Friday, September 28, 2012

7 Days Equals One Weak

I can't believe it. We've been back from vacation for seven days...yep that's a "weak"...

See, jet lag is hitting me hard...the older I get the harder it hits. And the 9 hour time difference isn't feeling so good-- even now. I'm hoping that after sleeping in on Saturday I'm going to feel a whole lot better and not so whimpy... I know it's hard to feel any sympathy for someone who just got back from a funtastic vacation but there's a reason to not feel so unsympathetic...I won't get another day off for a while...

Anyone else get hit hard by jet lag?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Denmark in the fall

One of the things I love about Europe is the colors. We never see brick buildings painted...but the Danes paint the buildings yellow, blue and even red. It's really pretty especially when they have flowers growing up the sides of their walls.

What do you think? Do you like the bricks painted or left au naturale?


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey

I read the first two books: Fifty Shades of Grey and Fifty Shades Darker.

I only had to read the first one for my book club but once I got into it, I just kept going. The first page was the hardest part for me to get through. I really didn't like the way the author started out by describing the main character by having her standing in front of a mirror and talking about herself. But...who am I to judge because like I said, when I got past the first page I was okay with the story. I'd never read anything with so much "adult" content...but that didn't bother me, in fact I thought it was interesting...from an educational viewpoint or considering it from a research perspective ;D

Of course, being the Stephen King fan that I am, I was hoping for a little more action--maybe a vampire, werewolf, or zombie to pop out sometime...but--unfortunately--nothing like that happened.

I didn't know much about the books, just what my girlfriends were telling me..."You have to read the book(s)".

But, when my son told me the books were written as fan fiction for the Twilight stories, and once I thought about it, it all began to make sense. Of course Christian Grey is a bit dangerous, overly controlling, charismatic, extremely wealthy and extraordinarily handsome...sound familiar?

Anastasia Steele is a young, inexperienced student...another similarity?

They have an immediate attraction for one another that transcends Christian's unwholesome "hungers".

Christian's mother is a doctor...his younger sister is a vibrant, fun-seeking young woman who he has a special bond with.

It all sounds so familiar...doesn't it?

I thought the first book was better than the second (sort of like Twilight over New Moon) but I'm thinking about reading the third novel...it seems like the action will pick up in that story...at least that's what the ending of the second story leads me to believe. But...I haven't quite made up my mind. It was easy for me to read the first two...I was sitting on airplanes for about two days...and needed something to occupy my mind...besides The Avengers, Prometheus, and J. Edgar . . . but those are a few more blogposts waiting to be written.

Anyone want to comment a little on the third book in the series?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Jelly...fish, sharks and sailing! YIKES is that a vacation?

Ahhhhh.....most people love to go on vacation. .. Not me. I love to BE on vacation.

GOING--that's another thing entirely. See, I think flying is for the birds.

I always feel queasy on airplanes--I know, I'm a whimp. But I need to take motion sickness tablets to keep from having to use that little bag. You know the one. It's stored in the seatback in front of me. :( I know...gross!

But it's true.

Then I usually catch a cold. So with a runny nose, I'm usually spending my time off from work trying to get over my cold.

That's why when my hubby asked me to go with him, half-way around the world, I hesitated...it's hard to want to do something when you know it's going to make you sick.

So, call me a whiner. I am. And I know it's hard to feel sorry for a whinny whimp...I know it makes me mad to have to admit it. I'm the worst.

But even though we hit turbulence and I felt fairly lousy when we landed and--yes--I ended up with another cold to battle in the frigid temps of Denmark, I had a funtastic time!

We did all sorts of fun things that I'll share over the next week or so but here are a few photos to show you some of what we did....

We went sailing. Yep, first time I've ever gone on a sailboat. I always thought it was a relaxing thing to float around in a boat being propelled through the water and the waves with nothing more than a large piece of fabric flapping up over your head...in the wind.

I've always thought of myself as more of a water sports type of person...you  know, waterskiing, wakeboarding, innertubing...I had no idea sailing was a sport. Now, I've learned the error of my ways.

My husband even got to take the helm, or rudder, or whatever it is on a sailboat.

When it got a little rough, Soren took the wheel--thank God!

As you can see, the boat was tilted to the side, yeah this was just the beginning.




We sailed from Denmark to Sweden...yep, in the ocean!

