenings and honestly, I can't wait to pick up her debut novel, "Promise Not to Tell." She also has 3 other novels. Maybe you'd enjoy one of her novels, also.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

This Is Me Thursday--I Love


  • To laugh. That stomach-tightening, nose snorting, tear-streaming kind of laughter.

  • The smell of babies. So fresh and new and powdered.
  • The sound of wind chimes. I especially like the wooden ones.

  • My family. Every crazy, dysfunctional one of them. Even the ones I refuse to speak to anymore.

  • Shoes. Funky flats, sexy stilettos, strappy sandals, boots, sneakers, flip flops, I love them all! Except crocs. Ewww.
  • The feeling of sand on my bare feet. I like to sit on the beach and burrow my feet as if digging to China. I know. I'm weird.
  • Magazines. I like Entertainment Weekly, Time, Real Simple, and Cosmopolitan. But I LOVE O Magazine and Good Housekeeping. I like how there's a little bit of everything in those two magazines and they're nice and thick, so I feel like I'm getting my money's worth.
  • Finding a new author to love. Diana Gabaldon is my latest favorite. I just want to lose myself in her books.
  • Coffee. I drink it night and day. Not too strong, not too weak. No flavors necessary, unless I'm drinking one as a dessert, and then I want whipped cream and caramel on top. Usually, it's just with creamer or 1/2 and 1/2. Mmmm.

  • My semi-new kitchen. No, I'm still not done with the finishing touches but you just can't always find the perfect wall clock. Don't worry, the pictures are coming soon.
  • The color RED. It's bold. It's hot. It's flashy. It's the way I feel inside but opposite of the 'me' you see.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Fun Facts--A Century of Books

Did you know The oldest known writings were Sumerian and were written around 2600 B.C? Did you know The Gutenberg Bible was the first book printed using moveable metal type in 1455? Did you know that in 2010, there were 288,355 books published in the United States? Can you even imagine the number of books printed during those 555 years? That's a whole lotta books!

So, I decided to do some light research and look back through the last 1000 years at some of the most popular authors and books of each century. Some were obvious, but others I've never even heard of before so I would like to share my newfound knowledge with all of you.

12 Century:
Chretien de Troyes, a French poet, was termed as "the inventor of the modern novel." He was the first writer to mention Queen Guinevere and Lancelot.

13th Century:
Bonaventure, an Italian theologian and philosopher, wrote "The Life of St. Francis of Assisi." "The Travels of Marco Polo," A travelogue of stories told by Marco Polo and written by Rustichello da Pisa, was also popular.

14th Century:
Dante Alighieri wrote "The Divine Comedy" between 1308 and 1321. The epic poem is seen as one of the greatest works of world literature.

15th Century:
Sir Thomas Malory wrote eight romances about King Arthur under the title, "Le Morte d'Arthur." There were at least six Thomas Malorys alive when it was published in 1485. The true identity of the writer is not known.

16th Century:
In the mid 1590s, William Shakespeare wrote "Love's Labour's Lost"--the first of many plays.

17th Century:
Aphra Behn was the first woman to make a living with her writing. Her works were considered highly improper and in bad taste. Before writing numerous plays, poems, and novels, she was a spy for Charles II! I'd like to read more about this lady.

18th Century:
Beloved Jane Austen finished the first draft of "Pride and Prejudice" in 1797 and went on to complete six novels.

19th Century:
Queen Victoria ruled Britain and the Industrial Revolution spawned social reform. Victor Hugo, ("The Hunchback of Notre Dame") Mark Twain, ("The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn") and Charles Dickens (A Tale of Two Cities) are the most popular authors of this time.

20th Century:
Ernest Hemingway was one of the greatest novelists of this century. He wrote "The Sun Also Rises" in 1926.

21st Century:
We're all familiar with some of the most popular authors of the past eleven years. JK Rowling, Jonathan Franzen, and Philip Roth are just a few of many authors that come to mind but the bestselling author, so far, started his career in 1976 and in 2000 began revealing several titles every year. He also happens to be one of my many favorites. James Patterson.

Well, there you have it. Did you learn something new? I know I did.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

This Is Me Thursday--I Miss

I Miss...

  • The big family holidays we had when I was young. After death, misunderstandings, and relocations, our family has gotten so small.
  • Looney Tunes. Bugs Bunny was my Saturday morning mentor for classical music, and how to be a smart-ass.
  • Hearing my daughter play her instruments. She played flute, fife, tenor saxophone, trumpet, euphonium, and marching trombone. She's been so busy with the military and college, she doesn't play any of them.
  • Doing crafts. What started as a hobby turned into a part-time business with my husband's niece. Eventually, life got in the way and we stopped.
  • Being a stay-at-home wife and mother. I just don't have the time to keep the house clean, make home-cooked meals, breads, and desserts like I used to.

  • Getting a weekly paycheck. Having your own business means doing without sometimes.

  • Family vacations down the shore (before Snooki and her friends got their manicured claws into it) and up at the lake. I always thought the process was stressful but the week of relaxation was worth it.

  • When my daughter was a little girl and seeing the wonders of life through her eyes.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Spreading The News--PUBSLUSH Press

Do you have a finished novel? Not sure where to submit it?

Well, here's a publisher I just learned about that I'd like to share with you.

PUBSLUSH Press is a youthful, innovative publishing platform for aspiring authors that connects writers directly with their readers through social media.
Sign up, submit ten pages and a summary of your book. Then, Slushers, (and you) browse the submissions based on preferences.
If you like the overview, you click through to read a more detailed description. If you are still interested, you read an excerpt. And if you're dying to read more, you support it. By supporting a book, you are pre-ordering it but you don't get charged unless the book is published. For every book PUBSLUSH sells, they're donating a book to a child in need.

Your novel can be one of three lengths in eighteen different genres, including non-fiction and poetry.

Why not check it out and let me know your thoughts on this?