Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Parenting Is Not For The Faint Of Heart

Last night my kids were fighting.  You know, the pull at the other's ear, slap at the hand type fighting. 

I don't even remember what they were fighting about, but I put my hand between them to stop it.  As thanks for my peacekeeping efforts, my pinkie finger was bent all the way backward.  It is now sore and aching, and asking me why the hell I sent it into the line of fire.

For you parents out there, have you received a war wound from stepping in between your kids while they fought?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Are You a Member of a Fandom?

Is there a book, television show, or comic series that you love?  Are you a member of the fandom?  Are you a proud member, or are you ashamed to admit it?

I love Supernatural.  It's about two brothers who lost their mother to a demonic supernatural force, and were subsequently raised by their father to fight the supernatural.  I've been a fan for years, and I watch it primarily because of the relationship between the brothers.  I love the writing and the actors.  Not only are Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles gorgeous - they're great in their roles.  I love the way the show started out using common folklore for the monsters of the week - the Lady in White, Bloody Mary, etc. - and I love the angel/demon mytharc in Seasons 4 and 5.  I love the witty references to pop culture.

After years of convincing my sister to watch the show, she is now a die hard fan.  Later this month we are attending the Supernatural convention in Dallas, and I feel like a kid at Christmas.  When I tell people about it, they look at me like they think I'm weird.  Maybe I am.

What about you?  Are you a member of a fandom?  Are you a card-carrying member or a closet member?   

Monday, August 13, 2012

That's Way Cool

It's mid-August in Texas.  That means triple digit heat and back to school craziness.  This video was e-mailed to me, and it made me stop and smile.

Humans saving dolphins...that's way cool.   

Monday, August 6, 2012


In no particular order, here are some of the things I love to hate:

Alarm clocks
Cold Toes
Working in the yard
Throwing Up

What are some things you love to hate?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Anger - A Haiku

Feeling Faces - confidentkids.com


It consumes the mind
It divides you from loved ones
It makes you pompous.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Pushing Limits

I am a speed freak.  I admit it.  I love things that go fast - cars, boats, jet ski's, go-carts, snow-skiing... 

Yes, I did a flip on the ski slope, wearing skis, and ran into a tree in my younger years.

At a corporate function several years ago I won a trophy for the fastest female on the go-cart track (yes, one man beat me, damn it).

I've ridden 100 mph on a speed boat and loved it.

This is my daughter at an indoor racing facility yesterday.  She was the slowest one on the track.  *sigh*

I went out with my family Saturday on the jet ski's.  My son wouldn't let me go over 30 mph with him on it.  *sigh*

As a mother, I should be happy they aren't comfortable pushing limits.  Shouldn't I?  Or not?

Pushing limits can lead to breakthrough performance.  Pushing limits can land you in jail. 

Pushing limits = good or bad?  Your thoughts?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Don't Leave Me Hanging - Knockout Happy Endings


Happy Friday!!

Today I'm at Romance University talking about how to write knockout happy endings. 


Please stop by and share your favorite endings!!

Friday, April 13, 2012

How to Get Out of Jury Duty

So...  I was summoned for jury duty this week.  I don't know how many times a citizen should get summoned, but I've been summoned five times since I was in college.  I'm told the computer randomly picks names, but I'm starting to believe it really likes my name.  FIVE times. 

My husband has yet to be summoned. 

Anyway, I showed up to the county courthouse on Tuesday and sat with 250 other people praying that I wouldn't get picked.  The court clerk told us she needed 130 potential jurors and 250 people were sitting in the room.  Yay!  I had a 50/50 shot of getting to go to work.

Guess which 50% I was in?  Yep, the 130.  I was assigned to a court and told to return at 8:30 the next morning for a misdemeanor case.

Now, I had already cleared my schedule at work for Tuesday and moved everything to Wednesday.  So I left the courthouse, went to work and rearranged my schedule AGAIN to clear Wednesday in case I was picked.

I showed up for court on Wednesday and went through the jury selection process.  It took about three hours.  I was one of 20 potential jurors, and they only needed to pick six people.  The odds had improved from Tuesday.