A family voyage across the water, with someone who gets motion sick...

Luckily, I didn't even have to lean over the side of the ship...except to look into the water to see the fish.

:D That's definitely worth a smiley face, especially since the boat was tilted so far on its side a couple of times that I asked if it could flip over like Johnny Depp's The Black Pearl.

You can't really tell in my pictures how far we were on our side because--at those moments--I wasn't taking photos . . . I was hanging on so I wouldn't slip into the sea.

Yeah...I was hanging on for dear life...that was fun...no seriously...that was the best part of the journey.


I had to put my camera away and zip it up tight because I didn't want it going overboard if I lost my grip, which was very possible since my feet were edged up against one railing--the one at the side tilted toward the water and I was holding on to the rail up over my head (good thing I've been doing some weight lifting to train for that triathlon) and hoping I wasn't going to fall in.

I didn't.

But what's the worst that could happen?

I asked.

Soren said we could get wet. Yeah, I knew that part. What had me a little on edge was when he told me that this was the season of the jellyfish in Helsingor. Yeah, I even took a couple of pictures of a few I saw right along the walkway.


Yes, those are jellyfish. I'd never seen one -- well, except in an Aquarium. Oh and then I stupidly asked if they had sharks in this water. Soren smiled and reassured me, "Yes of course."

"What?!"

He grinned, "They're only small sharks."

Oh good.

We made our way to Sweden and went ashore to get coffee and pastry. Yes, we needed a little sustenance before making our way back to Denmark.

When we made it back to the safe shores of Elsinore, it was getting dark. That was okay. At least I couldn't see the jellyfish on my way back to the cottage.

So that was my first experience with sailing the high seas. What a fun way to spend a day. Thanks to my hubby's cousin: Soren.









Friday, September 21, 2012

September 21st

It's my hubby's birthday...and mine :D

Yeah, it's true. My hubby and I ...we share more than our house, our lives, our goals...we share the same birthday. It seems we were just made for each other.

So we will be doing something special today...I'm sure of it...well, at least I hope so.

And, it's not just odd that we share the same birthday...two of our kids share the same birthday too.

Nope, they're not twins...they are like me and my hubby...they just share the same date for their birthday.

Odd coincidence....?

Well, it goes further than that.

My brother and sister share the same birthday...nope, they're not twins either.

It's a very strange phenomena in my family...shared birthdays...

What do you think...weird or Onederful . . . as in sharing the same "one"derful day? Okay, I'm a dork...no denying the truth.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Scare Tactics

So, a friend of mine was telling me that her son recently lost his first tooth and they had to have "the talk". You know the one, the one about the Tooth Fairy.

She wanted him to hide his tooth and look forward to the thrill of finding a little money beneath his pillow the next morning. But then they got to talking and she told him he had to always remember to brush his teeth or they would rot out of his head. (Okay so maybe that's not a lie--technically--but it is a scare tactic...right?)

I'm just curious...are there any mother's out there willing to talk about things they've told their kids to get them to do something...and used a little scare tactic to get the job done...? Doi you think it's a good idea to scare kids into doing something . . . ?

I have to admit, I once told my son he couldn't cut the cat's whiskers or she'd die...

He thought they were too long and wanted to cut them. I was afraid he'd poke her in the eye with the scissors. I was frantic..."No, she'll....die!" I told him. Now, it didn't hurt him and it might have saved the cat's . . . life...or at least her eyesight.

So, I don't know....is a little lie--okay?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

WICKED WEDNESDAY - Haunted History

So, Halloween is just around the corner and it got me thinking...about haunted houses, scary stories and haunted histories...

Do any of you live in a haunted house? Have you ever visited a haunted location? Do you even believe in hauntings, ghosts, or ghouls...?

I think it would be fun to have a ghost story contest here on my blog for the first couple of weeks of October, with real prizes and frightening tales.

How 'bout you? Would you want to play?

Let me know, if there's enough interest I'll put the contest together.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Fifty Shades

So I just downloaded the book on my kindle. I don't know if I'll like it. . . or even what I'll think but everyone's talking about it so I want to know what all the hype is about and I don't think it's fair to judge a book by its cover or its hype so...I'm going to find out for myself what all this talk is about.

Have you read the book...are you willing to admit it...? What did you think?

I'll let you know when I'm done...


