Saturday, February 28, 2015

When life's kicking your butt, how about a theme song? [15] The perfect song for that book!


March is here. Impossible! My oldest starts up Special Olympics swimming this month and my youngest will continue with his art classes. My list is filled with author girl goals and find my spirit goals and hopefully wake up early and workout goals. What's your March look like? Whether you're just going to sit back and enjoy the cherry trees blossoming or you plan to kick your butt into action, how about doing all that to music? This month we're tapping books for inspiration.


Into the Mystic drops me into the book Slammed by Colleen Hoover. There's a part of the song where I can see the main characters dancing together, not giving into the temptation of crossing the line, but unable to resist having this one moment that says everything. Great freaking song.





Give Into Me from the movie Country Strong is so the book The Gamble by Kristen Ashley. I don't want to say anything about the book because I'm buddy reading it with Brandee only I accidentally read it before her. I'm a bad buddy, but awesome book and song, right?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Looking, looking, and not finding it

Paul Signac Le Pin Saint Tropez
(painting by Paul Signac [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

I used to have a house, cute as can be. I looked at it from every angle, drew pictures of it with additions that would make it dreamy, perfect. Home. I had a neighbor who loved his yard in an intense, brooding way. One day I was out mowing the lawn with one of those push mowers. A shitty old one with dull blades and a handle that kept popping off. He walked up to me, "Robyn, what are you doing?" In these few words I understood. Why have you painted flowers on the front of your garage (because I did this) and planted a ridiculous Eucalyptus tree next to your spruce that we all wanted you to take out in the first place? What is up with the all the chimes and yard doodads? And what on earth are you doing with that ridiculous mower? It doesn't edge your lawn or cleanly bag your cut grass.

I loved roses so I planted a bunch of them. Turned out I hate roses. They poke you and scratch you and judge your lack of grace when pruning. I removed them (during wintertime) and gave them to my mother. I loved trees so I planted as many trees as our yard could handle. I quickly discovered why our house was barely damaged during our last big earthquake (back in 2001). Rock. We were built on ground that just wouldn't budge. Did that stop me? Nope. I drew pictures, went to the garden place, bought way too many plants.

I painted the interior. Every room. Annoying colors too because when you're in search of capturing a feeling, you should not go out paint shopping. I organized and planned and organized again.

And it was never enough. I couldn't find that feeling of home. I'm not sure why. When we search and compare the real word to dreams we've had since we were kids, can we ever find that thing? Can we remake our world into what we see in our heads?

I'll have a house again one day and I probably will paint flowers on the garage. I'd love another push mower, one of those fancy ones where the handles do not pop off. I'll plant tons of trees because man I love trees. I'll steer clear of roses because they suck. But I'll enjoy it. Maybe even give the walls a pat for rocking the planet because home is you in a place that makes you smile.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

20 Things You Don't Know About Me

I was tagged by Brandee @ Bookworm Brandee to share 20 things about me that you all might not already know. Impossible! But I'll give it a try.

1. How tall are you?
5'5 (probably not, more like 5'4, but this is what I tell the nurses and DOL people)

2. Do you have a hidden talent? If so, what?
Oh goodness, let's see. I can tie a cherry stem in a knot with my tongue. Wow, classy. Double knot too. Extra classy.

3. What is your biggest blog-related pet peeve?
Pop up advertising or advertising that blasts volume suddenly. I encounter those situations most often on the grammar and how-to blogs.

4. What is your biggest non-blog related pet peeve?
People who litter. I mean come on!

5. What's your favorite song?
Right now I'm loving "I like you" by Ben Rector. The words rock. I'm also crazy about Ellie Goulding's Fifty Shades song, "Love me like you do."



6. What's your favorite ETSY shop?
Sorry, ETSY is not my bag. I lose actual hours on that sort of stuff, so I stay away.

7. What is your favorite way to spend your free time when you're alone?
I usually have my laptop, a library DVD, and a current read all around me because I can't decide. 

8. What's your favorite junk food?
Ask me what junk food is not my favorite. The list would be shorter. But I cannot refuse Doritos, root beer floats, homemade fudge...See what I'm saying.

9. Do you have pets?
Nope. One day (when I grow up a little more even though I'm completely grown up).

10. What are your favorite fiction and nonfiction books? 
Fiction...The Twilight series carried me through one of the toughest times in my life. I will always love those books. The Mercy Thompson series. How can you not love a tough girl mechanic who also happens to be a coyote? Rock Chick by Kristen Ashley, good times. There are many, many favorites. Nonfiction...Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott teaches me something new every time I pick it up. A Giacometti Portrait by James Lord makes me feel not so alone when my artist mind starts up with that "I suck so bad" nonsense. 

11. What's your favorite beauty product?
My Elizabeth Arden moisturizer. 

12. When were you last embarrassed? 
Last Friday when I dropped off my 6 year old at school late because I forgot about the Valentine's Day cards for his class and my suggestion to never mind the cards this year didn't go over well. The school secretary asked him why he was tardy with me standing right behind him. "Because my mom and me were signing the Valentine's Day cards."

