The Long Way Around…

“When it comes to fighting, physical strength really has very little to do with it. One of the tenets that judo is founded upon is “Maximum efficiency, minimum effort.” That has really defined my career. It is the foundation of all the techniques and everything I do. It’s one reason why I don’t get tired. It’s one reason why I am able to fight girls who are a head taller than me, or chicks who are on steroids. People who cheat or dope lack the one thing every true champion must have: belief. No drug or amount of money or favoritism can ever give you belief in yourself.” — Ronda Rousey (My Fight / Your Fight)

First things first, my flash mob idea for the mascot did get approved for the school Fall Fundraiser. That’s the good news. The not so good news is that I missed the memo that being a mascot is apparently like being in Fight Club. The mascot is not to (publicly) discuss being mascot. ;) So while there will be video and photos shared—from here on out— they won’t be coming from me. All I’ll say about that is… image is everything. :) Also, there’s a good lesson out there about trying to be something you’re not… :)

Secondly, I read a REALLY great book this past week. I’d heard about Ronda Rousey’s biography from Brian Johnson, a philosopher I follow who takes great books, on being great, and breaks them down into bite-sized chunks. Something about this particular note he did stuck out at me and so I decided to read the book—despite the fact that I assumed it’d be all about MMA and the UFC, which I’m not particularly a fan of. I’m not necessarily not a fan either— it’s just that watching two people beat the hell out of each other isn’t really my idea of fun. But then, upon digging further, I read that Ronda was a Judo champion. And somehow that made it different. Although maybe it really isn’t. :)

Also, during the first disagreement I ever had with my husband he dubbed me a ‘verbal Judo Master.’ It stuck, and well, I really felt like Ronda Rousey and I had something in common. ;)

All BS and sarcasm aside—apart from the verbal Judo part—(I can go a few rounds) Ronda’s story is pretty amazing and very inspiring and I could not put the book down. Her words made me question a lot about my life in regard to where to be soft and where to be hard. Particularly in the parenting arena. I loved her mom. Although, fair warning, in this day and age her style of parenting isn’t likely to be highly regarded.

In addition, there were great bits of wisdom on vulnerability and passion— and how to use them to your advantage. But my biggest takeaway was something she said about not allowing others to project their insecurities and limitations onto you. This lesson is one that has shown up again and again for me and I’m pretty much past ready to be done with it. So, it was perfect timing. And the perfect book.

Lastly, this is the point at which I should probably market talk about the book I’m working to meet deadline on. Instead, I’ve decided to save that for the newsletter which comes out Thursday. It’ll include a Kindle giveaway, the first chapter of Anywhere With You… and probably a few other things. :)

P.S. One of my favorite passages from My Fight/Your Fight.  

“I lost my second judo tournament. I finished second, losing to a girl named Anastasia. Afterward, her coach congratulated me.

“You did a great job. Don’t feel bad, Anastasia is a junior national champion.”

I felt consoled for about a second, until I noticed the look of disgust on Mom’s face. I nodded at the coach and walked away.

Once we were out of earshot she lit into me. “I hope you know better than to believe what he said. You could have won that match. You had every chance to beat that girl. The fact that she is a junior national champion doesn’t mean anything. That’s why they have tournaments, so you can see who is better. They don’t award medals based on what you won before. If you did your absolute best, if you were capable of doing nothing more, then that’s enough. Then you can be content with the outcome. But if you could have done better, if you could have done more, then you should be disappointed. You should be upset you didn’t win. You should go home and think about what you could have done differently and then next time do it differently. Don’t you ever let anyone tell you that not doing your absolute best is good enough. You are a skinny blonde girl who lives by the beach, and unless you absolutely force them to, no one is ever going to expect anything from you in this sport. You prove them wrong.” — Ronda Rousey (My Fight / Your Fight)

What’s happening…

“We are never more fully alive, more completely ourselves, or more deeply engrossed in anything, than when we are at play.” ― Charles E. Schaefer


