Category Archives: Uncategorized

Superheroes Have Invaded My Home: Today’s Reality of Heroes

HulksSuperheroes have invaded my home. Between my 7-year-old son with Autism, and my 2-year-old who loves anything his brother loves, the Avengers have overtaken our house as their new stronghold. My son refers to his bed as the Heli-carrier, a staging point for the fierce battles that Iron Man, the Hulk, and Captain America wage over their enemies. Whether it be with the action figures Santa gave him for LegoIronManChristmas, the figurines he’s made out of Legos or Play-doh, or the paper ‘dolls’ he drew and cut out himself, my living room is a perpetual battlefield. Not to mention, a minefield of Legos (try stepping on one of those in the middle of the night!)

My son loves the idea of heroes. The good guys triumphant over bad guys. Because good always wins over evil. He aspires to save the day, both in his Xbox game and in the world around him. His imagination is vivid, all-encompassing, and beautiful. He wants to be liked, and loved for good deeds.

IronManHelmentThis daily immersion in the likes of superheroes got me thinking about the heroes in romance novels. Do the heroes in these novels want to be liked, and loved for their good deeds as well? Or are they the kind of men who merely want to live their own lives, but they’ve been thrust into a challenge they can’t avoid, and must do what they can?

At what point do little boys stop wanting to be heroes? Or does that desire fade at all? Deep down, do all men want to be that kind of superhero? Do they secretly put on their Batman capes when no one is

watching? Or listen to the Superman theme song as they drive to work. (Yes I know, I’ve mixed up Marvel heroes with DC Comics, but you get my point).

Much like William Shakespeare’s quote:

Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.

Much of the historical heroes I’ve read are those who were ‘born great,’ Lords of their family lands and leaders of armies. A few have ‘achieved greatness’ by overcoming their humble beginnings and growing into legendary soldiers. A lot perf5.000x8.000.inddof the contemporary stories I’ve read have been about those that have ‘greatness thrust upon them.’ At least, that’s what the hero in my latest novel, Jewel of Solana was like. Flynn didn’t strive for greatness, or to be the hero. But when chaos crossed his path in the form of Princess Alanna running from evil, he did what he could to find his way back to a normal life, only to realize that life no longer existed. The damsel in distress needed help, and he accepted the challenge of being the hero to save her.

Of course, reality is never that simple, or straightforward.

HulkHeroes lose all the time. Damsels save themselves, more often than are saved by others. Little boys grow out of their capes and Iron Man costumes. It’s a sad reality. But I still think there are plenty of heroes out there, in their own small gestures. The good samaritans, the nurses, the teachers…the mothers and fathers who work tirelessly to raise the next generation of heroes.

But for now, I’ll continue to watch my boys playing the superheroes our world lacks. I like the idea of super strength, and a laser beam from my palm.:)

What kind of heroes do you like reading most? The born heroes, the ones who seek greatness,  or those that have greatness thrust upon them?

 

*This post originally appeared on Smart Girls Read Romance on 6/10/16

Holiday Gift Guide for the Writers You Know

Writers tend to be like black sheep. Everyone knows a writer: in the family, a GiftBulbsfriend, a quirky coworker…we’re everywhere. With the holidays around the corner, here’s a simple guide of various gifts that writers would greatly appreciate, including a few items to avoid.:)

~Reviews! – Top of the list, are reviews on their novels on whatever medium you use. Amazon, GoodReads, B&N Nook. If you loved a novel, write a review and let others know! Can’t tell you how much this one is appreciated, more than any other ‘gift!’

~Printer paper – Reams of it. Because most writers go through them like water. Or wine. Or chocolate.

~Ink – See paper.

~Coffee, or Starbucks gift cards – Most writers could probably use this best in anCoffeeInject IV, but unless you’re a doctor and can write a prescription for the needles, best stick with the gift cards or beans.

~Pens – Something cool, unique, different.

~Coffee mugs – Just like pens. Be unique (and something that is dishwasher safe!)

~Books – Duh! Bonus points for knowing their favorite genre. But s safe bet would be a gift card to their favorite bookstore.

~Comfy Clothes – Bonus points for writing related shirts/sweaters, such as “I’m WriterShirtthe PsycHOTic Writer Everyone Warned You About,” or “Grammar Snob,” or “Don’t Piss Me Off, Or I’ll Kill You In My Novel.”

~Subscription to Writer’s Digest or Writer’s Journal – precious jewels in the mailbox, that many budget-conscious writers are forced to consider luxuries.

