Sunday, June 3, 2012

COLS Giveaway!!

If you came from, you're in the right place. If not, then you need to CLICK HERE to see what this contest is all about!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, May 10, 2012


On Tuesday night I had the pleasure of traveling to Chicago for the City of Lost Souls release party and book signing with Cassandra Clare. The event was a lot of fun, the model Judson Birza from the cover of COLS and the book trailer was there taking pictures and signing autographs. They had artists on hand to paint runes. There were giveaways and prizes. My favorite part was the Q & A with Cassie. You never really know what to expect when you're meeting someone for the first time, especially someone you hold in such high regard. (Have I ever mentioned that she's my author idol? I have...well...this is awkward.) Let's just say I was more than impressed with her. She's witty (I mean, of course she is, she writes teenage characters that are downright hilarious), and personable. She spoke of personal experiences and how they ended up in her books. She gave us some tidbits that will happen in City of Heavenly Fire (What do you mean a main character will die?? Say it isn't so!!), she gave out advice to young writers.

So- I went in idolizing Cassandra Clare for her writing, I came out loving her for her personality and dedication to her fans. AND! She told us she's working on a series with Holly Black. I also am seriously in love with Holly Black, so you can imagine my excitement over this.

I only got to meet Cassie for a brief second, I was number 200 in a line of nearly 400 fans. But she spoke to each fan on a personal level, asking them questions, listening to them. I was seriously impressed with this. I hope that one day when I'm finally published that I can be half as awesome as she is.

And with my genius foresight, I got an extra copy of COLS signed by both Cassie and Judson to give away on my blog. I don't think I want this to be an ordinary contest- so if you have any ideas on HOW I should give the book away, let me know!

And now for the pictures! Don't laugh, I'm not a model. :) My thoughts about City of Lost Souls will come after the pictures. I can't guarantee that there won't be SPOILERS, so if you don't want to know what happens, don't read it!

 Here's the cover model Judson signing my books! Doesn't he look just how you imagined Jace?
 Ahem- clearly the girl next to him is not a model. (She's a writer, which explains a lot!)
And here's Cassie signing some books!

And now for the SPOILERS!! Yes that's right, stop reading here if you haven't finished City of Lost Souls.






SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS! Don't say I didn't warn you.

Where do I begin with how much I loved this book? It literally had me on the edge of my seat. I laughed (A LOT), I cried, I was disgusted, I mourned the characters, I was devastated. COLS took me places I never imagined the story going.

My absolute favorite part of the book was when Jace came to Clary after killing Magdalena. It ripped my heart out to read about him falling to his knees in front of her and saying "It's me." That entire scene was powerful, illustrating their love for each other and the impossibility of Jace's binding to Sebastian.

Next favorite part? Clary stabbing Jace through the heart. Yes, I know, this is downright terrible! I can't help it though. Clary is such a strong character, and she knows that this is what Jace would want to happen, no matter the consequences. I envy her strength, her absolute conviction to do what is right.

You know what killed me even more than Clary and Jace? Magnus and Alec! I love them together, but I kind of always suspected that Alec's insecurity would be their downfall. I'm interested to see how this will all play out in the long run. Obviously Magnus has something going on that we don't know about, something with his father. Was his father a Shadowhunter? I'm also afraid that it will be Magnus who will die in COHF. If I had to bet money, I would guess either Magnus or Simon will die. I love both of them so much...I don't even want to think about it. Honestly, if I had to choose someone to die, it'd be Jocelyn. I never much cared for her or her selfish decisions.

Things that I can't wait to hear more about: Jace is on fire. And I don't just mean his looks. This whole heavenly fire thing he's got going on...that's interesting. I'm pretty sure it's going to be a major plot point. What about Brother Zachariah? He's someone we've met before in The Infernal Devices, I believe. But WHO? Simon has lost his mark of Cain. I can't see this ending well for him...I'd hate to see him die again.