Interestingly enough, while the attorneys asked us if we felt we had problems judging the merits of the case on the facts presented and only on the facts presented for different reasons, I was the only potential juror the defense attorney asked what I did for a living.  (For the record, I am an HR Manager at an insitution of higher education.) 

For some reason, I don't think he liked that.  I was in the lucky majority that got released.  So I drove to work and rearranged my schedule.  Again :)

I found this video online of a humorous way a man replied to his jury summons.  I'm not brave enough to try this tactic, but the announcer does mention an interesting way to get out of jury duty. 

Have you been summoned for jury duty?  Have you ever served on a jury duty?  Would you want to serve on a jury?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Delight in What Inspires You


Spring has staked her claim here in Texas.  We've had some gorgeous sunny days.  Bluebonnets line the roads.  My kids have caught the fever. 

Spring Fever, that is.

It's contagious.  I feel the strongest urge to play hookie from the day to day deadlines, routines, and to-do lists that dominate my days.  I want to slow down and just be.  I want to throw out all agendas and be open to the universe, take it all in, and breathe.

Whenever I feel this way, my fingers itch to write.  My cup, the one that runs on empty all too often, runneth over when I write.

I write because I feel inspired to tell a story.  According to Robert McKee in his book, Story, we take in stories as much as we sleep.  He says, 'The world now consumes films, novels, theatre, and television in quantities and with such ravenous hunger that the story arts have become humanity's prime source of inspiration, as it seeks to order chaos and gain insight to life.'

  • Stimulation of the mind or emotions to a high level of feeling or activity
  • An agency, such as a person or work of art, which moves the intellect or emotions or prompts action or invention.
  • Divine guidance or influence exerted directly on the mind and soul of humankind.
  • Something that encourages
  • Act of breathing in
I invite you to make time to find your inspiration.  Listen to music.  Sit outside on the patio of a restaurant or cafe and observe and listen to the people around you.  Read your favorite novel for the fiftieth time.  Dream.  Exercise.  Spend Time with a friend.  View art.  Watch a movie.

Breathe.  Be.

Delight in whatever inspires you.  Let it feed your imagination and fill your cup.  Then pour all of that inspired energy into whatever creative activity fulfills you and lose yourself in your creation, so that all else is forgotten and time stands still.

"Imagination is the highest kite one can fly." ~ Lauren Bacall

What inspires you?

Monday, March 19, 2012

What Makes You Stay?

My in-laws celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this past weekend.  All five kids, their spouses, fourteen grandkids, and one grandson-in-law converged on San Antonio for the weekend to help them celebrate the special occasion.

We took a riverboat ride, and the captain asked them what the secret was to a long and happy marriage.  He said he thought it was the bad times that made a marriage and spoke of how he'd experienced a death in the family, he and his wife had both lost jobs, and that he felt the hard times made their marriage stronger.

Fifty years is an accomplishment.  My own parents will celebrate forty-four years in May.  My husband and I will celebrate ten years in June, and we are very proud of reaching that milestone.  We've both have been through a divorce and know how devastating it can be.

If you listen to the news, anywhere from 41-50% of all marriages end in divorce.  According to DivorceRate.org, more detailed statistics show:

Per the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield, Missouri:
  • 50% percent of first marriages
  • 67% of second marriages
  • 74% of third marriages end in divorce 
According to Enrichment Journal on the divorce rate in America:
  • The divorce rate in America for first marriage is 41%
  • The divorce rate in America for second marriage is 60%
  • The divorce rate in America for third marriage is 73%

It's easy to make a relationship work during the good times.  Like the riverboat captain, I believe getting through the bad times is what challenges and strengthens or destroys a marriage. 

Anyone who has ever been married will tell you there are days when he or she just wanted to walk out the door and not look back.  Days when the going got too rough.  Days when the problems with their significant other felt insurmountable. 

So the real question is:  What makes you stay? 

What is the number one reason you straighten your spine, dust yourself off, ignore the bruised feelings, and make another effort?  Is it the kids?  Money?  Love?  Your vows?  Your religious beliefs?  What makes you stay?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Top Five Reasons I Want To Be Like George Clooney

George Clooney, Telethon, E!News
It's not because he's rich, handsome, and famous.  Really.  I'll do my best to convince you...