~Massage or Spa Day gift card – This forces us out of the house to relax our writing muscles.

Don’t Bother With These:

X Thesaurus – Every writer already has one, and every good writer knows not to use it.

X Digital Voice Recorder – Every phone has something already on it that works. My phone came with 3 different apps.

X Journals – Unless specifically requested, stay away from these! Every writer has a billion of these shoved somewhere in drawers. Plus, it’s a cliché. Writers are supposed to hate clichés.

Hopefully, this list gives you some ideas and starts you off in the right direction. Have a fantastic holiday! And Merry Christmas!

*This post originally appeared on Smart Girls Read Romance blog on 12/10/15.

Tuesday Treats: Fall Recipes!

FrozenLimeDessertCome check out the Tuesday Treat recipes on Smart Girls Read Romance blog! TurkeyPerfect timing for Thanksgiving and fall weather!

 

Click here for deliciousness that will make you drool!

Favorite Fall Treat – Buckeyes!

I used to live in Ohio in elementary school, and my mother would always make Buckeyes around Halloween (chocolate covered peanut butter rolls). I’d help roll the dough/batter into little balls and dunk them in the chocolate. My favorite October/November treat! Almost better than Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, but with extra love.

Here’s the recipe (enjoy!):Buckeyes

Ingredients (makes 30 buckeyes):

1 1/2 cups peanut butter (I use Jiff), 1 cup softened butter, 6 cups confectioner’s sugar, 4 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I like milk chocolate), 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, wax paper roll, 30 toothpicks (minimum)

Prep: 15 minutes, Bake: 5min, Ready in 50min

In a large bowl, mix together the peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and sugar. The dough will look dry. Roll into 1in balls and place on wax paper-lined cookie sheet. Press a toothpick into the middle of each ball (to be used later for dipping), and chill in the freezer until firm (about 30min). Melt chocolate chips in double boiler or in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir chocolate frequently until smooth (do not leave unattended). Dip cold peanut butter balls in chocolate holding onto the toothpick. Leave a small portion of the peanut butter showing at the top to make them look like buckeyes. Put back on the cookie sheet and refrigerate until serving.

September 11th Memorial- 14 Years Later, I Still Remember

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 6.32.37 PM“Though the road has bends and turns, and my spirit suffers,

Humans fail, systems fail, shadows fall.

But the ruts run deep, cut by the blood of faces above,

And voices now silent…

But the message loud is heard: “Homeland, homeland.

Renew your youth, restore your soul!”

Homeland, the country that I love, hold out your arms to me.

I strive for you, and give to you the best I hope to be.Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 6.29.32 PM

May your wisdom be your armour, your compassion be your sword;

May your strength be forged with mercy, your courage lives restore.

Homeland, the country that I love, forever reign supreme;

And when time stands still, my homeland, may heaven hold your dream.”

– Z. Randall Stroope, Homeland

On 9/11, I was in my first semester of college. I was a member of the Women’s Choir at ASU. Right before Thanksgiving break, our concert included this song, in memory of the terrorist attack that day, and all the lives lost. Someone presented a slideshow over our heads as we sang these words. A slideshow of the memories of that day. The audience was crying through the whole song. I didn’t make it through the second chorus without plenty of tears. Every time I hear this song, even today, I tear up.

I will always remember. After everything, I still give to you everything I hope to be.

God Bless America

Happy Birthday, to my Hubby

Today, my hubby has reached a major milestone: the top of a hill most archeologists would date back to 25 years ago. But to me, it’s not a hill: it’s a pedestal.BryanSusieFormal

Happy birthday, B. The “butter to my bread, the breath to my life.” My partner in crime. Thank you for you: for saving me from vicious spiders, for eating my terrible cooking with a smile, for lending me your patience when I’ve none left, for being the most awesome father to our two boys, and keeping laughter alive in our house.Pinata

April 2nd is Autism Awareness Day – Light It Up Blue

Wear Blue today, to support those living with Autism. Now 1 in 68 kids. Mine included.