13. If you could drink one beverage for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Water.

14. What's your favorite movie?
Impossible! I'm a total movie girl. Star Trek. Top Gun. Lord of the Rings (all of them). Harry Potter. The Incredibles. I'll stop because the list is insane.

15. What were you in high school? Prom queen, nerd, cheerleader, jock, valedictorian, band geek, loner, artist, etc?
Hmm. I was friends with everyone, except those I wasn't friends with, then I was a shit.

16. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
I'm not sure. I'd like to go to New Zealand and spend time in Alaska.

17. PC or MAC?
PC for sure. MAC makes me cuss.

18. Last romantic gesture from a crush, date, boyfriend/girlfriend?
I got nothing. Sadness.

19. Favorite Celeb?
Since pro football players have celebrity status, I'm crazy about my Seahawks boys.

20. Which blogger do you secretly want to be best friends with?
Yikes! I've been such a bad blogger, I don't even have best friend blogger envy! Man.

Now it's someone else's turn. I'm tagging Athina at Between My Lines and Jennifer @ Donnie Darko Girl.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Sidekick Showcase [56] Best kid brother duo!

Sidekick Showcase is a monthly bookish meme, hosted here by Jaclyn at JC's Book Haven. There are many secondary characters that are as great as the primaries. In some cases, the sidekicks actually steal the show and you like them better than the heroine or hero. Maybe they didn't have enough page time for how great they were. Anyone can play along! I will post my Sidekicks on the first Saturday of the month, then whichever day during the month that you would like to post yours, you can put your link in on my page. Just do the following:

• Choose a sidekick *or someone other than the hero or heroine* that you would like to put in the spotlight that fits in the week's topic
• Share a picture (if you can) and information about the character
• Give the title and author of a book the character can be found in
• Please don't include too many spoilers when describing why the character is such a great sidekick
• The day of your post, click the 'Sidekicks' link in my header and enter the link for your post. Here, you can also see anyone else that posted during the month to visit their Sidekick Showcase's as well.

Topic ideas for February are: Favorite minority character, Favorite Couple or Favorite Smaller than average character.

Jack and George Drayton from Ilona Andrews' The Edge series are the best kid brother duo ever. They haven't had an easy life with their mom dying, their dad running out on them, and their reanimated dead grandpa living out back. They both have their magical troubles, but their older sister Rose brought them up with love and strength and a grandma who is the best curse caster in their realm. Jack and George are the stars of the show.

“Yes, I'm too mad to punish you right now. We'll talk about it when we get home. Go brush your teeth, comb your hair, put on dry clothes, and get the guns. We're going to Wal-Mart.”
Ilona Andrews, On the Edge 
(Rose to the boys)

“Georgie, stop trying to resurrect the shoes. They were never alive in the first place.”
Ilona Andrews, On the Edge


“Grandpa?" Declan raised his eyebrows.
"We keep him in the shed out back," Jack said helpfully. "So he doesn't eat dog brains.”
Ilona Andrews, On the Edge



Friday, February 13, 2015

Have you ever been sent to the principal's office?

My sister works in the schools and had to fill the principal in on something that happened during her shift. No big deal. She handled everything right, but it still shook her to go into that office and talk to the big man on campus. She's a grown up! Which I told her because I'm her sister and it's my job to be insensitive. I also reminded her that she did nothing wrong (after I asked her if she did anything wrong just to be thorough). My attempt to comfort her did not work at all. The girl was a total stressball. But it got me to thinking of the times I was sent to the principal's office when I was a kid....

I made a teacher cry. It was high school. Our teacher gave us a study guide for a test that turned out not to have anything to do with the test so the entire class bombed. I had a word with her. She cried. And I met our new principal. A nun of course, but by that point in my life, nuns had nothing on me and I wore that knowledge openly. No matter what they said or did, I didn't care. It was a short talk.

I told our Theology teacher she should definitely have sex before she got married. I even quoted my mom, "Why buy a shoe without trying it on first?" Yep. Another short talk.

I let a former friend of mine have it in the cafeteria in front of the vice principal. Not smart. This was a longer talk because of all the girl drama, but in the end no biggie.

There were a few more times, a scar on my neck that looked like a hickey but wasn't a hickey, but still warranted a chat. That turned out to be a blessing because they never got on me when the actual hickeys started showing up. Hey, don't judge. During my senior year, I made another teacher cry, but he totally deserved it. There were a few trips to the vice principal too, but she was this mean little lady that I couldn't help but love.

How about you all? Were you sent down for a chat? Do you still twist in your seat at the thought of talking to the Principal?


Sunday, February 1, 2015

When life's kicking your butt, how about a theme song? [14] Big Production Numbers

January, oh, where did your days go? It was a busy month and ended with my oldest winning silver at his Special Olympics Basketball Regionals. Good stuff. On the way to the games, I got us lost a few times. Will told his coach, "My mom had to ask three men for directions." This is true. And you know what, the kindness of strangers is a wonderful thing. One guy offered to lead the way back to the highway to get me going in the right direction again. I didn't hug him, but only because he was in his truck and I was in my car. 