Lastly- Maureen. Holy crazy bitch! She killed Camille! Yet another thing I can't see ending well. I really love how her character has evolved and suddenly become hugely important. I wonder who she will side with in the battle that's coming. My guess is the darkness, which would leave the fae, the vampires, and the dark shadowhunters on one side, and the shadowhunters, and werewolves on the other side.

Things aren't looking so great.

Those are my thoughts on COLS. If you've read it and want to further discuss, leave a comment. I love talking about this series!

All the best,

Saturday, May 5, 2012


It's been a while since I blogged- I'd like to blame that on working too much and the recent events in my life, but the truth is, I've become a recluse. Not that long ago I started rewriting a past manuscript, Stepping Stones. That's going quite well, thanks for asking! As of this second, I've written 37.265 words in said manuscript. I've changed the storyline up a bit. It's nothing drastic, but made some subtle changes that I think are significant. Long and short, I feel pretty damn good about this project. I'm not sure how long I've been working on it, but the writing is steady, the words are coming along, which is all I can really ask for. I don't let myself think about the other 3 books in the series that I'll have to rewrite when I'm done- that's not important right now...right? :)

In the midst of my rewriting, another story wiggled in the back of my mind, one that I couldn't stop thinking about. So, I wrote five pages just to let the idea out. Sometimes caged animals are feisty, devouring all our time and energy. So I gave the beast its freedom. As of right now, that manuscript has 17,151 words. I'm calling it Reflection Pond for now. It's like nothing I've ever written before. There are so many important characters that I had to make a character bio file- it's like I'm all grown up or something. I have notes now. Unheard of! This will be a YA fantasy series as well.

 As for my recluse status, well, it's hard to bang out an average of 10,000-13,000 words per week if I'm hanging out with friends and *gasp* having a life. I've actually replaced some of my social media time with exercise. Oh my gosh...I must be sick. Cardio? Jeesh... But seriously, I've sworn off leaving the house unless absolutely necessary. This writing thing better pan out, because it takes up all my free time. All I can say is at least I still enjoy it.

I have some exciting events coming up, and a semi-exciting true story (that involves near death!) that I'll be sharing over on The Stranger Diaries just to spread the love around. Look for that tonight or tomorrow, whenever I get around to it. As for the other stuff, I'm going to meet Cassandra Clare on Tuesday at the City of Lost Souls book release party. I can't even begin to say how excited I am to go. Cassie is my writing idol. I've probably mentioned this before. I just love her. So, hubby and I will be making a trip to the Chicago area for the signing and to get my long awaited copies of City of Lost Souls. (Yes, copies. One can never have enough books.) We're making it into a mini vacation, complete with visit to Navy Pier and whatever else we find in Chicago. (You know that crazy lima bean thing? Oh yeah. I'm gonna stand under it- though it might terrify me. I have megalophobia. Look it up and promise not to make fun of me. I've blogged about this before.)

Speaking of Chicago- did you get a chance to read Divergent by Veronica Roth yet? How about Insurgent? Both are amazing and must reads! I love how badass Tris is! Aside from The Mortal Instruments, I might have a new favorite book series! And Veronica Roth is only 23! How's that for impressive?

Well friends, I'm off to write some more, my forced break is over! (Anyone else find it ironic that my writing break included...more writing?)

All the best,


Saturday, April 14, 2012


As readers, at some point in our lives, we are asked the question: Why do you read so much? Maybe you have an answer ready, perhaps it's just a feeling that you get when you pick up a good book, or it's an escape from real life--that's what reading is for me. I lose myself in books, captivated by worlds that are often times more interesting, (or at least more encouraging,) than the one we live in now. But what if you didn't have that opportunity? What if books weren't easy to come by? What if there wasn't internet, or libraries, or Kindles, or bookstores?

What if you didn't have access to books? Not because you couldn't read them, but because they just weren't available?