Monday, September 17, 2012

Wordstock

It's just around the corner....

Wordstock is coming.

Check it out here.

Ticket sales begin September 12th so don't miss out.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Earth-Friendly Friday

Here's a great way to put old clothes to use...simply cut them up :D into shoe string strips and use them to create a latch hook rug, pillow or home accessory. It's a great way to have your favorite skirt become a lasting part of your home. And, it won't be filling up the landfill.

Check this out:

Here's Beth busy crafting away instead of throwing away her old clothing.


And here are the strips of old clothing she's using. She simply puts them in a basket and away she goes: latching the pieces into her cloth.




It's still a work in progress but better a work to be completed than a stack of old clothing in the dump.

Way-to-go Beth!!!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

SCBWI Upcoming Events in Portland, Oregon

September 8th:  Craft Workshop and Overview of Hamline Low-Residency MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults

When:  9:30 a.m to 1:00 p.m.
What:  Craft Workshop and Overview of Hamline Low-Residency MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults
Where:  Attic Institute, 4232 Southeast Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97215
Cost: $25.00 (fees go directly to Hamline)



September 15th: SCBWI Oregon Open House: Got Genre?

When: 1-4 p.m.
What: A chance to discuss SCBWI Oregon, writing, and more. See the event description on our website for more details, such as who is manning the various tables at the open house!

Cost: Free!Where: Multnomah Arts Center Auditorium (7688 SW Capitol Highway, Portland, OR 97219)


September 28th: Illustration Connection
Sold out!



September 29th: New Member & Beginner Tea: "Scones and the Secrets of Writing for Children"

When: 10:15 am to 1:15 pm
What: All new members and beginners are invited to a workshop describing the basics of writing for children and young adults.  We will have author Addie Boswell talk about picture book writing, author Barbara Kerley talk about non-fiction, Emmalisa Sparrow (YA editor at Beyond Words) talk about YA, and Nicole Marie Schreiber (MFA in Writing from Vermont College) talk about middle grade.

Cost: $7 for members, $12 for nonmembers
Where: Wilsonville Public Library Rose Room, 8200 SW Wilsonville Road, Wilsonville, OR 97070



September 29th: PAL EVENT: Tears, Sweat, and True Blood: DIY Marketing in a Post-Twilight World

When: 3-5 PM
What: Holly and Shiraz Cupala

In this tandem presentation, Holly Cupala will share her experience building her brand and fan base, and marketing both her debut novel, TELL ME A SECRET (2010), which launched with over 5,000 fans and 150 bloggers, as well as her second novel, DON'T BREATHE A WORD (2012).  In addition, her marketing muscle and husband, Shiraz Cupala, will share his insights from 20 years of micro-publishing, media production, and online marketing both independently and for Microsoft and Nokia.

If you have a book coming out in the next few years, you won’t want to miss this dynamic duo.  Holly and Shiraz will send you home with concrete action items you can employ to give your book the best possible start.  Learn more about Holly and her books at hollycupala.com and on Twitter @hollycupala

Priority registration for PAL members will begin August 15th.  Registration for all other members will open September 3rd.  Reserve your spot early.  We expect this event to fill.

Cost: $12 (SCBWI Members only)
Where: Southwest Community Center, 6820 SW 45th Ave, Portland, OR

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Guatemalan Breakfast

I've never been to Guatemala but Kathryn has. So when she invited us over for a homemade Guatemalan breakfast, I was like, "What time?" and ready to go before the food was even cooked.


She didn't think I'd like it because everyone in my family says I'm a boring eater and not daring (especially when it comes to food)--I like my meat (cooked) and potatoes, a little too much - but when my hubby wants me to try squid, blood sausage, or pickled herring- (which we seem to always have in the fridge) and steak tartar-- (call me odd--but, like I said, I like my beef cooked) - so, I'm not into trying a lot of new things my husband recommends (very highly), believe me.

(Pickled Herring)


But this was different. Kathryn was intending on having the eggs cooked, not cracked raw over uncooked meat then sprinkled with capers and Kosher salt.

And, Kathryn was very clear that I didn't have to eat anything I didn't want to put in my mouth. But I ate it all--and a little more than I should have.

She made home made red and green sauce, tortillas and fried plantains. 



They sliced the plantains thinly and then fried them in oil, then dried them off and refried them: YUMMMMMM!

And the green sauce was made with tomatillos, cilantro, lemon juice, and lime juice. It was so light and refreshing with just a hint of spice :D Good thing I went for a run that morning.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Pics and Nit-wits

Okay, maybe I take too many photos. Maybe my kids are tired of me always including them in my posts, pictures and musings. Or maybe my kids are just Nit-wits...



Monday, September 10, 2012

Great News - Friend Gets Agent

Okay, so Kristin is a writer friend of mine and a wonderful critique partner who just recently joined forces with an agent (can we include Sandy's name?) to help her get her book out into the public.

I thought some of my writer friends might be interested to hear about the process that Kristin went through. So, Kristin, if you don't mind answering a few questions, we'd all appreciate it.

1)   How long have you been writing?
My whole life! But I started writing seriously right after I got married, fourteen years ago.

2) What made you think about linking forces with an agent and why?
 Though I’ve been writing for quite a while, I am pretty new to the marketing side of things. I knew I would need help navigating the submission process to all the different writing houses, and later, hopefully, negotiating a contract.
Also, like all writers, I prefer to spend my time writing, rather than submitting, and an agent’s expertise will certainly help with that.

2)   Was it a long process for you to find an agent - can you tell us a little bit about your journey?
It was a long process. I submitted each novel in waves, to five agents or editors. I got some good feedback but also some rejections that didn’t tell me very much. Eventually I realized I had no idea how to write a strong query or synopsis. Once I learned to do that, I got more positive responses.
I attended conferences through SCBWI and Whidbey Island Writers and met editors and agents that way. It helped me to find out what individual agents and editors are looking for, and their preferences for submissions.
I used Agent Query to find agents who were looking for certain styles and genres.
Finally, I learned about Sandy Lu through word of mouth and through various writing circles, and I thought she would be a good fit for my writing and style.
So yes, it took me a while to connect with a good agent, but luckily I kept writing throughout that time and have several novels that I can continue to submit. I also think I improved a lot as a writer.

3)   Can you describe "the call" and how you felt?
Sandy Lu, at L. Perkins Agency, emailed me to ask if she could call me sometime that week. Of course I was thrilled but I wasn’t sure she was going to offer representation. So when we spoke and she told me she’d love to represent me, I was over the moon! I could barely speak. I try to create a mood with sensory details and use a lot of specific imagery in my writing, and she let me know how much she likes my style of writing. It’s great to find someone who appreciates your technique.
I think it’s going to be a great fit!

4)   Can you give writers any tips on how to find the perfect agent?
Research! It’s true what’s said, that many rejections are due to your work not matching what the agent is looking for.
In the first few lines of the query, be sure to state that you are sending this specific project to them because you’ve read that it’s what they’re looking for, whether it’s genre or style of writing.

5)   Can you give any advice on pitfalls to avoid?
Try not to send your work out indiscriminately.  Really research where you’re sending your manuscript and make sure it’s what they’re looking for. Rejections can get really discouraging and make you want to give up on something that has a lot of potential.

6)         What did your husband/parents say when they found out you signed with an agent?
My husband is so proud. He told all the neighbors and everyone he sees. He also feels validated, because the time I take to write and meet up with my critique group and all the other writing activities I do have paid off.
My parents are really excited, too. They’ve always known about my lifelong love of writing, and so they are happy for me.

6)   Can you give us any hints/teasers about your novel?
It’s grounded in history, in Colonial America in the 1600s. For sixteen year old Anne, magic is mixed with every day life. Her village lies at the foot of an enchanted forest; ghosts and witches are among her acquaintances; and she discovers she possesses mysterious powers of her own. When her life, and the lives of her loved ones, become endangered, she tries to turn her back on this dark world, but the magic of the forest will not let her go that easily.

9) Do you have any tips for perfecting the craft for wanna-be writers out there?
It’s a cliché, but write! Write because you love it, and write the genre you love, whether it’s hot right now or not. Make it a priority every day like you would exercise. Find some readers; join a critique group. There are some good online resources as well, such as Critique Circle. They will encourage you to keep going, and also point out things you might not have seen for yourself.

10) Are there any last bits of advice I haven't covered here that you can share?
I think it’s important to remember to love writing, and not lose sight of why you started in the first place. That will come through in your writing.

