Category Archives: Randomness

Read a Romance Month

The steamy month of August also happens to be Read a Romance Month. ¬†Yep, consider this a mid-month reminder or a call to read one for the very first time. ūüôā

Was that an eye-roll I sensed from some of you readers?¬†I’m sure it was. ¬†Why? ¬†Because romance is one of the most shat-upon genres.

Romance readers have had to deal with a lot of trash talk about their genre – especially those who are open about their reading preferences or proudly display those amusing covers in public. ¬†I’ve heard my share of trash talk in my day, some of my favorites:

  • You read romance? I thought you were smarter than that…
  • Oh…but, I thought you were a feminist?

Or when people find out that I write them:

  • Oh..so are you writing the next 50 Shades of Grey?
  • Can you write about me?

Let me just be clear – you can be smart, feminist, and of any sexual orientation and enjoy romance novels. ¬†As for the questions for authors…well, everyone has their own answers to those.

So, in honor of the steamy month of August, treat yourself or challenge yourself to try something new and pick up a romance novel. ¬†There’s a sub-genre for every interest you might have. ¬†Do you like art? There are tons of romances involving painters, appraisers, sculptors, etc. ¬†Do you like murder mysteries? ¬†There are all kinds of excellent romance murder mysteries (check out some of the darker stuff by Nora Roberts, Linda Howard, or Sandra Brown). ¬†Do you like holidays, cooking, or knitting? ¬†Friend, we’ve got you covered. ¬†Do you like history? ¬†Bitch please, you KNOW there are historical romances. ¬†Just check out your local library, Amazon, or bookstore and discover something new.

And hey, take a picture with you new romance novel find…then post it on Instagram to prove that loving some romance is no crime. ūüôā

Here’s one I took with a bunch of free (FREEEEE!) used romance novels that someone gave me.

Clearly, I love romance novels and here are some of my personal favorites, if you’d like some recommendations:

  • It happened one autumn – historical and sassy dialogue
  • The hating game or Wallbanger – because I have a soft spot for heroes/heroines who start off not liking each other…
  • Eligible – an update on Pride & Prejudice
  • Just about anything written by my favorites Nora Roberts, Courtney Milan, Lisa Kleypas, and Julie James

Read one….or read like 5 in one week, because you’re gluttonous like me. ¬†Either way, enjoy!

write

“There is nothing to writing. ¬†All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” -Ernest Hemingway

I don’t know if I could call myself a writer and not have that quote stir something within me.

Writing is no simple task.  Sometimes Рas many authors know Рit can serve as a kind of exorcism, as we surrender our fears and hopes to the page.

Sometimes the words, the motivations, the muse are all there at the same time – and the prose flows from fingers to the page. ¬†More often, it can be like hacking through a nasty underbrush of words that just won’t come together and pages littered with the dreaded -ly’s.

Regardless, you walk away when it’s done having left a bit of yourself there – on the page. ¬†

I’ve gone months, sometimes years without writing. But always, somewhere inside of me, there’s a yearning to fill an empty page with a¬†story that has been rolling around inside of me.

Is it a need to share?  Or is it a desire to fill up a blank space with meaning Рlike a nervous babble to fill awkward silences?

I’ve grown restless these last few months without writing. ¬†My fingers itch to weave thoughts into words, into stories.

Do you know the feeling? ¬†…of a¬†story somewhere taking shape? ¬†Something slippery in the wet darkness that eludes capture….its tail tickling your legs as it speeds past to the hiding places just outside of reach.

Maybe I’m out looking for my story. ¬†I’ve only to catch her, you see…

and to sit down at the typewriter and just, well…begin.

 

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On happiness

Today is National Happiness Happens Day 

As children, happiness comes easily – a funny sounding word, the sight of a puppy, or the first taste of candy. ¬†But as adults, happiness can be more illusive. ¬†We carve our lives into pieces, trying to determine if we have adequate amounts of happiness. ¬†We ask ourselves hundreds of questions – does my job make me happy, am I happy with my weight, am I happy with what I look like, would I be¬†happier if…?

It is important to ask ourselves these questions and to be the pilot of our lives, instead of a passenger. ¬†But sometimes, too much awareness serves to make us more frustrated than happy. ¬†While it’s important to be self-aware in life, I’ve found that performing a near-autopsy on every aspect of life and being overly hard on myself for being human can serve to drag me down instead of raising me up.