Enter GoneReading. Brad Wirz has a vision. While volunteering in Central America in 2010, Wirz encountered "Hundreds of villages, thousands of people, had basically no access to books or reading material at all." When he came home, he started his research. Shortly after, GoneReading LLC was born.

GoneReading's mission statement is one that readers and writers alike can get behind. Wirz wants to share books with the world--and who doesn't love books?

“We envision a world where everyone has the opportunity to better themselves through the open pursuit of the dreams and ideals of their choosing.  We envision a world where such opportunity exists for everyone, regardless of their country of origin or locale.  Our mission is to bring the world closer to this vision by helping to ensure that everyone has open access to the reading materials they want and need.  We accomplish this mission by providing new funds for libraries around the world.”

100% of GoneReading's after tax profit is donated to fund new libraries around the world, including right here in the United States. And let's face it, we could all use the escape of a good book right now.

So while this is a contest (and there are FABULOUS prizes!!!), I encourage you to check out GoneReading and support their mission. Getting free stuff is awesome, helping build libraries is better. GoneReading has reading related products available to purchase--something for every reader in your life. Plus you can feel good about your buys, since the proceeds will help the world read.


First Prize: $25 of merchandise from GoneReading.

Second Prize: Books to Check Out Journal from GoneReading. (Click Here)

There are several ways to enter. The contest will be open from Saturday, April 14 until midnight on Sunday, April 29. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Every now and then I get ridiculously inspired by something. Most times I have no idea why it's happened--kind of like now. Maybe it was the Amanda Hocking book I read, maybe it was the trip to the used book store today and all the jackets I read, maybe it's just life. But I get that itchy skin feeling where I just want to sit at my computer for hours and just write. It's been a while since I just let myself sit and write. I know what you're going to say- I'm a writer. Well, yes, I am. Unfortunately I don't live a kind of life where writing can take precedence over other things. I'd love to write for a 9-5, but that's just not how things are at the moment. Writing is stolen moments, five minutes here, a half an hour there. And then I feel like this, like there are so many words inside of me that are just bursting everywhere. I need to let them out, but there just isn't enough time in the day and there are just too many obligations for me to fulfill.

Then I wonder. Isn't this how you're supposed to feel when you're truly passionate about something? Would life suddenly fall into place if I was a full-time writer? Would the grass be greener, the sky bluer? Okay...I'm getting off track, but you get the point. What if writing is my thing. (Yeah, yeah, I know! I'm a writer. I got it.)

There are so many things that I love, (and I mean besides the obvious things like my family and friends,) music, books, nature, photography, dance, winterguard. But lately, nothing has quite done it for me. I don't know if it's the depression from winterguard season ending this weekend or just the stress of everything, but nothing has made me happier lately than writing. Now I know you're probably looking back at my blog entries and shaking your head at how many times I complained about editing, or querying, or synopsising (hehe), but honestly, what is better than finishing a story? There is something so fulfilling about sharing your writing with the world.

It's funny that there's all this fear for publishing my work. I love to share my work, I guess I just don't like to share it with people I think might rip it apart, people that might want me to change it. I've said before that all I want is someone to talk to about my books, and that still holds true. I'm the author you'll see at book signings who can't shut up.

Words, words, words, words. This is what my best friend Lana sings when she can't remember the words of a song, but that's what it's like in my head all the time. There is so much waiting in the wings, so many stories I have yet to tell. I think this inspiration has led to another thing:  hope.

Is it wrong to think that you just might get everything you've hoped for? Is it asking for trouble? Probably. Life has a great way of knocking you down just when you've finally brushed your knees off from the last disaster.