This theme song was tough even though I chose it. My first thought was Queen, but then I moved to Aerosmith, but then Adelle won out because her voice is massive. So here's Skyfall from the James Bond movie, Skyfall. 
And here's Queen.
And here's some Aerosmith (Jaclyn picked this last year, but it's so good a repeat is good too).
Okay, here's another bonus video because I can't stop. 

How about you all? Any big songs, big videos, big music moments you want to share? You can even throw in a love song since it's the crazy love month. I won't be mad. Have a great February!





Saturday, January 24, 2015

Looking at Normal

I've been thinking about normal lately. I remember the standout kids when I was little, the ones who didn't give a care. I also remember looking at a sea of brown skin and dark eyes and wishing away my Irish/German/English mash-up heritage. I came home one day in Kindergarten/first grade/somewhere in there with a forced accent lacing every word. My mom put a stop to it. Adults cherish the unique and cringe at the thought of normal. Kids at some point strive for it. They fall in line with the group. They look down at themselves and back up with a plan to change. At some point the tide changes. Mine changed in third grade. I'd fallen in line (the back of the line) with a group of girls. I'm not sure I liked a single one of them, but 3rd grade was hell, so I figured the kids were supposed to be too. Then I had my accident. That was it. Not even the back of the line was open to me. I didn't have a single conversation at school with another kid with the exception of answering the "what happened to your face" question for the rest of third grade and fourth grade. Normal lost all my respect.

Now I live in the world of special needs kids and professionals in the field make it their benchmark. They throw the word around expecting smiles and nods, maybe cheers. Let's make these kids not stand apart, not stand out, not stand alone. When my oldest was in third grade, the occupational therapist told me I had to fix the way he held his pencil. This was truly dire. She'd pulled me aside in the hallway and told me his entire future would be affected by his finger grip. He'll look odd. He won't write fast. Kids will make fun of him. He won't fit in. That was the last time I spoke to her. 

Normal. I hate the word, but if my son could wish for things like that, if he could pinpoint exactly why he felt so out of place, would that be his wish? I should ask him what he wishes for and see what he has to say. Until then, I'll keep guard of his spirit and try my best not to tamp it down. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

#LGBT Reading Challenge sign up post! Plus a music video.

I'm doing it. Committing to a reading challenge. Yep. Last year I participated in LGBT month and as a result discovered so many wonderful books I just had to read. I added them to my TBR list and they have remained there patiently sitting through one reading bender after another. My most recent has been Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles. So good, but not LGBT at all unless things switch up pretty drastically. There's still a chance Cinder hooks up with Scarlet, but I doubt it. If you're interested in signing up, click on the pretty purple graphic to learn more about it. I plan to hit the Genre Hopper category of reading 3-10 LGBT books from any genre. 

Oh, and just because here's a Shane Mack song from the movie Shelter. Good stuff. Happy reading, people!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Author talks, they really do reach new readers. Honest.

Take a break to talk 9.11.11
I love author talks, can't get enough of them (not that I have a fangirling problem or anything). It all started with Debbie Macomber sharing her story at my library. I had seen her books at the grocery store, but never snatched one off the shelf to read the blurb. When she walked up to the podium and smiled, I instantly thought of my Aunt Sherry and became a fan. She said something along the lines of 'If you write a book, others should read it.' So far I've read Starry Night and Mrs. Miracle. Loved them!

Then I went to a couple writers' conferences. Ann Aguirre and Victoria Dahl are so cool. That's what I thought when I listened to them. Aguirre made me laugh and dream. She also wore a plush unicorn hat on her head during her speech. Dahl made me laugh and cry. She told us she belonged to a secret writers' group, but if she revealed any of the members she'd have to wear a penis hat for an entire day. Ann Aguirre nodded enthusiastically to this (I'm thinking she's one of the secret members). Their books rock the planet. Total fan here. 

A couple months ago I went to listen to mystery writer J.A. Jance talk. I hadn't even heard of her. She has this laugh, this crazy laugh that bursts out of her. I jumped in my seat the first time I heard it. Her author talk made me laugh (because of her laugh) and cry. What is up with these authors cracking my super tough exterior? A coworker of mine loaned me one of her books. Loved it! I told my mom and we just did a buddy read of Edge of Evil. I confess I read it in a couple days. I tried to pace myself, but Jance has an easy writing style and a great main character in Ali Lawson.

Do you have a list of authors you would love hear talk? Here are few on my list. Craig Johnson, Katie McGarry, Patricia Briggs, Kim Harrison, Kristen Ashley, Richelle Mead, Nalini Singh....

How about all you authors and future authors out there, can you see yourself giving an author talk? I can totally see myself standing up at a podium cursing at the microphone/sound system and having a great time.

"By Victorvoice (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons"