Category Archives: Uncategorized

Taking Stock of 2013

champagneAnother round of New Year’s resolutions and goals. This normally includes taking stock of the previous year.

This past year, I had 1 primary goal: Go with the Flow. It was the first year I didn’t have a list of concrete, measurable and trackable goals.

Considering the circumstances, I think I did pretty well. It was a very challenging year (we knew it would be), with good days and bad days. But my personal goal was to go with the flow when the really trying moments came up.

And then a whole bunch of things happened:

*I sold my first novel, after years of rejection and shredded manuscripts.

*I became pregnant, after several years of no success.

*My 5-year-old would finally have a conversation with me about his day.

There were a million other little victories that happened this year too, mostly centered around my son. I learned more about the world of ASD, and met some truly talented and wonderful people. I learned even more about the madness of insurance, claims, appeals, and benefits depts. I learned how hard parents have to fight to get their children the services they really need, not just from insurance companies. From people who are ‘supposed’ to work in the best interests of the child.

More importantly, I learned how strong my son is. How strong my husband is. I already knew he was an incredible man (that’s why I married him!). But I have a much more thorough appreciation for his hard work, dedication and perseverance after going through something like this. Just proves to me more I really did pick the one man who broke the mold.

There’s one very big lesson I learned this year, on top of all the above. I learned how to ask for help. In certain situations, outright demand it and not take ‘no’ for an answer.

This feeds in really well to my writing. I finished another manuscript and am halfway through it’s sequel. I’m able to shrug off rejections easier, and at the same time identify the difference between criticisms that are nuggets of gold, versus lumps of coal.

2013 was a year full of lessons, and some incredibly wonderful surprises! Undoubtedly great successes. I think my plan of non-measurable goals worked out well. Thinking of going the same route for 2014. But I’ll save that for tomorrow.

My grand plans for a farewell to 2013 includes spending a quiet evening with my family, and probably falling asleep before the ball drops (I have a valid excuse: preggo!)

Happy New Year, everyone!new-year-2014

 

Merry Christmas! Straight No Chaser 12 Days of Christmas

Here’s some Christmas fun from Straight No Chaser, one of my favorite Acapella groups. Click on the link above to go to the YouTube video.

XMasLighthouse

Once again, no matter what religion you practice or if none at all, I wish you a wonderful holiday season and great New Year’s. I appreciate the message of peace in any religion, whether it be Christmas, Hannakuh, Kwanza, Buddi, or atheism. Stay true to your religion: there’s nothing wrong with sharing it.

Since I’m Christian, I wish you a Merry Christmas.

 

Time for Christmas Music!!!

It’s that time of year again, where I blast Christmas carols and Holiday music on my computer and radio!

My favorite carol of all time is “Still Still Still,” especially from Manheim ManheimSteamrollerSteamroller. I also really love the German verse. Pretty much anything Holiday related from Manheim Steamroller is worth buying the entire album.

The highest grossing (and sadly overplayed) song of the holidays is Mariah Carey’sAll I Want for Christmas is You.” But let’s face it. It’s a good song, upbeat, and really gets people happy and in the mood for Christmas shopping (whether from the coziness of your couch/online or battling the crowds at malls).

98DegreesChristmasAbout eight or nine years ago, I bought the Christmas Album from 98 degrees (back when they really were the best of all Boy Bands), and I’ll still listen to that thing on a loop in my car. Specifically, “If Every Day Could Be Christmas,” and “The Gift.”

Another awesome one is “Carol of the Bells.” And when put together with a light show like this, how can you possibly not be entertained?

A billion more songs come to mind, but I’d love to hear from you. What’s your favorite carol of the season? How early in the year do you start playing them?

Great Opportunity to Read Free Books!

I know a lot of avid readers out there (myself included) that would hurdle over a semi-truck for this chance to read a bunch of great books like this! BookLove

North Texas RWA is holding a new contest for published books, called the Carolyn Reader’s Choice Awards. Judges will read various Advanced Reader Copies of novels (for free!!!) from up to 9 categories, and score them based on certain criteria.

Here’s the sweet part: they need judges! Anyone salivating yet?

The judges are avid readers who are not members of any professional writing organization or associated with the publishing industry in any way. That means no authors, no editors, no agents, etc… Just people who love to read romance novels! Since these are romances (varying heat levels), they require all judges to be at least 18 years old.

There’s an online application if you’d like to become a judge. You can fill out your preferences for which categories you’d like to read, which heat levels you’re comfortable with, as well as which length novels you’d prefer. Talk about best of all worlds!