But still...I'm excited. I started writing my first novel in June 2009. I've written 5 complete manuscripts. Isn't it about time I did something about that? Between the words, words, words, there's been too many years, years, years. No more. This time I'm gonna let the inspiration win.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Let it be known that I occasionally spurn fads, things that people fawn over, and media circuses. The one exception to this rule may be in books. Case in point: I just finished reading all the Harry Potter books last night. (The 7th is by FAR the best book in the series, even though she kills nearly everyone. I mean, seriously? Was that REALLY necessary? Was it?) I still need to watch the last two movies. Don't hate me, please, but it wasn't the best thing I've ever read. I know that they're books that changed a generation and blah, blah, blah, maybe if I started reading them when I was a kid, I would've appreciated them more. It was an interesting story, but she killed everyone I liked, which in turn made me bitter. JK Rowling is a genius, I'm sure (a very RICH genius) but suffice it to say, that I've read other, better, stories. That being said, (still don't hate me) I did ENJOY reading Harry Potter. But I think if I were to reread the series, I would start at book 5. The first 4 aren't really all that important.

So, once I put down Harry Potter, I picked up Switched by Amanda Hocking. She's yet another thing I haven't checked out solely because she got so much press. Perhaps I'm just a brat, but I'd read a couple of chapters of her zombie e-books and that was all. The more success she got, the more I took notice. I bought Switched on a whim when I saw it. Needless to say, I started reading it last night and finished it this morning. It was a fast read, with lots of action. More than that, it's the kind of book that reminds me why I'm a writer. It's all about the story, about the characters, not about how amazing the description is and how much symbolism she used or how many college degrees she has in writing. It was a fun read, captivating me from the first chapter, and what more can you really ask for in a book? If I had more time before work I'd head out and pick up the next one (though I'm not entirely sure if it's out yet).

Good for you, Amanda Hocking. You're sort of my hero. You're an inspiration to people like me everywhere.

In other news, I've decided to fully embrace e-pubbing. Shocked? Me too. I've had a suggestion and an opportunity come my way, and in light of recent occurrences in my life, I've realized that things don't ever happen unless you try. I'm not saying that I've conquered this mystery terror that publishing holds for me, heck no. I'm still scared of it. I have panic attacks just thinking about publishing, or even sending things to agents/publishers. But, I have a sort of safety net now. I have a great writing buddy, who kicks my butt when necessary (ahem, Missy, it's TUESDAY and I never received your word count) :) plus I have this cool contact from Scotland who saw through me and gave some tough love. And then there's this other person who's pushed me along much further than anyone and she didn't hardly try at all. Maybe it's all the confidence she has in me, confidence I don't have in myself.

It's not going to be a quick trip by any means. I still have a week and half left of guard season and another opportunity that I'm dealing with elsewhere, but I'm still here. I'm still trying. I'm a firm believer in fate and destiny and all those other things that normal people scorn. Maybe before wasn't my time. Maybe it's STILL not. But it will be, one day. Maybe soon, maybe later. What matters is that it will happen.

All the best,

Thursday, March 1, 2012

My Winterguard Teams

If you've been wondering why I've been quite absent from the internet world lately other than my random mutterings about editing, here's the reason. The high school winterguard team I coach is nearly finished with their show. Here's a video from tonight's practice. Gotta admit, these kids are working HARD!

Now I can't just brag about one without giving props to the other. Here's my middle school team, who has been working equally as hard. I am so proud of them!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


I've been in a bit of a conundrum lately. I open my laptop, I open the appropriate documents (current WIP, current MS I'm editing). And then all hell breaks loose. I don't want to write in my WIP. I don't want to edit my MS. Let it edit itself. I think I'm having an issue with authority, though sadly the authority is just myself. I'm feeling defiant. Bored. Irritated. I won't be controlled by my work, damn it!

I think that's the real issue. I'm feeling boxed in. Pressured to finish something. I've lost the passion for these things. It's scary, really, this issue I'm having. It's probably just a passing thing. Give me a few days and I'll be ready to knuckle down.

So in the midst of my frustration, when even distracting myself with Facebook didn't help, I went for a walk. While getting some fresh air and exercise I thought about things. My past manuscripts, all the hours I've put into lovingly creating characters and worlds, all the places I'd hoped to take them.

Eureka! Inspiration struck. I hightailed it back to my laptop and *gasp* opened a BLANK word document. Suddenly the heavens broke and bathed me in warm sunlight.

