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 (], via Wikimedia Commons"

Thursday, January 1, 2015

When life's kicking your butt, how about a theme song? [13] Rocking it out!

Hello 2015, you're going to be an awesome year filled with new adventures, family and friends, and many laughs. Just in case a jump start is needed, January is all about rocking out! 

Maybe you're jazzed about the resolutions you've come up with or maybe you're pumped that 2014 is finally over. No matter, let's get to the music because with music everything is just right. Oh, and I haven't settled on any resolutions yet. If you want to share yours, that's cool. 

My pick is Welcome to the Jungle by Guns N' Roses. Early in the football season the Seahawks still hadn't found their groove and then the opposing team's stadium had this song blasting. I bounced on my balance board and cheered. If any team is going to rally to a good and gritty rock song, it's the Seattle Seahawks, Everything clicked and all to the best soundtrack. 

My sister's pick is Love is a Battlefield by Pat Benatar. Remember the movie Legend of Billy Jean? 
Holy cow!

My mom's pick is Born in the USA by Bruce Springsteen. I can't help but think of some 80's sports movie, you know the athlete isn't supposed to amount to anything, but he's training harder than everyone else. And you know he's going to win the Gold. That or my mind goes to a Cheech and Chong movie. Either way, it's Springsteen. It's all good.

If you have a song to share, please do stop by! I'd love to add it to the playlist. Here's the youtube page with last year's playlist. Happy New Year! Let's make it a good one.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Rock Chick Chat Time!!! Rock Chick Revolution by Kristen Ashley! So good people!!

It's time for another Rock Chick Chat with Bookworm Brandee. We're diehard Rock Chick fans. Okay, we've also nominated ourselves honorary Rock Chicks on account of our pure love for the series. This time we're bringing you our fangirling over Rock Chick Revolution, the story of Ally and Ren. Also my favorite in the series. Book after book, Ally remained a mystery. We knew she was bad ass, hot, dangerous, and loyal to her girls. Ren on the other hand always seemed refined, powerful, hot, and dangerous. See where they overlap? These two are dynamite together. They say it like it is without trying to hurt the other but sometimes end up doing exactly that. Ren is connected to the world of crime. Ally bleeds blue, at least if you go by the family BBQ's and count how many cops she's related to. In Rock Chick Revolution, we discover who Ally really is, her dreams, and her fight to make them real. It's so good! So here's my chat with Brandee. Oh, did I mention I give this one 5 STARS? Yeah.

(Rob) Rock Chick mania! How is it that Ren is so different from the other Hot Bunch guys and still right in line with them? Ally is plain crazy, but not like Indy. Indy is just wild. Ally always seems to be in search of something. Her own HEA, her purpose in life, scumbags worthy of a knee to the nuts? All of those I think. I like how street Ally and Ren are when they bicker with each other. Not an ounce of composure when they tussle. I remember when she got pissed that Indy was in so much danger and instead of letting the police handle chasing the bad guys when they sped away she put the car in gear and went after them with angry gusto. Everyone was pissed at her, but she was going to get justice for her BFF. 

What do you think of the beginning, all that back story? I almost never like that, but Kristen Ashely gives us the goods so good. I want more of their history. 

Okay, gotta go to work and not act like a zombie. Rock Chick is a sleep thief! Every single book!

(Brandee) It was a bad day...because I had to work and all I wanted to do was read Ren & Ally!! Robyn, I may be a little bit in love with Ren. Yes, he is different than the other Hot Bunch guys and  yet still sooo much the same. Ally is crazy but I have to say I love her brand of crazy. She is definitely looking for something...but that she'd do anything to help someone she loves and never goes back on a promise...that's the good stuff. I am really enjoying getting to really know Ally...and Ren. Their bickering is righteous, as Ally would say. Her explanations of fights and talks with Ren crack me up.

You're absolutely right about KA giving the goods so good. I want more of their history too. I have to admit to crying when a certain scene is repeated...both because of the original scene and Ally's perspective of it. It has been rather interesting to learn what all Ally's been up to while all the other Rock Chicks were getting their HEA, huh? I thought it was telling when Ally said she and Indy knew each other's secrets...well, Indy knew *most* of hers. Why do you think she kept everything with Ren on the down-low? 