In January, George starred in Inside The Actor's Studio.  I recorded it and recently sat down to watch it.  George touched on things that reminded me of the kind of life I want to live. 

5)  "I'm not going to be miserable anymore.  What I do is a fun job, and I won't work on sets that aren't going to be fun." 

George spends anywhere from four months to a year on a movie, and he stated that it's not worth it being miserable.  Most people spend forty hours a week, fifty to fifty-two weeks a year at work.  George is right.  It's not worth it being miserable. 

As a Manager, I've had heart to heart talks with people about their careers.  When they're stuck - really stuck or miserable for whatever reason - I have asked them to picture themselves lying on their deathbed.  Is this career, this job, how they want to say they spent a large part of their life?  It really changes the dynamic of the conversation.  Highlights a person's priorities.  So the first reason I want to be like George?  Refuse to be miserable.

4)  "I don't want to have that tribute where they roll you out and say you had fifteen films at number one.  I don't want that.  I really want to have something that lasts longer than an opening weekend."

George also stated that he does commercials overseas.  He said that if doing a coffee commercial allows him to live in the house that he lives in, and have the life he has, make films that he wants to make and not have to worry about a profit, then he will happily sell coffee.

What person wouldn't sell coffee to finance doing projects that they believe in???  So the second reason I want to be like George?  Focus.  Find a way to do what I love.

3)  Kindness 

George talked about working with Director Alexander Payne while making The Descendants.  He stated that Payne has an incredible capacity for kindness, and that when making a movie that spans the emotional range from humor to loss, it is up to the director to gently get the actor there.  If a director pushes an actor, then the acting is not organic and it won't work as well.  At an earlier point in the show, he talked of working with directors who believe in making actors uncomfortable.  George believes that nothing good comes out of creating a space someone doesn't feel welcome in.

This made me think about my children.  They're getting older now, to the point where it is not my role as parent to tell them what to do, so much as to guide them in their decisions.  Pushing them will not help them learn.  It will not get them to open up to me.  Gently helping them discover for themselves what is right and wrong will help them become better adults.  So the third reason I want to be like George?  Be kind.

2)  "What you lack in skill you can make up for in effort."

George stated he believes he can learn new skills.  He said that five years ago he could not have acted in The Descendants, but the older he gets, he feels the need to push the limits on his comfort level.

I love this.  The fourth reason I want to be like George, is to never stop pushing the limits to learn what I am capable of.

George's home in Italy, ABC News
1)  "I'm very aware of catching the brass ring."

George stated he is well aware that if it wasn't for ER being in a certain time slot on Thursday nights, he would not have the career he's had.  He said he realized a few years ago that he was not taking the time to enjoy what he's had.  His home on Lake Como in Italy gives him peace and joy.

I don't lead the charmed life that George does, but I am blessed.  I have a wonderful and healthy family, I have my health, and I have a roof over my head.  I have a passion for writing, and I enjoy my day job.  There are many people in this world that have far less than I do.  So the last reason I want to be like George Clooney?  I want to remember to be appreciative for what I have, and grateful that I have things in my life that bring me peace and joy.

If you get a chance to watch the show, I encourage you to do so.  Oh, I did forget to mention one other reason I want to be like George...  he never wears makeup.  If only!

So how do these five reasons speak to you?  Which ones would you like to see more of in your life?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Exploring Connections

Sometime around 2006-2007, I watched a movie titled What the Bleep? Down the Rabbit Hole.

It introduced me to quantum mechanics and the idea of quantum entanglement. 

Quantum entanglement is a phenomenon in which the quantum states of two or more objects have to be described with reference to each other, even though the individual objects may be spatially separated.

The idea intrigued me, and I thought it romantic.  (Yes, I'm such a romantic that I can even infer romantic things from science.)

Then in 2009 I read The Shack by William P. Young.  I read it in three hours one Saturday morning; I couldn't put it down.

Within the book is the idea that man's choice of independence - both from each other and from God - is what causes pain and suffering.

A light bulb went off in my brain.  The idea for Entangled was born, for at its heart, Entangled is about connections.