Oh! The blank page! How lovely. How wonderful. How promising.

Taking myself back to my plans to continue my series, I started writing. I wrote and wrote and wrote. No restrictions. No rules. I wrote about Chase, possibly my favorite character ever. If you're curious about him, read The Gay in YA. Ohhh how fabulous! I wrote 1500 words in 45 minutes. I reread it. It didn't suck!


For a minute I was worried I'd lost my touch. But nope! There's still a writer in there. Good. I'd hate to quit after all this time. I mean, I'd even considered if I just wanted to be a reader again, forgo this whole writer business and get back to gobbling up books like candy.

I'm happy to report that I still love writing (and that Chase might possibly have a story of his own). It was really nice to remind myself that I don't always have to be working towards something. It's okay to just let the words out and let them be. It doesn't have to be perfect and it doesn't have to impress anyone. That's what takes all the fun out of it. I'm trying so hard to perfect my manuscript for someone else that I'm losing the drive. And when it's not fun, it's not worth much.

So, my advice, dear friends. Take a beat every now and then. Write something fun just for yourself. Don't get sucked into the rules imposed on us by society. Be free, people! It feels great. (I kind of sound like a hippie. I'm diggin' it.)

All the best,

Friday, February 10, 2012


Do you ever feel like you talk a whole bunch but don't really say a whole lot of anything? I'm gonna apologize in advance if this is one of those blogs. Sometimes I feel like my skin is too tight because there is just so much inside of me that wants to come out. I'm not talking vomit here, people, unless it's word vomit. Maybe emotional vomit. 

Okay, maybe it's some form of vomit, but hopefully it doesn't make you go "ewww..."

I'm way deep into this editing thing and more serious about it than I've ever been before. I'm discovering this little annoying thing that I like to call TRICKLE DOWN. (It's in caps so it's scary). Say in Chapter Three I decide to change a little tidbit. Suddenly someone has to come from a new city. Well crap! Do you know what this means? It means I have to fix Chapter Seven where I talk about hometowns, and Chapter Twenty where this character's father talks about college. Aw HELL. Why didn't I think about this before? Suddenly it's a gaping PLOT HOLE and I wish I'd never been born. So after this trickle down has affected every. single. page. I realize I'm done and let out a giant, ridiculous sigh of relief at being so over it. And then I find another one. Shit. Crap. Balls. 

The process starts over.

I'm mostly complaining because I don't have anything better to do. I wrote a new chapter, stuck it in the book, debated how much I liked it. Stared at a blank page for forty-five minutes. Pondered the meaning of life...

My manuscript is screaming "Checkmate, bitch!" And I'm all like "Oh no you didn't..."

Good news is, I'm still having fun. I think. My version of fun might be a little skewed though. Most days I'm pretty sure there's something seriously wrong with me. Without my fictional characters I'd probably be crazy. Maybe I just have too many projects. When you're a writer, what exactly constitutes too many? I mean, I have one WIP, a MS I'm editing, and a series that I'm itching to rewrite. And I'm thinking I really want to start a Round Robin Blogvel, since the last time I participated in one of those it was super fun. (Another project? Who am I kidding...) Writers have serious issues.

Then there's the query I'm writing. Who came up with this whole "querying" thing anyway? I think it's just a form of torture that gives agents immense pleasure. I've agonized over this query for months. MONTHS! I've rewritten it in its entirety four times. I pretty much end up hating every version for one reason or another. Then I go and read other people's queries looking for inspiration. Mostly I just end up jealous. Why do their queries sound so amazing? Why do I want to run to the bookstore and pick up their books right this second? Why can't I write one that sounds like that? 

What. Is. Wrong. With. Me?

Some days being The Little Engine That Could just isn't enough. I want to be The Little Engine That HAS. For the love. He could! But did he ever??? 

Maybe tomorrow I'll have a genius revelation and the words will just come to me. 