I was just thinking that you should know I did such a good job at playing mascot that I got invited back tomorrow to do it again.  :) BUT that’s not all! I also got “promoted” and I’ll be dressing up as another animal with our local junior high and their cheerleaders next week. When I told my husband about my promotion he asked if I thought I might be taking this whole thing a little too far. It’s the only way, I assured him. And then I informed him (side note: he really is my biggest supporter) that I’ve already been “booked” for the Halloween dance and of my (yet-to-be approved) plans to perform with the school staff. At first, I considered Thriller. But then I got to thinkin’ that this generation likely knows little in the way of MJ and would probably prefer the ridiculous Watch Me Whip/Nae Nae song. I think I can handle it. My kids and I have already got it down.  ;)


In book news…a thing or four:

  1. Bedrock is FREE via Amazon from 9/29/15- 10/2/15.
  2. I’m excited to say that as of October 1st I’ll be joining the Inkslinger family—alongside an impressive list of authors. This is also proof that persistence pays as I have been turned down for representation two times previously. I guess the third time’s the charm.  
  3. I have so many open giveaways I thought it might be helpful to list them in one place— with links. There’s the this or that giveaway on Instagram. The Kindle giveaway for newsletter subscribers. The signed paperback giveaways on Goodreads. And a copy of last weeks read, The Good Girl. 
  4. I”ll be signing at The Texas Book Festival on 10/17/15 at 1PM. Details to come.

51E+UQ4Ld1L._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Lastly, this week I am reading After You, the follow up to one of my most favorite books of all time. Written by one of my most favorite authors of all time. After You releases today in the U.S. and I stayed up ’til a very unhealthy hour when my copy hit my Kindle App at midnight last night. I’m 34% of the way in and so far I love it. But then again, I love every. single. thing. Jojo Moyes writes. Everything. Aside from keeping my children alive, completing the writing of my own novel (which btw, have I mentioned is up for pre-order?;), and being an animal— not much else will happen until I’m done reading After You. I know it’s going to be that good.

So, for now, that’s all she wrote.  Hope you have a great week.

Book Review:The Good Girl, Something Personal & A Giveaway…

“I know how betrayal and disillusionment feel, when someone who could give you the world refuses even a tiny piece of it.” ― Mary KubicaThe Good Girl

18812405This past week I read The Good Girl and I LOVED it. I particularly loved how I wrote last week (prior to opening up this novel) about how I enjoy being inside all of the character’s minds— and how I appreciate having to work for it.  Ask and you shall receive. This book certainly did the trick. I can’t imagine that it’s easy to pull off a story of this nature—one told from so many angles— but it was done amazingly well. And truthfully, after I committed publicly to reading and reviewing a book a week I got rather nervous given all that I have going on.  Thankfully, this one turned out to be rather difficult to put down and that made keeping my word not so hard which I appreciate. In fact, I liked it so much I’m giving away a copy below. Just because. To recap what I’ve said before, I don’t know the author, and I purchase the books I read, review and giveaway.

FullSizeRender-1The photo to the left is proof that it’s never too late to do something you’ve always wanted to do. In high school I dreamt of being the school mascot. The trouble was a girl with a baby wasn’t exactly what the school had in mind as the epitome of school spirit. :) Not to mention that there was the baby, and a job, and well, school to consider. Nonetheless, it has still been a bucket list item of mine. And tomorrow I will get to check it off when I don the costume at my children’s school. Not only do I get to be mascot, but I get to act a fool, and give lots and lots of hugs in the process. Also, my kids are incredibly excited. I’m killing so many birds with one stone. ;) That said, I’m curious about your bucket list items. See the giveaway below. Up next for me (fingers crossed) on a bigger scale…I really want to visit Machu Picchu within the next year or two…

Lastly, or sort of lastly, an excerpt from my upcoming novel Anywhere With You in the form of bad poetry.

It’s up for pre-order now.


And for the giveaway… click here. 

P.S. I’m doing an exclusive giveaway for newsletter subscribers. I thought I’d keep it a secret… but instead I’ll just tell you that one of them are going to receive a little product that Amazon is releasing on 9/30/15. It rhymes with the word dindle. ;) Which by the way I just googled to make sure was actually a word and eek, for sure… um, yes it is. It figures. :) Anyhow, the winner will be announced in the next monthly newsletter which will go out on 10/8/15. You can subscribe here. 

What to watch…

“She wanted to see what would happen if she blogged everyday for a week. So she did.”— Me. ;)

Whenever I’m intensely in the thick of the writing process (working on a novel) I watch A LOT of film. I consider it scratching as described in the book The Creative Habit.

One thing that I particularly love above film (and I’m sure there is a correct and proper term—I just don’t know what it is) is its ability to show without telling. It is one thing I’m trying to improve upon in my writing—but find difficult. This is also one of the reasons that most of my novels are written in third person, omnipresent tense. I like to see what’s going on in all of the character’s heads. Not so different than in real life. ;) The trouble is, in my opinion writing this way is much more difficult than writing in first person where it’s more acceptable to hand it over, so to speak.

But I’m not a fan of just handing it over. I want to have to work for it and vice versa. However, I’m not sure that readers always enjoy this. ;) Or if they do—it needs to be done really well.

For example, in The Age of Adaline (which I’m about to talk about below) there’s a scene where the camera pans in on a number of locks on the front door. This very brief scene infers something to those that are paying attention. It shows us insight as to the character— without directly handing it over. This is my favorite aspect of art. To figure out how to do the same with words can be a rather difficult challenge. Still, I try. :)

That said, I thought I’d share a few (or three) films I adored recently:


Oh my, Philomena. What to say? The day I watched Philomena I was expecting a delivery, which as it turned out arrived exactly as the movie was ending. It was both good and bad timing as I answered the door in full on ugly cry. Standing before me was a middle-aged Cuban man who spoke kindly in broken English and was understandably quite perplexed. But for a lover of words this experience showed me the beauty of not using them. I simply moved to the side, pointed to the TV, and uttered something along the lines of ‘that damned movie’ to which he offered a look of understanding and gently patted me on the back. All the things delivery people must see. Ironically enough, just an hour and a half earlier, about twenty minutes in to the film, I had wondered why in the hell I was watching it. But by the end, I recalled and quite unexpectedly I might add what it had been like to be fourteen years old, knocked up, and in the belly of a very old building with an ancient nun teaching class— all the while questioning how in the hell you ended up there. Shame was the answer. If not yours then certainly someone else’s. 

Love & Mercy. 

Brian Wilson’s story, my God… The power of love. The power of loving a person, a vocation—and the perseverance and grit it takes to do both.

The Age of Adaline. 

I loved everything about this movie. The imagery. The absurdity. The story. The history. The messaged tucked neatly within. Loved all of it.

Love Sweet Love. And The Choice We Have In It All…

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” ― Lao Tzu

I’ve searched for a way to explain my take on the difference between falling in love and staying there for a very long time— and quite honestly I’ve never felt qualified to write about it in a non-fictional setting (i.e. here.) Nor do I really want to. It’s personal, and it’s private— and mostly likely I assume it’s fairly subjective.

However, the novel I’m working on is very much along the lines of exploring this topic.

Falling in love is easy. We’re wired that way. I mean… for the future of humanity (up until recently) doing so has mostly been necessary. Nonetheless, it’s fun, it’s sweet, and it’s delicious.

Staying there however has gotten the rap for being less so. Which is something (as I mentioned above) I’ve wanted to address for a while. So I’m writing a fictional account in the form of a follow up to a coming of age story I wrote in 2014.

The ending of this story has yet to be written. But here’s a hint as to what I think the short answer is: KEEP it delicious and fun. :)

If you want more than that… I’m going to have to suggest reading the book. :)

In the meantime though, here is an amazing non-fictional (and more serious) account to tide you over. ;)

Book Review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

“When you come across something that you cannot part with, think carefully about its true purpose in your life. You’ll be surprised at how many of the things you possess have already fulfilled their role. By acknowledging their contribution and letting them go with gratitude, you will be able to truly put the things you own, and your life, in order. In the end, all that will remain are the things that you really treasure. To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose.” 
― Marie KondoThe Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing


I know I said short book reviews and I assure you this will be the longest you’ll ever see. This one simply has a story behind it…

I almost feel like everyone and their mother has heard at least something about this book at this point. As for me, I started my (extreme) decluttering journey last December.