And sometimes despite our best efforts, fate seems to align the stars and planets to give you a spectacularly shitty day/month/year and even the most carefully deliberated decisions don’t seem to help.

Then what are we to do?  How can we find happiness?

Finding happiness is the great pursuit of our lives, the question we search to answer throughout our lives.

I answer this question for myself by taking pleasure in the small moments of happiness.  Small moments of happiness and of gratitude can find us anywhere Рa bright and sunny day, cool breezes that caress your skin during an oppressively hot August, an extra few minutes of cuddling in bed before work, a smile from a friend, or the glistening layer of cheese on a New York or New Haven style pizza (this is true happiness btw).

Moments of happiness can happen all around us and sometimes they have the power to carry you through the day…which reminds me of a quote –

‚ÄúIt was only a sunny smile, and little it cost in the giving, but like morning light it scattered the night and made the day worth living.‚ÄĚ – F. Scott Fitzgerald

Here’s hoping that happiness finds its way to you today, and every day.

 

Fan theories ahead of Season 7

Alright…on the glorious day of the Season Premiere, we must engage in fan-girling and fan theories.

1. The problem with with 2 extra dragons

So, we know Dany’s direwolf type of animal (familiar?) is a  dragon (Dragon). But who will the others form an attachment to?  I mean, it wasn’t until last season that we realized (for sure) that Daenerys isn’t the only Targaryen.

Despite that in the beginning I really, really wanted Jon Snow to secretly be the son of Robert Baratheon and Lyanna Stark.  Foolish, really.  After learning more, I slowly came around to the inevitability that he is the son of Lyanna and Rhaegar Targaryen.   As a result..I’m thinking that he gets to eventually ride Rhaegal, the dragon named for his father.  Maybe, Jon will even let Bran worg into the dragon, since Bran was promised to fly…

And that leaves Viserion without a rider.  Tyrion has always been the odd man out at house Lannister.  And like Jon, his mother died in childbirth – a terrible occurrence that has happened in the past to Targaryen’s.  Also, there was that bit about his father saying he was “no son of mine.” Maybe Tyrion is actually Daenerys’ half…brother?  If so, maybe he gets Viserion, the dragon named for her brother.  Tyrion did, after all, always want a dragon of his own and managed not to get eaten when he visited them last season.

2. ….and then there were two (direwolves)

Please, HBO and George R.R.  Please stop killing direwolves.  We’ve only two left – Ghost and Nimeria, who we haven’t seen since Season 1.  I’m thinking that Arya (our favorite badass assassin) will reunite with Nimeria at some point.  Really, it’s what I hope – but we can’t be too sure it’ll happen this season.

3.   Little Finger is still creepy as hell

This one is an easy prediction, I think Little Finger is going to continue to skulk about in the background, strategizing and whispering unhelpful things to Sansa.

4.  Family reunion

Speaking of Starks and direwolves….where is Arya going?  Is she traveling to Winterfell to reunite with Jon and Sansa? Or is she hell-bent on trimming down that list of hers?  Speaking of which….isn’t there a big character who is still on that list of hers?

5. Cersei and Jaime Lannister

So, neither of these two are going to win the game of thrones (obviously). But when will it all go down for them?  How will it happen? I’m hoping it’s Arya that gets Cersei, by the end of the season.  Maybe for the season finale?  

And what of Jaime?  Hmmm…unsure.  Out of the two, he’s more redeemable. So, maybe he’ll live through this season.

6. Also, where the heck is Gendry?

Last seen rowing away from a certain death, Gendry has been missing for quite some time. But who will come across him first and add him to their team – Jon, Davos, Arya? Or Beric Dondarrion with that badass, flaming sword of his?

Things to do while awaiting GOT

Winter is here…well, almost anyway.¬† And what’s a fan to do whilst counting down the hours until the Game of Thrones Season 7 Premiere?¬† Here’s a short list of what a girl has been doing and still plans to do:

1. Ask friends, family, random strangers if they’re fans, because you have this strange compulsion to talk about fan theories… Upon finding fellow fans, squeal with excitement and engage in fan-girling/fan-boying for the next hour and a half.