Here's to dreaming,

Monday, February 6, 2012


I had a very important chat with my guard kids tonight. It was a talk about the feeling you get when you perform. Being a performer at heart (or a retired one, since I'm too old haha...) I understand this feeling well. It's hearing your music start and suddenly having the nerves melt away into the warmth of sharing something with another person. Maybe it's an audience of one, maybe it's thousands, but it's knowing that you're holding out a piece of yourself to them and saying "Here, keep this. Understand." It's hoping that they'll remember you later, when they're dancing in their kitchen or years from now when they hear your song on the radio and they sing along in the car. It's touching lives and becoming part of a greater purpose. 

Whew...I'm on a roll. I should've scripted this talk earlier. 
I love performing. I might have already said that, but I'm saying it again. I've coached for 5 years, but nothing compares to the feeling of being on a floor or stage. If I could get out there again, I wouldn't even hesitate. I swear, I was born to be a professional dancer or even a singer (though I can't sing to save my life. I find it highly unfair!). But I LIVE for the performance, the rush, the feeling of victory.

That being said, I'd like to correlate this to writing. I know I said that nothing compares to the feeling I get when I perform, but actually I lied. Something does compare--it's when I write. I get the same kind of nervous excitement in my stomach when I'm banging out a particularly exciting scene. I get giddy when I finish one. Writing is as much an adrenaline rush as performing. But what's writing without sharing it? 
If you asked me why I want to be published I would answer solely to share my stories with others. I just want someone to walk with me for a while in another world. I want them to feel happy or sad or angry with me. I want them to grieve for the characters and fight for them. I want them to be there every step of the way.

Did I ever really expect to become a writer? Nope. Sure didn't. When I sat down and started writing did I ever think I'd finish a book? Hell no! I'm not exactly great at finishing creative things. But here I am, working on my 7th manuscript. Yep. SEVEN. Holy crap. 

Maybe I never expected any of this. I sure didn't expect to be coaching winterguard, but hey, it's probably one of the best things that's ever happened to me. It's taught me never to give up. Never. Ever. (ever). Even when everything is stacked against you. Even when nobody seems to care. Through all the crazy stuff I've been through, I've discovered a fighter inside of me. 

On that note, I decided to crack down on my editing. 13 chapters of Antithesis tonight. I'm 1/3 of the way done. Once I reach the end I'll send it out for polishing. 

And then the real fun will begin:  Querying! Hooray!

I'm smiling as I write this. I'm feeling damn good. Sometimes looking back, it is so amazing what I can accomplish. I think I'm having a moment or something. Glad you shared it with me. 

All the best,

Friday, February 3, 2012

An Interesting Turn of Events

I woke up to this bleary morning expecting none other than another ordinary day, me without a voice, my son, hyperactive and ready to go, a bazillion orders to fill and no ambition to do anything. Alas, I have had a revelation. It has come from a fairy god (father...mother? I'm not sure) all the way from Scotland (me=excited). I've decided to blog about said revelation while it is still fresh in my mind and unbiased by further internet searching and the thoughts of the world.

Initial response? I am impressed. Perhaps I should back up a minute and tell you all WHAT actually happened.

After I stumbled into the kitchen (picture a zombie strut mixed with Lady Gaga's thrashing, for that was me this morning) and sat down at my computer, I was surprised to find an email from a stranger. And not just any email, I mean an EMAIL that had nearly 5,000 words. It was from a random person I followed on Twitter (as I have been growing my platform with the intent of reaching all these people with my writing prowess!). This person, as I still don't know if it's a he or she and I don't want to offend, literally sat me down and gave me the biggest lecture of my life. Sadly, I must say I deserved this lecture.

I am a writer stuck in the past. I long for the days of agents and ink and paper. It is my feeling that I can digitize my own books and have them on my computer, why would I want to do that as a form of publishing? Well, duh, here's the answer folks, SO THAT PEOPLE WILL READ THEM!!!