  • Our connection to others
  • Our connection with a higher power, whatever you may conceive that to be
  • Our connection to nature
Being a romantic, I put these ideas in the context of a romance.  When the heroine, Cassie, travels to a parallel world to help the hero, Alex, save his people from natural disasters, she must explore and accept her relationship on each level stated above in order to save his people.

Here is an excerpt from Entangled, where Cassie begins her journey of discovery.  This occurs just after she has traveled from present day earth to Alex's world.

The door to the living room stood ajar, and Cassie sensed Alex on the other side of it. She walked through the garden with the intent to join him, but when she stepped closer, she heard voices. She pressed her body against the wall to listen to the conversation.

"Where will we say she is from?” Alex asked.

“I have thought upon that,” Gareth said. “I believe we shall say Cassie is from the other side of the Manisan Mountains. The people there are reclusive. I doubt any in Belvoir have ever encountered a Manisan.”

“That will explain Cassie’s pale skin. No one will believe she comes from any region around the sea.”

She glanced down at her skin and frowned.

“How do you plan to teach her?” Alex asked.

“Like I would a new apprentice. She has thin boundaries. She is open, but ignorant. Did you see the way she behaved in the forest?”


“Cassie is a product of her world, Gareth.”

“Tell me of it.”

“Her people are more advanced than we are with their inventions, yet in many ways those inventions encourage their separateness from each other, from nature, and from the Creator.”

“How so?”

“They socialize through machines. They try to conquer nature, rather than live as one with it. They live outside of the natural cycles of day and night, even of the seasons.”

“You have spent time with her, Alexos. Do you believe Cassie can change her beliefs?”

“She stands just on the other side of the door, listening to us. You should ask her that question.”

“Come in, child,” Gareth called out to her.

Cassie entered the living room. Alex stood by the fire, his forearm braced on the mantle. Flames snapped in the large stone fireplace. Gareth sat in a deep red, high-backed chair next to a small wooden table. Both men looked reproachfully at her.

She lifted her chin in defiance.

“Would you like some wine?” Gareth pointed to the carafe on the table beside him.


Gareth moved to pour, but Alex gestured for the old man to stop. “I am in need of a refill.”

She watched Alex pour the wine into a new goblet and refill his own. As she still stood near the doorway, he walked over to hand her the wine.

She sniffed the red liquid, approving of the fruity fragrance. She sipped the wine and allowed it to stay on her tongue for a moment before she swallowed it. Not too dry and not too sweet. She took another sip, not above using liquid courage to face these two powerful men in this strange world, and of all things, in a dress. Somehow that, more than anything else, put her out of sorts.

She looked at Gareth. “Why do they call you Master?”

“Would you care to sit by the fire?” Gareth indicated the chair across from him.

She crossed the room to sit in the second high-backed, red upholstered chair. Alex had returned to stand by the fire just to her right. She ignored him. Payback for talking about her behind her back.

“Master is an ancient title,” Gareth said. “I am really a teacher.”

“What do you teach?”

“I teach the higher laws of the universe.”

“What are those?”

“The ones you cannot see.”

“Like gravity?”

“Of a sort.”

She frowned. “What does ‘of a sort’ mean?”

A look passed between Gareth and Alex. She resisted the urge to storm out and leave them to their secrets. If they needed her so bad, why keep secrets?

“Gravity is a type of force, aye?” Gareth asked.

“Yes,” she said.

“There are other forces that exist,” Alex said, “ones that work on a different level than what we experience in our physical world.”

“What are these forces?” she asked Gareth.

“Emotion. Beliefs. Intention.”

“Those are forces?”

“Aye. Our emotions and beliefs influence our interactions with the universe.”

Philosophy. He spoke of philosophy. “What does this have to do with why I’m here?”

“Everything. If you do not understand how the universe works, you cannot fully participate in it.”

Cassie gripped the armrest with her free hand and thought that this must be what Alice experienced while talking to the Mad Hatter and the March Hare. “Define fully participate.”

“When I say fully participate,” Gareth said, “I mean to be a part of the creation of the universe.”

“Isn’t the universe already created?”

“Creation is an ongoing process of cause and effect.”

She finished her wine and sat back in the chair. Her mind tried to wrap itself around what Gareth wanted her to understand, but it couldn’t.