So much has happened and I'm only at 22%! I'm off to read...

I hope you had a zombie-free day! *ha* Really, I hope it was a great day! My day went by very quickly because we were so busy. I'm exhausted! *hahaha* I'm looking forward to a day of vegging and reading tomorrow. 

There always seemed to be another world Ally lived in while the other Rock Chick's got their HEA, I just wasn't sure what. I thought it was pretty amazing in the first Rock Chick when she was the one to find Rosie. She beat all the boys. I think she has good reasons for keeping her secrets, but I sort of think she also didn't want to ever be jealous of her girls and the only way to do that was to safeguard a few things. Or I could be over thinking it. 

So you're in love with Ren, huh? That fight with Luke over Ava in the parking lot was so dang awesome (a few books ago) and I remember Ava jumping to his aid, but doing it in a bossy hot chick way. I've been waiting for their story and I am just loving how different this one is mapped out. She isn't fighting her feelings. He isn't pulling out the handcuffs, yet. He's bossy in bed, but way into talking things through. It's just so dang good! 

(still Brandee) I'm at the 28 percent mark and I really have to get some sleep, so that means, I'll be up late again! Happy reading tomorrow!

I'm taking a time out to say he's breaking me, Robyn. I'm so mad at Ren right now. Really? Does he not consider his family if not job something that would put he and Ally at risk? And how could he not believe in her? Does he really not??

Okay, I'm going back in. More in the morning.

I'm sorry my email 'time out' didn't link onto this string. I sent it from my phone. :/ Anyway, I did find a nice stopping place - one where I was in love with Ren again. :) I'm sooo tired and I just can't put it down. It's one of my favorites in the series too.

I like how you said Ally always seemed to live in her own world - she's different than all the other Rock Chicks. I really like that KA gave her a book that is different than all the others. She is different. She doesn't fight her feelings - not exactly anyway. And Ren is one hot-headed Italian American hottie ;) but he's not your typical Hot Bunch guy. He's Ren. And she's Ally. *sigh* What did you think of his comment about her being the backbone?

Their first date? Classic! Especially the end of it - both at the restaurant and at home. ;) 

What are your feelings about Hank and Lee being so against Ally's chosen profession? Gotta say I wasn't real thrilled with Ren's initial feelings and then...he made me all melty right along with Ally.

What did you think about the family dinner that was ambushed? And how Ren handled things? And how Mal handled things with Ren?

We haven't seen a lot of Amalea yet, but I adore Ren's mom already!

Okay, I'm off to read until I can no longer hold my eyes open...

I'm tired and I haven't had nearly enough time with Ren & Ally today! *pouts* 

Tomorrow won't be much better as I'm attending a birthday celebration 'down the hill'. Hopefully I can squeeze in some time with this Rock Chick, Rock Chick, Rock Chick! *squee*

We gotta talk does  he always know what to say and when to say it??

I have a Rock Chick hangover. This installment is my top favorite along with the first one. Not as funny as Indy's book, but so much more emotional and something else, not sure what. 

Duke, man, Duke is the most huggable character in the entire series. Just thinking of him I get emotional. During one of his heavy scenes I was at the library waiting in a room with 3 best selling authors who were about to do a mystery writers panel. They were chatting about movie rights, not kidding, and I was trying not to bawl my eyes out! I realize maybe this was an opportunity to chat up authors, but the whole morning into afternoon I had been running around and it was my first opportunity to sit and relax. And it wasn't a Kristen Ashley talk. Nope. 

Ally is so laid back, she's my idol. She's the pretty girl version of Duke. She's also the perfect mix of Lee, Hank, and Indy. And Ren? He's top dog right now. I will have to re-read all the books and see if he's still the champ of all the Alphas in this series. I freaking love him! 

Oh my goodness, Dawn! How awesome was every single scene with Dawn and Ally. Okay, gotta go. Football Sunday! More RC chatting later. 

