Thursday, May 30, 2013

My First Fun Facts Friday!

TGIF. I am so glad it's here. This has been a massively long week for me. Longer hours at work (Yay overtime?), on top of a couple other commitments including a baby shower tomorrow, for which I need to purchase a cake tomorrow morning. I'm actually pretty excited about the baby shower. It's at LaMesa, and there's a cocktail in my future.

So, to follow in the great footsteps of other bloggers before me, Here is my very First Fun Facts Friday. This will be facts about me, my opinions, the goings-on of my life, and maybe even the goings on with my animals.

1. First and foremost, my garden is Thriving in all the rain we've been getting in Iowa/Nebraska these last two weeks. I've harvested 6.3 ounces of kale (kale loves cold wet weather) and 2.7 ounces of butter lettuce (which love wet sunny weather). I'm going to post pictures of it really soon just to show how big the entire thing has gotten. I even think my strawberries have come back from the dead!

2. I keep looking for freelance work, but I'm having trouble with finding work I can do/understand. A technical writer I am not, but I think if I need to become one, I will. I keep reading all these books on working from home, and I know what to do, and I know I have the drive. Why can't I do it?

3. I'm reading this book, October Baby by Eric Wilson, because I saw it was a movie on Netflix. I'm still working on the book, but I had to watch the movie. The movie was sooooo good! It's about the teenage survivor of an abortion. Because her mother attempted to abort her at 24 weeks, she was born early, and has numerous health problems, but she never knew she was a survivor. It's a great story, and the movie is extremely touching. I'm so glad Christian movies are getting better. They used to be so lame! Another good one is Fireproof with Kirk Cameron.

4. I keep trying to convince my mom to let me adopt a dog. So far, she's not biting. She's not a dog person, which I respect, but we had a dog once, Rosie, who mom loved (she denies it, but Rosie was a sweetie pie). There is a German Shepherd from Bosnia who lost a foot and was brought to America to find a loving home. Her name is Isabella. She's a special needs dog, but I want her. Or I want her to have a loving dog. Look at this face and tell me she can't find a home.

For More information on adopting Isabella:

5. I might be getting a new computer this weekend. I got three paychecks in May (well, as of Midnight tonight, I get my third), and my dad is so sold on the Acer 17 inch laptop he got from a local Pawn Shop for $274.99 that I'm going to try my hand at finding one. Wish me luck!

6. We watched We Bought a Zoo last night. Cameron Crowe is hit or miss with me (I stll haven't seen Elizabethtown all the way through, but Say Anything is beautiful), and this one is definitely one of my favorites. So good! I love zoos. My sister and I are getting a pass to Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo hopefully this weekend. Omaha has the best zoo in the world. I don't care what other people think. HD is Amazing!

That's all I've got for the first Fun Facts Friday (which is getting posted on Thursday, but humor me. I get up at 5:30 for work). Have an amazing Friday!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Chick Lit Author Blog Hop 2013!

Welcome to the 2013 Chick Lit Author Blog Hop! I'm so excited to be a part of it this year. It's my first one. Who knew a year ago I would be making friends with so many talented authors. Be sure to hop along and you could possibly win a Kindle 3G!

 The assignment for the blog hop is to tell your audience "What's going on on Page 25." Here is a sneak peek of my upcoming book (which I promise will be published soon! The goal for the day is to continue to work on edits. So far, a lot of my editors' comments are giving me chills! So awesome!)

 To set you up, at the end of Sugar and Spies, we found Riley moving on from her exhusband, Stan quitting his association with the CIA to be a regular doctor, and Stella quit the CIA for good to be with Riley and her daughters. Book two, The Truth and the Spy opens up a few months after her resignation, and she's not handling things well. She's given the opportunity to get back into work with a private organization, The Strohman Group, as an assassin. What happens on page 25 is when she asks the opinion of her Stepfather, Elliot.