 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Earth-Friendly Friday

Instead of taking - why not give-back to the community this fall?


WAYS TO VOLUNTEER THIS FALL:
1)    Oregon Food Bank – As the hub of a statewide network of 915 hunger-relief agencies. OFB serves all of Oregon and Clark County in Washington. Oregon Food Bank recovers food from farmers, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, individuals, and government sources. OFB then distributes the food to 20 regional food banks across Oregon. http://www.oregonfoodbank.org/

2)     The Nature Consortium – The Nature Consortium is a grassroots, community-based organization whose mission is to teach environmental lessons through the creative arts and hands-on conservation projects. They produce a Youth Art Program, an Urban Forest Restoration Project and the Arts~in~Nature Festival.  http://www.naturec.org/index.htm

3)     Portland Parks & Recreation – PP&R offers a variety of fun and rewarding volunteer opportunities at sites across the city. Annually, Portlanders volunteer over 450,000 hours.  Volunteer coaches, teacher aides, and mentors are always needed for their youth programs - and the parks, gardens, and natural areas welcome additional hands. For more information, contact Volunteer Services at 503.823.5121 or http://www.portlandonline.com/parks/index.cfm?c=38304

 
 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Book Review - Two and Twenty Dark Tales

Halloween is just around the corner - so, what better time to pick up a dark tale...or twenty...and sit down in a dimly lit room to read...?

Two and Twenty Dark Tales, published by Month9Books, is an anthology, where 20 authors team up to bring Mother Goose's nursery rhymes to life. These rhymes have always been dark but now they are even darker and, in my opinion, better. 

The Wish by Suzanne Young was my favorite of the tales maybe because it was a dark romance.

The Bad Thing about this book is that it won't be out until October 16, 2012.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Wednesday - words - State Nicknames

Here's a little fun trivia:



STATE NICKNAMES

Alabama------Yellowhammer State
Alaska---------The Last Frontier
Arizona-------The Grand Canyon State
Arkansas-----The Natural State
California-----The Golden State
Colorado-----The Centennial State
Connecticut-The Constitution State
Delaware----The First State
Florida--------The Sunshine State
Georgia-------The Peach State
Hawaii--------The Aloha State
Idaho----------The Gem State
Illinois---------The Prairie State
Indiana--------The Hoosier State
Iowa-----------The Hawkeye State
Kansas-----------The Sunflower State
Kentucky-------The Bluegrass State
Louisiana-------The Pelican State
Maine-------The Pine Tree State
Maryland---The Old Line State
Massachusetts--The Bay State
Michigan------The Great Lake State
Minnesota--------The North Star State
Mississippi--------The Magnolia State
Missouri-----------The Show Me State
Montana-----------The Treasure State
Nebraska--------The Cornhusker State
Nevada-----------The Silver State
New Hampshire--The Granite State
New Jersey---------The Garden State
New Mexico-------The Land of Enchantment
New York------------The Empire State
North Caroline------The Tar Heel State
North Dakota--------The Peace Garden State
Ohio---------The Buckeye State
Oklahoma---The Sooner State
Oregon-------The Beaver State
Pennsylvania--The Keystone State
Vermont------The Green Mountain State
Virginia---------The Old Dominion State
Washington-----The Evergreen State
West Virginia----The Mountain State
Wisconsin----------The Badger State
Wyoming----------The Equality or Cowboy State

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Mario Party - and Care Bear Stare

We had a family birthday party over the weekend to celebrate Jake's and Kara's birthday. So I made a Mario cake for Jake and a Kar(a)e Bear Stare cake for Kara.


Here's how I did it. First I cut out pieces of fondant to try to create Mario.






I need to work on the body-building to get better at this cake decorating thing. And, I did have one MAJOR cake fail along the way. My little Care Bear Imploded because I added pumpkin to the recipe. I can never leave good-enough alone. I'm always tweaking recipes--well this one didn't turn out. Major FAIL!


 So I was running out of time and had to bake another cake. I felt like I was a contestant on Chopped. Under the gun and time running out. I whipped up another bear in a hurry.

 Then my frosting, which was a cream cheese frosting, was a little runny - but no time to fix it. People were showing up. . .

 I put all three cakes out - so people could see things don't always turn out :( oh well...

 Jake's favorite cake was the flop.
So it was a happy day for Kara, Jake and Trevon!