Gareth stood up. “I have given you enough to think about tonight. It is time for this old man to retire.” He nodded to Alex and bowed to Cassie. “I will see you in the morning.”

Intrigued by his view of the universe, her eyes followed Gareth out of the room. She couldn’t dismiss his words, as her being in this new world defied any beliefs she’d previously held.

She looked up over her shoulder at Alex, and found him watching her with an intense expression. “Please don’t look at me as if I’m a puzzle you have to solve.”

His gaze did not waver. “You are.”

“You don’t believe I can help, do you?”


“Then why waste your time bringing me here?”

He looked into the fire. His jaw flexed as he ground his teeth together. When he spoke, his words were so low, so reflective, that she barely heard him.

“Because I do not know what else to do.”

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Supernatural Heroes

Supernatural beings have fascinated humans since before the written word. One of the earliest known is from the Assyrians, approximately 4,000 years ago, later adopted by the Babylonians. The Ekimmu is the ghost of an unburied person - and in some cases a spirit who does not receive enough offerings - who dwells underground and emerges at night to feed off the living.

Then there were the Strix, which were chronicled in the Saxon capitulary of Charlemagne in 781. The Strix was a night demon, who happened to be very fond of internal organs. Ovid described them in Fasti.

In the time of Shakespeare (1564-1616) there was a strong belief in the supernatural. Two of his plays, Hamlet and MacBeth, feature the supernatural as an integral part of the plot. One of my favorite lines from Hamlet is, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

Croatia was the site of one of the first vampire epidemics of the modern age. In 1672 Giure Grando, from the village of Kringa on the Istrian peninsula, is said to have returned from the grave to terrorize the villagers. He is the first documented classical vampire.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Count Dracula. In 1897 Bram Stoker wrote Dracula, to wide acclaim. Set in Transylvania, the book immortalized the vampire myth. Even the church declared it as one of the best ever romantic novels.

Ooh… a supernatural being and romance. Now we’re talking! Demons, vampires, ghosts, werewolves, wizards, demigods, superheroes – all have been used as heroes by fantasy and paranormal romance authors. Why? Supernatural heroes are strong, dark, tortured, dangerous, suspenseful, and flawed.

A hero that possesses supernatural abilities adds another layer to the odds that lovers must overcome to be together. Plus, as an author it is a heck of a lot of fun to imagine what I would do if I could fly; be immortal; become invisible; or put mere mortals under my spell (which my husband is very glad I can’t do).

So. Seeing that today is Valentine’s Day, what sexy supernatural hero would be your perfect Valentine?

Monday, January 30, 2012

What Author Hooked You On Romance?

When I was in middle school I picked up one of my mother's romance novels, and my love affair with the genre began.  The author was Kathleen E. Woodiwiss.  The novel was Ashes in the Wind, a book about a woman wanted by both the North and the South and the Yankee doctor that keeps crossing her path. 

Elizabeth Lowell, Judith McNaught, Heather Graham, Julie Garwood, Nora Roberts, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Jennifer Crusie, Linda Howard...  In no particular order, I fell in love with each of their characters.

I write about this because I'm on a mission to clean out the attic.  I'm rereading old novels, deciding which ones will stay and which ones will go to Half Price Books.  I've fallen in love with the characters again, and some I can't bear to part with, some I'm saying a fond farewell to.

So I'm wondering.  What author hooked you on romance?  Who is your favorite romance author of all time? (Cuz if you can pick one, I'm impressed.  I just can't do it.)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday's Cool Facts - Cleanest Stall in the Bathroom

I don’t care if Monday’s black
Tuesday, Wednesday heart attack
Thursday, never looking back
It's Friday, I'm in love

-"Friday I'm in Love" The Cure

Happy Friday!

Anyone who knows me will tell you I love to look up cool, but often useless facts on the internet.  I saw a cool fact the other day that grabbed my attention...

Did you know the cleanest stall in the bathroom is the first one?  Yup, apparently a lot of people head to the back.  I guess it's kinda like a movie or classroom...  the back rows always fill up first.

In addition, a test ABC did found that the two things people hate to touch the most in a public bathroom - the toilet seat and the door handle - were found to be the cleanest parts of the bathroom.  Even cleaner than a staff member's desk!!