After their big haul at all the stores in town. Riley, Gloria and Stan planned to meet Stella and Elliot for breakfast at Jimmy’s Egg. on 80th and Dodge in Omaha for breakfast. The decor was fairly contemporary in the small dining room with several booths in the middle and tables toward the front. Egg shaped sound muffling panels hung suspended from the high industrial ceiling. There was a counter for people to sit at at the back of the restaurant facing the kitchen, where the friendly waitstaff would chat while they worked, and would make you feel right at home.
Elliot and Gloria adored the franchise and went every Friday morning. Elliot, knowing how busy they would be on Black Friday, made sure to get there before he knew that his wife and daughters would arrive, and save a table. Luckily Stella arrived before he had to wait too long for the others.
“Morning, Kiddo.” He stood and greeted her with a kiss on the cheek as several people in the long line at the door glowered at them.
“Hey, Elliot.” She replied, taking a seat next to him. “What looks good today?”
“Coffee’s better than usual.” Elliot replied, catching their waitress’ eye. She nodded at him and returned a few minutes later with another mug and filled it for Stella.
“Morning Stella. How’re you doin’ today?” She asked. She was a middle aged blond with a big grin, and she was actually Elliot and Gloria’s usual waitress.
“I’m good, Lynette. How are you?” Stella asked, noting the name tag.
“Upright and above ground and happy to see all those smiling faces!” Lynette put her free hand on her hip.  “Everytime I see you I just can’t get over a young thing like you being a Stella. Nobody names their daughter Stella anymore.” She chuckled before returning to her other tables.
“I see she’s been drinking the coffee.” Stella grabbed a packet of Splenda and poured it into her cup before adding a small container of hazelnut creamer from the bowl that was always on the table.
“It is good coffee.” Elliot replied as he watched Stella take a cautious first sip. She winced as it burned her tongue, but continued to drink it anyway. “You’re here early.”
She checked her watch. “You said 7:30.”
“And by Stella time, that usually means 8:00.” He took a sip of his own coffee. “Something troubling you?”
“Why would you say that?”
“You knew your mom and sister wouldn’t be here yet, and whenever you want to discuss anything work related, I’m the first person you talk to. And having known you since you were fourteen, I know that you like to rip off band aids rather than peeling them slowly, so spill.”
Elliot knew her better than she wanted to give him credit for. “I took the job with the Strohman Group.” She said, quietly, looking into her coffee. When he didn’t say anything, she looked up to find him gazing at her, sadly. “What?”
“What are you going to tell your mom and Riley?”
Stella couldn’t answer. She gave him a tired, pensive glance as she finished her coffee, swallowing hard. In a moment, Lynette was at their table, refilling her cup, as well as giving her a tall glass of ice water. "Who says I have to tell them anything?" She finally asked. "I'm allowed to take vacations by myself, right? I might stick with the investment banker line. They would probably still believe that if Brad had never left Riley."
"But this wouldn't be a vacation. How often would you be working?"
"On call, but I can handle it." She opened her menu to the breakfast page. "Done it before. This would be kind of freelance work."
"What about Madison and Chloe? Riley depends on you to help take care of them."
"She works from home and they're in school most of the time?" Stella didn't want to look at Elliot. The man could spot an invisible sweat a mile away, and her nerves were getting to her. "Come on, Elliot. I can't live my life based on other people's expectations of me. I came home to help Riley through her divorce. I quit a job I loved to help her. Riley’s not the only single mom in the world who has to make arrangements for childcare while they work.  Most manage it without sucking the life out of their sisters. I think it's time I moved on, don't you?"
Win the grand prize! The -- secret word in the 25-word sentence is: Thank
Elliot sighed as he gazed at her, sadly. "All right." He said in that tone that said he disapproved, but couldn't do anything about it.
With the decision weighing on her chest, Stella stared into Elliot’s soft brown eyes that crinkled with worry. “Do you think it’s wrong?”
“I actually don’t.” Elliot was quiet as he traced the rim of his coffee cup with his finger.
Stella let out the breath she was holding and started to reach across the table to take Elliot’s hand when Gloria, Riley and Stan arrived, pulling out their chairs and all talking at once. Exchanging knowing glances, Stella and Elliot listened to their shopping stories as Lynette came over with more coffee and to take their orders.
As you can see, all is not right in Who-ville. Some people have to use their purpose, while others can go on without figuring out what that purpose is. Stella has a purpose, and she physically has to use it. 