I’ve pretty much always equated clutter to chaos in my life and have never been much of a fan of either.

For sometime now, I’ve held the notion that our things have energy and this energy affects us—one way or another.  We expend energy owning our stuff and/or lugging it around. And there’s a cost of ownership.

Over the past decade I’ve lost a handful of immediate family members. I ended up being the one to clean out the contents of their homes (and lives) after they died. I guess once you go through this it sort of makes you ask yourself what is important and what isn’t in terms of what we own—but more importantly  you realize how your loved ones will likely feel when it comes time to do the same for you.  It’s tough dismantling a persons life and the contents they held dear. Incredibly tough.

Still, for all of my impracticalities I can actually be somewhat practical. So, admittedly, when I picked up a book whose premise (I had heard) was basically: if you don’t love it (and by that I mean hard love) and it doesn’t bring you joy—it has to go… I wound up in hands on hips, can’t catch my breath, wait a minute… she’s saying what mode.

Thankfully though, I appreciate a good challenge and so I read the book. It didn’t take long to realize that the author’s philosophies made complete sense. And thus began the remodel. This was a whole other life changing and revelatory process. One, however, that worked its magic.

For a very long time I wanted a bigger house. I thought this was part of the answer to my life’s problems. Too many people in too small a space. Now, having raised two of my children into adulthood I understand the immense value of having had a smaller home. It forced us to be closer than we would’ve been otherwise. For better or worse at times—but overall I believe better.

If only I’d understood living and the art of decluttering in the way that Ms. Kondo describes in her book— it surely would have saved me a lot of guilt over the years about getting rid of things and my leanings toward minimalism.

One of life’s greatest and most difficult lessons for me has been knowing when to hang on and when to let go. I found this book and the process of doing the work incredibly cathartic— and as she states in the title, life-changing.

The most beautiful thing on loss and grief I’ve ever read. 

“Take it from an old guy. The waves never stop coming, and somehow you don’t really want them to.” 

I think this is arguably one of the most accurate (for me) and beautiful pieces on loss and the way grief works that I’ve ever read. 

I wish I could attribute it back to the person who wrote it but all I know is that it came from Reddit.

It has turned out to be very poignant this week as I stumbled upon a jewelry box of my Grandmother’s I hadn’t yet opened. The contents are evidence of a life well lived—but also of stories I will never know—because there’s no one left to ask. 

And then came this…


Change did come…

“I think of life as a good book. The further you get into it, the more it begins to make sense.” ~ Harold Kushner

Change did come. As change does…

Actually, I prefer the term evolution. It sounds nicer than the ‘C word’ which many of us (that would be me) are typically so afraid of— if and when it has anything other than what we deem a positive connotation.

That said, I’ve partly decided what to do with this space other than simply share details of my life that get me in trouble write about my life.

For the past several months I have done a really poor job of reading as much as I Iike and/or need to be. I let other things (remodel, summer, life, work, and so forth) get in the way. And it wasn’t good. When I’m not reading… I’m not the same.

Not to mention the fact that being a reader is a huge part of being a writer.

That said, I decided to challenge myself by re-committing to reading a book a week (likely mainly fiction) and blogging a short review here—in addition to other relative happenings in my life. Mostly though, expect more and more book stuff— in the form of excerpts and bad poetry. :)

I’m going to do my best to have the first book review post up later this week which ironically enough is non-fiction and about change. And life-changing it was.

A side note on books I read/review: I personally choose and purchase them. And I’m unapologetically diverse. This isn’t going to become a traditional book review site.  There are so many great ones out there as it is. In addition, you won’t see negative reviews here. If I don’t like a book, I won’t write about it. Full disclosure: This is sort of all about me. :) My intention is not only that I meet my own reading goals—but also that I connect with readers who are on a similar page— as I tend to read books akin to those I aspire to write. Genre-wise, I mean. Not always. But usually. 

Lastly, a few housekeeping items in regard to books I’ve written…

SWY Sale

Adobe Photoshop PDF

ATB Kindle Countdown

  • There are several signed paperback giveaways going on over on Goodreads and a gift card giveaway on Instagram.

Oh and speaking of bad poetry…



I think that just about covers it.

For now. :)

A Change Is Gonna Come.

The act of regularly opening yourself up in full view of an army of strangers is choosing to be exposed; to consent to have one’s unprotected innards trespassed upon and rooted through. This vulnerability comes at a great personal price, one that is never really ever repaid. The writer is always in the red.” — John Pavlovitz

This quote comes from a great piece titled: Thank You For Bleeding: A Love Letter To Writers

For the past six months or so (maybe probably longer) I’ve really struggled with what to do with this space. This question has been banging about as so much has changed for me since I started writing here, nearly four years ago. Having recently transformed the space around me, I realized that in a sense, doing so, has transformed me personally. Or vice versa. What came first, the chicken, or the egg… it appears the jury is still out on that one.

Originally, when I started blogging in 2008 (anonymously and in a different space) I wrote about the trials and tribulations (and the fun!) of raising a large family. But then that family grew up (and really deserved their privacy in the process) and thus that blog evolved into this one, a space about the trials and tribulations (and the fun) of me growing up.

The main challenge in this has always been that my life is not a one woman show. Thankfully. And I’m very protective of the supporting cast. Which means that whenever I’ve written about my family and I’ve put it out there…well, there’s always been a bit of ickiness associated with doing so. The line with what feels right and what feels wrong has always been a bit too thin for my liking. I’m fine with being judged. I’m even fine with a certain lack of privacy. But I’m not fine with the people I love most in the world not having theirs— and it being my fault.

Secondly, not only have I evolved… so has the audience. I see the search terms. The shift is in part due to the fact that when I started writing here I hadn’t yet published works of fiction—works which may or may not be congruent with my personal life— and/or the things I write about in this space. The two, at least for me, (fic and non-fic, real life and make believe) are very different animals— and it can be dangerous when those lines become blurred. It can also make it a tad bit difficult to be brave and truthful in your storytelling. Which is one reason I love writing fiction so much. There are fewer people to protect when sharing your brand of crazy. For the most part, it isn’t personal.

And the truth of the matter is that writing fiction (messy, messy fiction;) has always been the path I’ve intended to take. I like making things up. Which means that I need to be a little more careful about the (non-fic) stories I tell (on the interwebs) and whom I tell them about. It’s time I separate the two to a degree.

As for what that means for this space… I don’t yet know.

I only know that a change is coming… and that I’m beyond grateful for the lessons I’ve learned, for the ability to share those lessons, and for the changes that doing so has brought.

Being right was never the point. 

“Would you just stay with me? Stay with you? What for? Look at us! We’re already fighting!

Well that’s what we do! We fight! You tell me when I’m being an arrogant son of a bitch and I tell you when you’re being a pain in the ass! Which you are, 99% of the time. I’m not afraid to hurt your feelings, you have like a two-second rebound rate and you’re back doing the next pain in the ass thing.

So, what?

So it’s not gonna be easy, it’s gonna be really hard. And we’re gonna have to work at this everyday, but I wanna do that because I want you.”― Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook

The point was never about being right. 

On the subject of relationships and making them work (putting abuse, betrayal, and the extremes aside) I’m certainly no expert. In fact, I don’t know much. At all. 

But I do know at least one thing…

Every partner you’ll ever have has the potential to be so horrible that you want to kill them… or at the very least plot it out. (I’m kidding, about murder, of course. But if you’ve ever been married for any longer than two seconds, you get me.) 

Or the potential to be so wonderful that you want to be with them forever. 

The part they are showing to you at any given time (for better or worse) has to also be active within you. It’s a reflection of sorts. Whatever the issue at hand is—it’s always on some level about the relationship you have with yourself. Understanding that relationship is the best gift you can offer. To the both of you. 

You can blame the other person for their wrongdoings leading to your shortcomings if you want. It’s easy. I’m confident you’ll find ten-thousand forms of evidence to prove your point. :)

But it matters not. Ultimately, you are where you are because of the choices you made. No one wants to hear this, I know. But once you figure it out you’ll likely find yourself a whole lot happier. 

And sometimes even right. :)