Light It Up BlueAutismLIUB

CadenCollageMy name is Caden.
I am 6 and I have Autism.
I love to play trains, build tracks, and go swimming.
My favorite super hero is Mr. Incredible. I like to draw the robot with 3 arms.
I like to play video games like Mario Kart and Mario Galaxy. I am a whiz on the iPad.
Thunder and other loud noises scare me. Large crowds used to scare me, too, but I went to the circus this year and loved it.
My best subjects are math and science, and I just learned to write my name this year.
I have a stuffed animal Bowser that goes everywhere with me. And every Christmas, my family takes me to ride the Polar Express.
Sometimes there’s too much going on in a room, and I can’t concentrate. Many times I can’t hear what someone is saying, even if they’re right in front of me. Eye contact is hard for me, too, but I’m working on it every day.
Sometimes I stutter, because the words go through my brain faster than my mouth. I have a very good memory, and can repeat entire Thomas the Train episodes or movie lines having only seen it once.
When friends don’t let me play with them, I get very sad. It hurts my feelings. Sometimes I can’t control my emotions and the only way to let it out is to hit myself. I get embarrassed. It helps when my friends ignore when I do that, and continue to play with me anyway.
I love my litter brother, and I’m very good at making him laugh.
I am silly, I am smart, and I am loving.
My name is Caden, and I have Autism.
Light It Up Blue ‪#‎LIUB‬ ‪#‎AutismAwareness‬

Upcoming Book Signings, Galore!

So many awesome book signings coming up, in case you didn’t know.

The biggest one is at the RT Book Convention at the Hyatt Regency in Dallas, rtdallasTX on Saturday, May 16th, 2015. I’ll be signing both Audrey’s Promise Prince of Solana in the largest reader convention showcase ever! I’d love to see you! Click here for details!

If you can’t wait that long, I have 2 others at local libraries. The first is:

Haltom City Library’s ‘A Night of Romance’ on Friday, Feb 13th 6:30-Chocolate_Candies_Cupcakes8:30pm

A whole bunch of local romance authors will be selling and signing books, while mingling with readers, and even possibly reading a few excerpts. I’ll be signing Audrey’s Promise. Click here for details!

 

Keller Library Author Showcase on Saturday, March 21st 12noon – 2:30pm

More details coming soon, but a whole bunch of local authors from various genres will be selling & signing books, myself included! Specifically both Audrey’s Promise Prince of Solana. The Keller library is off Johnson Rd in Keller, TX. Would love to see you if you’re in the area!

Channeling My Inner Olaf

First, a thousand apologies for my silence over the last month. Crazy busy, throw in a holiday or two, the flu ravaging through my household, and prepping for a move, I haven’t even had spare time to respond to texts or waste on Facebook much either. Let alone invest in my writing.

Sadly, I did not meet my goal of finishing Jewel of Solana by the end of 2014. I’m 10,000 words short.😦

Yep, I’m in the creative doghouse. But strangely enough, that’s not what I’m here to discuss.

I’m here to talk about Winter. She’s cold. Bitter. Relentless. Whipping. At least, from a southerner’s perspective. I know we Texans haven’t received anywhere close to the brunt of the recent cold snaps smothering the country, but it’s way colder than what we’re used to. And for a person who was born in the tropics, it’s doubly brutal.

It doesn’t help that we’re in the middle of prepping our house to put it on the market in just a few short weeks. We have to fix the ‘curb appeal,’ and sub-freezing temperatures makes the outdoor task quite unappealing. Yes, I’m whining about the cold. Full disclosure, I’m a baby when it comes to winter. I love snow, the pretty wonderlands described in carols, the hot chocolate and warm fires. The images you see in Christmas cards and the December/January months of calendars you hang on the wall. All for it. But when it comes with nasty wind chills and ice/sleet/freezing rain, I’d rather curl up in a ball and cry.

When will it be spring? I’m channeling my inner Olaf from Frozen. Imagine how much cooler I’ll be in summer.OlafSummerBottom line, I’m doing all this because it’s a huge dream for my family. One we’ve been waiting to fulfill for several years. And no matter what time of year it is or the weather, it’s worth it.

Another of my favorite Olaf quotes:

OlafMelting

 

Death to Spike :)

Good news: the Lithotripsy procedure today was a success. The better news,

Happy Pills

Happy Pills

Hydrocodone is still my best friend.

Spike Demon Stone has been obliterated (we think).

The procedure wasn’t even 45 minutes, and they blasted little Spike Demon Stone to smithereens. I woke up very sore on the left side, obviously. Since they basically used my kidney as a punching bag for this nifty sound wave contraption. I’m grateful I decided to have this procedure, because according to the surgeon, Spike hadn’t moved very far at all. In an entire month, he was still in same spot.

Stubborn little sucker.

After I was released, we came home, I had some food, and indulged in my new best friend.

More importantly, the meds kicked in about 10 minutes ago and I feel fabulous. Hopefully I’ll pass the remnants of Spike over the next 24 hours and all will be back to normal.

Just thought all of you wanted an update on my saga. Happy Dance time!