Be sure to check out what's on page 25 with other bloggers in the blog hop! Click here for a list of all the other participants!

Happy Hopping!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Loosely TranslatedLoosely Translated by Simon Hugh Wheeler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am grossly behind in my review of this fun little story, for which, I am extremely apologetic. I was given a copy by the author for my honest opinion, and my honest opinion is that I thought it was great.

Maria and Mike are both authors. Mike is more successful (not by much, but he is), and has a handful of detective novels that do reasonably well. He lives alone and practically out of a bottle. Apparently, success, mild or otherwise, doesn't always lead to happiness. Maria, has never been successful at writing. She had people telling her to give her dreams up, but she just couldn't do it (trust me, I relate). As a last resort, Maria, who is Spanish, gets a job translating Mike's first Erik Hardmann book. She's appalled by how something so bad could be published AND worthy of being seen by other countries (Is this REALLY how you want to represent yourself to the foreign market? She practically asks). She takes artistic license and sales boom.

With the success of his first book in the Spanish market, Mike goes to Spain, and meets Maria, his book translator/signing translator, and sparks don't exactly fly. Maria is proper, polite, and would never ever swear, while Mike swills beer, uses crass language whenever he can, and has next to no manners.

Mirror opposites who don't get along, but work surprisingly well together, despite constant bickering.

After Mike and Maria met, I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. I kept waiting for him to find out that she changed his story. It didn't happen nearly as soon as I thought it should. In places, it seemed a little long, but for the most part I really enjoyed the story.

I do have one little pet peeve. There were about fifteen epilogues that I thought were unnecessary. I can see it from a filmmaker's POV, like the credits are rolling, here are the little things that have happened throughout the story, let's tie up all loose ends. I just thought it made it longer, and didn't add to the story at all (although, I did like Mike's gift to Maria's collector father. That was awesome!).

Overall, I enjoyed the story and characters. I liked how Mike became more polite, and Maria let loose and realized that she could be wrong once in awhile. I'm a big fan of character development, and these two most definitely had it. :-)

View all my reviews

Monday, May 13, 2013

Chick Lit Author Blog Hop!

Hey, Everyone! I just wanted to come in and tell you that I will be participating in Julie Valerie's Chick Lit Author Blog Hop. I will provied more details to come as I know more, but I'm excited for this new opportunity and I hope you can check out other blogs that I'll be promoting through this hop.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Color Me Rad 2013

I talk a big talk about wanting to be athletic, and a runner and a lifter, and potentially a cross fitter, but let's face it. Since Netflix got Fringe on Instant View, I haven't been much on the working out and preparing for the race I'd planned on in December (Has it seriously been five months since I agreed to run and get doused in random colors?).

Suffice it to say, when I realized it was May last week, and I hadn't trained for anything, I freaked out. I worried that I wasn't ready, and that I'd slowly finish last. Last week at work, I found out that one of my coworkers was heading up a team. I didn't really want to run it by myself, so I joined her and two other people for the big race.

Raring to go. Got my Tattoo, White Tee, Blue Glasses
I was a little bummed that there wasn't a medal with this race, but I did get a tattoo, a T-Shirt, and Fantastic Sunglasses. If you know me, you know that I have a hard time finding glasses, as I have a wide face, and glasses or sunglasses never fit. These were wide enough that I could fit them OVER my regular glasses. WIN!

This is what it looked like from the sky, I imagine.