Seeing that I work in a hospital full of sick people, I am faced daily with the fact that death is all around us, accidents happen, life will end...blah blah blah. Shouldn't I fear never getting published? What if I kicked the bucket tomorrow? So why the heck am I not out there publishing my work? Fear? Laziness? Idiocy? Most likely it's a combination of all three. Maybe I want to follow the good old agent path, too. BUT I have 4 books that I've written, a series that I keep saying I'm going to get back to eventually. So, revelation in short, I think I will e-pub these books and be done with them. They are a series of characters that I LOVE. I think other people will love them too. And if I still choose to publish another book the traditional way, there's still that option. If I get a good response (hell, I'd probably be uber excited for a mediocre response, it doesn't take much to get me excited) maybe I will e-pub everything.

RLL, my mysterious email writer, has implied that I write my manuscripts with a committee over my shoulder. This may not be an exact description, but apt nonetheless. I do seek approval for my writing, I need that justification before I believe it's good enough to even think about publishing. But, what do I care? I know I can write. So committees be gone!

Now, don't get ahead of yourselves. My life is a crazy game right now and I have no intention of having a book ready to e-pub tomorrow. But maybe in a couple of months, maybe after winterguard season is over and I actually have five minutes to my name. There will be a schedule. There will be plans.

So RLL, thank you. I appreciate the time you took to send this little wayward writer on her way. On a side note, can I say that the fact that you wrote a sentence in a Scottish accent had me very excited indeed. (Like I said, doesn't take much). I'm also glad you took the time to watch my winterguard videos. Long have I wanted to write a book about guard, but the storyline has escaped me. It will be perfection when it does come, I'm sure.

As you will see, I have changed from the off-putting white lettering to black. I can't say I'm very fond of this layout, but it will do until I have the time to adjust and tweak it to my heart's content.

Would you like to meet the mystery author of the wonderful life-changing email? ME TOO!! Here is RLL. Clickity click click!!

All the best,

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Bullying, Suicide, and Fighting Back

I've spent a vast majority of this morning upset and frustrated. Maybe people don't realize, maybe they don't care, maybe they don't understand. Recently, a local high school senior committed suicide. (Read the article here.) There have been several students who've said he was bullied, there have been a few who've been adamant that bullying had nothing to do with it. The school district seems to think it's okay to deny any responsibility and the local police force is acting similarly. Does it take having it happen to someone YOU LOVE for you to care? How far does it have to go?

So who do they blame, then? Is it just that this teen never asked for help? Was his supposed "troubled" past not him calling out for someone to notice? WHO do they think is responsible? If they are shucking responsibility, do they just blame the person who committed the act? (He took responsibility, by the way, for taking his own life and apologized to the person who found him. How can you not be angry????)

Do they not realize that just saying "We need an anti-bullying policy" does NOTHING to change the problem? My heart is breaking over this. A high schooler from the same school posted a video on youtube, which I will post in here. I want to applaud her for having the GUTS to speak out and stand up. School these days is a scary place, I know, I coach both high schoolers and middle schoolers. These kids are terrified to say ANYTHING because of the repercussions of their peers. They need support, they need strength.

On the comments to this video, a teacher posted that "...SUICIDE is a PERMANENT solution to a VERY TEMPORARY problem!  IT GETS BETTER!!" What an amazing quote.

My heart goes out to the community, the family, the students. I'm going to get involved. Life is too short, and it doesn't need to end so early. I'm not sure how far this will go, but stay tuned. I know some kids who are willing to take a stand against bullying.

Here's to hoping for a better tomorrow,


Tuesday, January 3, 2012


1. the act of taking or receiving something offered.
2. favorable reception; approval; favor.
3. the act of assenting or believing: acceptance of a theory.
4. the fact or state of being accepted or acceptable.

It seems to me that I've been confused about life, maybe misled about the entire purpose all together. I've decided (as of this moment) that life is all about acceptance. You get put into a multitude of situations on a daily basis, and whether or not you accept them determines your reactions.