I had an epiphany about one thing that made Ally different from the other Rock Chicks...she's not as soft. She talks like Hot Bunch guy, right? She can be soft and mushy but her strength, inner and outer comes from a different place than the other girls'. She is BADASS! In a Hot Bunch guy badass kinda way. I guess she is the perfect mix of Lee, Hank, & Indy. And yeah, kinda the female version of Duke.

God, I loved this book. It was amazing in how perfectly it wrapped up everything. I'm so completely satisfied with how things are for all my Rock Chick friends. Ally and Ren's book left me with *that feeling* Ally kept talking about.

The Darius thing - I just didn't know how Ally was gonna straighten out his shit. But she did. Of course, it took a Rock Chick ride to do it, but she did it. And it made me warm with that feeling. :)

I was kinda pissed at Lee for all his big brother protectiveness. Although I wasn't surprised. I was kinda surprised Hank caved. Those two boys and their love for their sister also made me warm with that feeling. 

Omigosh, Dawn. Hell yeah, I loved all her scenes...particularly when she got put in her place. *haha*

Ren...*sigh* yeah, he's definitely top alpha for me as well. Funny enough, I can't tell you why. Maybe it's just the way that he and Ally fit? He can be bossy - but usually just in bed, where it doesn't bother Ally. (and wouldn't bother me either...just sayin') But maybe it's really because with the other Hot Bunch guys, they give their women what they need but they do so by beating them over the head with it until the Rock Chick capitulates. Ren...he just gave Ally what she needed in his own quiet beating over the head required. (although I wanted to beat her over the head in the beginning) What do you think it is that makes Ren top alpha?

Oh, and by the way, getting Duke's background...yeah, that explained so much. This whole group is who they are because of all the strong male and female role models they grew up with. It didn't matter if their dad wasn't in the picture or their mom died when they were young, there were all these other strong adults to step in, fill that role, and love 'em strong. That is family. They were all a family. (I'm getting the feeling the heat behind my eyes *sniff*)

I have a book hangover for sure. But the bright side is we can follow Mace & Stella to LA. :)

I got a little book depressed after I finished this one. The last Rock Chick. It was so good and fresh, nothing felt like a rewind of the other stories and there isn't another one to plan for next month! I know we get to follow Mace and Stella, but I want more Ally and Ren dammit! Okay, so that's my four day long rant that's been going on in my head. I can get back to our chat.

Ally was so much like the boys, she talked and thought like them. She wore the pretty underthings, but the girl was a kid sister raised by a tough  mom with a crazy best friend and two Alpha brothers. She's an alpha chick, that's what she is. Which is why I loved so much how she was with Ren. She never took on a fight with him just to win. If it meant something to him, she was good with it, but if it meant the world to her, she stayed true to herself. She didn't sell Ren or herself short. I know I was frustrated with both of them at different times, but I'm still wearing my rose colored glasses when I think back on it all. I can't remember what pissed me off! 

Ren's alpha-ness is a puzzle. He has some old fashioned ideas buried deep down in his upbringing that rears its head every now and then, but usually he's this equal opportunity male, give and take, share and communicate. Ally loves all his taking (goodness!), but not so much his communicating. 

The series did wrap up nicely, so I can feel free to re-read it whenever I want. We have to hit the Colorado Man series soon so I don't fall into another book depression. That's a real thing, you know. It's been so neat doing these buddy reads with you Brandee! Great books and awesome chats! Best football bet ever!

I'm with you on the book depression...definitely a hangover after finishing Ren & Ally. It's sad to think there isn't more Rock Chick for us. I know I'll re-read this series because it was *that* awesome. And yeah, we can follow Mace & Stella...but I'm still replaying scenes from Ren & Ally. And it's a week later?!? I was thinking about that scene where Tush is know the one. Damn, Ren is so freaking hot!