Here’s the kicker: there’s a time frame you MUST stick to. You can choose which round you’d like to enter, the first or the final. First round is through March 14th, 2014. You’ll need to read at least the first 30 pgs of up to 6 novels. The final round begins March 31st, and ends May 14th, which means you’ll need to read up to 3 full stories in that timeframe. But that’s not as intimidating as it sounds. With awesome books like these, you should fly through them like a G6 plane!

For more information on the contest, click here

To apply to judge the Carolyn Reader’s Choice Award, click here

2013 NTRWA Logo Full Color

If you’d like to see more about North Texas Romance Writers of America, click here. They’re a local writer’s group full of experience, resources, and fun!

Hope you enjoy!

I Love Cupcakes

cupcake-birthday

Should be a good day. :)

We Always Remember

We Always Remember, We Always Honor, We Always Strive for a Better World

9/11/01 Twelfth Anniversary

Twin Towers, Pentagon, Flight 93 Victims & First Responders

Go With the Flow

Normally my new year’s resolutions include very concrete goals. Measurable, cut-and-dry with no gray areas. Goals like ‘blog twice a week’ or ‘1000 calories per day, max.’

I’ve been that way most of my life. Planned, organized, driven and directed. I owe a lot of that to my parents, my discipline with diving, and of course my husband.

But I’m changing things up this year.

Because I have to.

Now, for the entire year, I have 1 goal:gowiththeflow

Go with the flow.

And mind the rocks.

Wrapped up in this 1 goal are a trillion little things to help achieve this. Not sweating the small things, don’t fight the rapids, take one day at a time, keep smiling… all those clichéd statements.

My mantra: I am not in control, and that’s ok.

Do what I think is right and see what happens. That’s all I can do.

Because when I think about, I already have everything I need. The things that make me a better person are already in my life. Why change that?

2012: Roller Coasters and a Sweet Tooth

2012 was another roller coaster year for us. Great highs, a few tumbles, several rollerviewwhirl spins and whip lashes, and in the end we’re still here (sorry, Mayan apocalyptic enthusiasts). And just like fresh off a roller coaster, I’m breathless, excited, nervous and full of anticipation for another round.

I’m certain next year will bring some struggles for us, and we’re ready for them. But at the same time, I’m grateful for every minute I have.

I learned a lot this past year. About myself, as a mother, a writer, a friend- what I’m made of, things I can take, and areas I’m not as strong as I thought I was. And, incredibly, areas in which I’m stronger than I gave myself credit for. I may kick, scream, cry, beat myself to a pulp, but in uncertain situations in which I have no qualifications or control, by God I can adapt.

I have an amazing family and forgiving friends who put up with me during those moments. Who build me up when I need it and have a drink with me when I celebrate.

I know now is when most people create goals for the next year, and in previous years that’s exactly what I did. But right now I look back on 2012 and shake my head in amazement.

I cry for the losses of loved ones (still), I rejoice in magnanimous moments of others, and I marvel at the capabilities of the human spirit. How resilient my son is and no matter how difficult something is or how sick he feels, he’s still such a happy kid who loves with his whole heart without reservations. And how much better a person I am because of him. Because of my family.

toastSo instead of a toast to 2013 and what is to come, I raise a glass to 2012. You threw a hefty test as us, and we’re still here. I’m still trudging forward with writing, with the plans our family made, and handling the curveballs you whizzed at us. With the sours, there were plenty of sweets. And I have one hell of a sweet tooth.

 

Football Frenzy

All right, people. I don’t go off topic too often. And I don’t normally get this frenzied over football. But we’re having a bunch of people over later today for 3 football games on 2 television sets.

My husband is an Irish fanatic, and of course has been ecstatic that Notre Dame has done so well this season. Pins and needles for their last regular season game against USC. So I’ve chosen to share in his treasured past time (even though I’m an Arizona State grad. Personally I’m happy whenever USC loses).

Whoever you’re rooting for across all the college games today, I hope you enjoy it. Because this is where all the fun stuff starts!

Happy College Football Day!

 

Election Day… GO VOTE

Happy Election Day! Thank God that first, you have the right to vote. But secondly, those incredibly annoying and enraging political ads will finally be over.

Whether you’re Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Independent, or no affiliation at all, if you’re eligible to vote, GO VOTE.

Don’t make excuses. MAKE THE TIME. If you don’t know who to vote for, go to the polls anyway and let your gut decide when you step up to the ballot.

If you don’t vote, not only do you not have the right to complain over the next four years, but you’ve also insulted the millions of people around the world who are fighting for the right to vote, and for those who have died to defend your right to choose.

If you’ve already voted (whoever invented early voting, I thank them wholeheartedly), good for you!

If you haven’t yet, GO VOTE!