So - this is actually useful information.  When you use a public restroom, use the first stall  : )

Monday, January 16, 2012

Golden Globes Dresses

Even though I haven't seen any of the movies nominated (with the exception of Bridesmaids), I like to watch the Oscars and the Golden Globes to see the dresses.  I wear maybe one dress a year; however, there is enough girl in me to imagine wearing a beautiful dress to a special event. 

At the Golden Globes last night, only one dress really did it for me.  The detail and simplicity of Kate Beckinsale's dress took my breath away.  (If you click on the link, you'll see the detail I'm referencing.)

I did LOVE the color of Sofia Vergara's dress.  If I were into mermaid dresses, this one would be my top dress.

My least favorite?  It's a tie between Jessica Biel's dress and Angelina Jolie's dress.  Jessica is way too young and gorgeous to wear something this matronly. 

And despite the red near her face, the white on Angelina's dress did not do her beauty justice.

Which dresses were your best and worst picks?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday's Cool Facts - 2011 Discoveries

Happy Friday!  And Friday the 13th no less!

I'm a fan of science. One of my favorite television shows is Morgan Freeman's Through the Wormhole on the Science Channel.  I love to read and write because of possibilities, because of the cool places a story can take you and the great characters you can meet.  The great thing about science is that it is also full of possibilities...

So when I saw this video, I had to share.  Did you know that in 2011, scientists discovered a diamond planet?  Or 17 buried Egyptian pyramids?  How cool is that?  Watch the video to learn more!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Me v. The Perfect Mother


A friend told me a story the other day about how a woman approached her in a store to criticize the clothes her daughter was dressed in.  REALLY?

Come on, people.  Being a mother is hard enough without us turning on each other.  The story irked me, to say the least.  Who among us mothers is perfect?

Most especially not me.  So I did a comparison between me and the perfect mother.

1)  A perfect mother never leaves the house without being perfectly groomed.  This unnatural phenomenon extends to her offspring.  Their socks match, as do their gloves, hair clips, and Ugg boots.

I leave the house with dog slobber on my nice black work pants.  My children are dressed, don't exactly match, and one's wearing the same shirt for the third time this week.  Hey, they look decent, and they don't smell bad.

2)  A perfect mother bakes cookies and cupcakes for her child's class to celebrate her child's birthday.  These cupcakes are even placed in cute little boxes with bows.

I buy pre-made at the grocery store and hope I don't squash the icing in the car.

3) A perfect mother feeds her children organic, free range food, with lots of healthy fruit and vegetables. 

I've decided that french fries are, on occasion, a good substitute for vegetables.

4)  A perfect mother goes on and on about how perfect her Stepford child is, how little so-in-so got all A's, is learning Spanish, plays basketball, and the piano.   

I'm raising two human beings that other people would probably LIKE to turn into Stepford children, sometimes.  However, they are happy, healthy, and thankfully nowhere near perfect.

Everywhere we go, my daughter is mistaken for a boy.  She keeps her curly hair short and wears boy clothes.  She likes it.  I'm okay with that.  She's incredibly affectionate, curious, and observant.  She struggles in math and reading at school.  She'd rather be playing outside with her friends than doing most anything else.

My son son loves to play video games.  He's got a black belt in karate.  He plays the trumpet, and he has ADHD.  If you say tomato, he'll say tomahto.  He's intelligent and has a great imagination.  Remind me to tell you about the time he asked me about dinosaurs in heaven...

5) The perfect mother never neglects her children.  She eats, sleeps, and breathes them.

I hold a day job as an HR Manager.  I'm a writer.  I'm a wife.  I'm a mother.  At any one time, one of those roles suffers.  Balance isn't about balancing all the time.  It's about knowing sometimes one role takes precendence over the other.  For example, a major deadline at work will result in me working late.  Or I have a scene in my current manuscript that I'm obsessing over, and it consumes my every thought.  Or my child has a game, and I have to leave work early.  Or my husband has a major surgery, requiring most everything else to be put on hold.

We're all, at any one time, juggling multiple roles and their responsibilities.  I beg of you.  The next time you see a mother and you disagree with the way she's taking care of her child, instead of being judgemental, have a little empathy.

I'll get off my soapbox now.