Ally - yeah, I think I most admire her and aspire to be like her. I love that she's just as much one of the guys as she is a Rock Chick. And I thought of you every time she was gonna cry - since neither of you like doing that shit. :) I really think they are my favorite couple because I adore how they are with one another. You're right about Ally never selling herself short with Ren. But he didn't either. They both took into account whether or not something was important to the other and never dug in their heels just because. I think, maybe in a way, they were the most mature. Does that make sense? 

And I've said it for every one of these books but I'm amazed at how fresh KA keeps things in every single installment. This one though, it takes the cake. *sigh*

YES! We will start the Colorado Man series next month so we can avoid book depression. There are so many KA books to choose from. AND we have books to buddy read from our two other football bets. :) I do agree though...this was the best football bet EVER. I'm thrilled to have lost because in the end, we both won! :)

Sunday, December 28, 2014

What a playlist for the year!!!

I wasn't ready for 2014. Each month took me by surprise, but a great soundtrack carried me through. I danced and sang and faced the world to a great beat ignoring my boys telling me to stop dancing and singing. Here's to another year of theme songs. If you have a theme you want to suggest, drop me a line, comment, tweet...I'm here and listening.

Here's the 2014 playlist on youtube. Rock on people! 

Oh, 2 out of 3 smiling in a picture with the boys and me is a win. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

When You Can't Walk Away

Years ago on a river rafting trip, I was standing next to a raging ice box dressed in a wet suit arguing, yes arguing, with a good friend of mine. I was an art student then and completely submerged in the world of creating art. Everything I experienced traveled an imagined canvas wonderland. People who knew me, knew this. For whatever reason I blurted out, "If I went blind I'd quit art." This sent my friend Myron into a total fit. "You can't quit art!" "If I'm blind, I'm totally quitting. Of course I am." "No, you can still paint." "How? No, I'll quit." We went back and forth. He argued with all his heart that an artist is an artist and you can't walk away from that no matter what. I argued that I wouldn't be able to see shit. Our other good friend Christine tried so hard to play a part in the argument, but she was too busy laughing her ass off. Remember, we were wearing wet suits. Everyone else on the trip was getting excited to climb into boats and we were fighting over my hypothetical blindness.

I think there are some things you can't quit no matter what. As much as I loved painting and drawing, I walked away. I'll return one day, but I don't hurt all the way through because I'm not working a new composition and daydreaming about colors. Okay, so I still do both of those things in my head, but creating stories, that I don't want to play any hypothetical games with. I make no money at this gig. I'm terrible at managing . . . every freaking thing, But I'll figure it out. I have to because I have to. That's what Myron thought painting was to me. And now I see he was right.

For December and on, I'm reading and writing (and holiday treat eating). I'm thinking of you all that are close to my heart and wishing I had more time in the day. I miss chatting and visiting blogs. And I'll be back to do those things. I wish you all a safe and happy holiday season. If you need me, I'm still here. Drop an email.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

When life's kicking your butt, how about a theme song? [12] Christmas favorites!

I wish everyone a wonderful December. This year I jumped back into the workforce after being a stay at home mom for over a decade. I also published two books, Shadow Town and Soul Twister. I was on track for more book releases and writing projects. Then my mom gig, that wonderful, exhausting, lucky job took over completely. I actually stopped thinking of myself as an author. Craziness! Recently a very sweet, yet mothering coworker told me she wanted so much for me, to find a nice doctor (not kidding), get a degree, and find a better job. "But I have a degree and I really like my job," I replied in a total whine and cracked up immediately. I imagined the future she wished for me and a single fear shot through me. There was no room for my writing dream in her pretty picture. So I remembered I'm a writer and I'm back at it. Promise. 

Baby It's Cold Outside by the Glee Cast! I just love this song!!

Sleigh Ride by The Carpenters! Classic and fun!

Christmas Wrapping by the Glee Cast

John Denver & The Muppets sing Christmas is Coming!
This Christmas by Nat King Cole always makes me so dang happy!

My mom initially chose a song by The Brothers Cazimero, but I couldn't find it on YouTube. Man. She went traditional after that, but you can't go wrong with Barbara.

My sister picked John Denver & the Muppets singing The Peace Carol. She's a total sap because she got all teary-eyed when I played the song.