Acceptance of 'things' seems like being a pushover to me. It always has. Why accept how things are when you can fight back? But what if fighting back is the root of misery? What if that passion to live differently is actually the cause of disquiet?


I've always been stubborn, just ask anyone I know. Hell, ask my husband. Most days I surprised he can stand me. I have a lot of fight. I don't want people to walk all over me. But I'm beginning to realize that it's my desire for things to be different that makes me so, well, angry. I'm frustrated that things can't or won't change, but that doesn't stop me from fighting against them. Again we come to the word acceptance. Maybe if I didn't fight, maybe if I just realized that I needed to accept it, I'd feel better.

But then again, maybe not. Maybe I'd just feel worthless because I didn't try. I'd probably still be angry, regardless.

So if I choose not to accept something, but it's impossible to change, how then am I supposed to react?

Perhaps it is all perspective? If I change my perspective, then I'll be more given to acceptance? But then, how do I change myself? Perspective is ingrained, it's who you are, it's how you were raised, it's a gut-reaction.

Is the key to acceptance changing who I am? Who I've always been? This seems impossible all around.

And I leave you with some quotes (like a few words easily thrown together can change the will of man). (Wow- that was cynical).

“You have to accept whatever comes and the only important thing is that you meet it with courage and with the best you have to give.”
-Eleanor Roosevelt

“Acceptance is not submission; it is acknowledgement of the facts of a situation. Then deciding what you’re going to do about it.”
-Kathleen Casey Theisen

All the best,

Monday, January 2, 2012

2011: A Hard Dose of Reality

Good morning world!

It's the second day of the New Year. I feel like this is important, though it's probably not. All it really means is that I must remember to pay a couple of bills before they slap me with late fees. It's 2012--but what does that really mean? Perhaps I'm due a moment of reflection on 2011, which was the worst year of my life. I'm led to believe that once you hit bottom there is nowhere to go but up. In fact, I just quoted that to one of my friends who has indeed hit bottom, but not given up. That's the key here, not giving up.

To begin my terrible 2011, you actually have to go back to 2010, where during the holidays my cousin's house was broken into and he was shot in the back and face while his wife and kids were in the house. There was a higher power watching out for him, though, because he survived this. Shortly after that, we lost my father-in-law. I don't think I'll ever feel right about what happened, and I hate that I lost my chance.

After my father-in-law, my cousin (not the one who was shot) passed away. He was only a few years older than me. It really puts things into perspective when you realize that your life can be snuffed out at any moment. A couple of months went by and I found a spot on my mom's head: Melanoma. They doctor told her that I saved her life. It's a heady feeling, knowing this, it's also terrifying. I'm begging you, check the people you love for cancerous moles. You might save their lives. After surviving the cancer debacle, Mom was fired from her job. As if life wasn't hard enough, they actually fired her the day she returned from having the melanoma removed. Jerks.

But for all the bad, there was also good. I wrote another MS, one that I feel confident about, one that I think might be ready to send to agents soon. Maybe this year I'll get over my paranoia and finally get somewhere with my writing. My winterguard kids had an awesome show in 2011, which took us up two classes and earned us several first places and community recognition. I was so unbelievably proud of all they accomplished. In 2011 I managed to dig myself out of some of the debt going to school caused me. I'm still up to my eyeballs, but I'm not drowning. Maybe by the time I hit 40 I'll have it paid off (haha).

Recently, with the help of a dear Twitter friend of mine, Missy Biozarre, I've started a new project. The Stranger Diaries is everything good about life, with reading, writing, workouts, and enough comedy to sate any appetite. Check it out and meet Megatron and Gandalf. You won't be sorry. This project actually has me excited to write! If you're so inclined, please visit my Facebook Author Page and The Stranger Diaries on Facebook.

I'm looking forward to 2012. There's a long way to go and a short time to get there (Smoky and the Bandit!) but I'm not giving up.

Here's to the New Year,