Starting out at a REALLY slow jog, my calves started getting tight right away. It was cold, and I was sucking wind. After the first round of color, I told my teammates to go on without me. I spent a good portion of the race walking, trying to get my legs to loosen up, but they just wouldn't. In fact, my left foot started getting all tingly as it fell asleep.

After the third color station, I decided to give myself little goals. Run to that sign. Run around the corner. Beat the kid in front of me (Talk about ambitious on that last one!). It seemed to work.

The color was fun. The first round was pink powder, which I was expecting. What I wasn't expecting was the second round of color was liquid color and it was FREEZING! It was already a cool but sunny morning, but the color wash absolutely chilled me.

When it was over, I imagined that it took me about an hour and a half. I had my Endomondo tracker going on my phone to really track how far I went, and when I met up with my group at the finish line, I checked, and I finished in 41:36! I wasn't expecting that! I was so jazzed tht I finished in under an hour, and have been on a bit of a high ever since.
Runner's High!
Since I thought it would take longer than it did, my family didn't get to throw color on me. They were still on their way to meet me when I called to tell them I was done. We were all a little sad over it, but that's okay. Now we know. I sat down outside Ruby Tuesday's on 23rd Ave to call them and to get my legs a stretch. Incidentally, I had more energy when it was over, and wasn't hurting as much. Hooray, Adrenaline! I actually met my family across the street at the movie theater, as getting out of the race area was next to impossible, and this girl wanted food!

Now that I've got my feet up, a movie on (What to Expect When You're Expecting), I'm basking in my accomplishment. Earlier this week, I was pretty bummed at where I am with my fitness and weightloss journey. But this is a step in the right direction. I finished a goal that I had for the year, and that is a HUGE deal for me. I'm very proud of myself.

Now, for my next race, I hope there's a medal!

Monday, May 6, 2013

I'm a Lazy, Shiftless, Idiot

Back in December, I was really getting into the workout frame of mind, if you recall. I was psyched to do Jamie Eason's LiveFit trainer, I'd signed up for my first 5K and I was raring to go!

Fast forward two months. I was so into lifting heavy weights to change my muscles that I didn't watch my form and I hurt my knee. Had to stop LiveFit and running for a bit. A bit turned into three months of being a serious lazybones. Becoming a serious lazybones turned into a weight gain of epic proportions. I'm not going to give my number, because I'm a lady, and real friends would NEVER ask (right...?), but suffice it to say, it was higher than I've ever gotten, and that CANNOT happen. My grandmother died of weight-related diabetes complications. I can't let that happen to me.

Now, that 5K that I signed up for, is this weekend. I am so behind on my training. I did a walk-run yesterday for about an hour, and then a walk/run around my neighborhood this morning. My hamstrings were super tight, so when I got home, I stretched a bit. When I met my friend, Emily, for treadmill time again today, my app quit on me, but I still managed to do the 90 seconds of walking and 60 seconds of running for 20 minutes. Better than nothing. Going to do more stretching today and tomorrow, and every day this week. Luckily, Color Me Rad (the race I'm running) is a fun run, and they're not concerned about speed.

I've always been a procrastinator. I get psyched up for things, and then I lose momentum. It's like writing. I got excited when I published my first book that I started writing book two right away. Book Two took me so much longer to write than I'd anticipated. When I finally finished it, I'd started outlining Book Three right away, so I had something to follow, and hopefully wouldn't get struck with writer's block.

One of the goals I am determined to stick with this year is to finish and publish books 2-4 of Spy Sisters, and also write and publish my first stand-alone Chick Lit novel. I'm working on it as a project while working with this book. It's a step-by-step, day-by-day process to finish your novel in a year, or less. Personally, I'm hoping for less. I hope I get mine done in two months. Right now, I'm working through my characters.

This year, my writing goals and my fitness goals will be achieved. It takes a cognizant effort on my part, and I can't get lazy again. I just can't.