2. Find fan theory articles and podcasts to comfort you in the long hours before hearing your fav theme music.¬† Then, realize that there’s a whole Wiki fan page¬† (whaaaaaaat? how is this possible?!?) and do a deep dive into glorious back stories and fan-dom articles.

3. Re-watch the last season to get yourself amped up for the premier

4. Possibly watch more than one season and get all misty-eyed again when your old favs die.

Sigh, Rob you should never go to an ex’s wedding..

5. Venture outside to find cool Game of Thrones fan-dom activities by you. ¬†(There’s a GOT pop-up bar that a girl must find.) And search for some GOT merch that you don’t have already..or just take pictures of it.

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6. Start slipping in GOT quotes into work conversations to suss out any other fans for potential, gleeful fan-girling/fan-boying

7. Realize there’s still a few days left until the premiere and that this season will be shorter than the rest….

Writer problems 

IMG_1896As writers, we encounter a lot of problems. ¬†Probably the most talked about problem is when people ask us if we’re still writing (which, I guess is a good conversation starter, but is kind of frustrating because the emphasis is usually on “still“). :p

But there are lots of other ones like:

#1. Fearing and loathing editing.  Then guilt-tripping yourself about not doing it, because why not? :p

#2. Figuring out how to describe body placement and movement in a fight scene (or, let’s be honest – a sex scene). ¬†This¬†gets trickier if you have multiple of these scenes in your book and want to keep the language fresh.

#3. Hoping someone’s eyes don’t glaze over when you explain your story’s concept.

#4. Spell check hating your name or your characters’ names.

#5. ¬†The conundrum of double spaces betwixt sentences – should I? Or should I not? ¬†Or should I Google other people’s thoughts on it for the next…hmm 3 hours.

#6. Fighting the urge to tell someone that they’re acting just like one of your characters. Because it makes you sound weird and a little creepy.

#7. Missing your characters when you’re finished with your book.

#8. Your obsession with notebooks (Moleskin!!), pens (it’s so tricky to find a really good one), and/or typewriters.

On trolls

 

It’s been a little while since my last blog post – that’s partly because of the whirlwind of¬†crazy that is currently my life (between work, grad school, politics, and attempting a social life).

But if I’m being honest, there has not been a shortage of things to write about (obviously) and I did have a few weeks off from school, when I could have been editing my novel or dusting the cobwebs off of my blog. ¬†The largest reason I’ve been creatively silent¬†is because I’ve had a brush with trolls.

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Photo by @prolixme

They definitely weren’t as cute as the little guy I picked for my image for this post, but trolls they were nonetheless.

On the internet, there seem to be a vast pool of users lurking…maybe even poised and waiting to troll others. ¬†If this were middle school, and I were a parent, I’d tell you that it’s because they’re jealous or there’s some kind of other failing in their life and maybe they’re taking it out on you. But, as I’ve been trolled in real life and online, I couldn’t tell you why some people like to troll. ¬†Though I’m not sure their reasons even matter. More frustrating still, I can’t¬†tell you how to let it roll off of your shoulders either.

That fact of the matter is that no one enjoys being torn down and no one appreciates bullies.¬†Whether we admit it or not, trolling gets under our skin – seeking out a place to live in our hearts and minds. Aiming to fill us with doubt and¬†empowering that terrible little voice inside of us that loves to tell us “no.”

What can we do? ¬†We have to be our strongest champions. We have to believe in ourselves. We can’t pack up, hide, and turn off when things get hard. We can’t let bullies tear us down. We have to keep on,¬†keepin’ on. Because the moment we stop, we let the trolls win. But worse than that, we hurt ourselves when we stop doing the things that make us happy.

So keep on, keepin’ on, friends. ūüôā

Nerd Problem #3 РFangirl Bruise

I’m a nerd, it’s true. ¬†A nerd for graphic novels and comics, novels, and art…

And there seem to be a fair number of archers in my nerd zones lately.

There’s The Arrow, Oliver Queen in full crime fighting mode, with his love of hoodies and urgent whispers:

I mean, who doesn’t love a brooding hero who does most of his crime-fighting prep work without a shirt? But I digress..

There’s Katniss, a near goddess with the arrow and hunting, and questioner of evil authority figures –

And there are statues of goddesses with fierce aim –

So, as the nerd signs seemed to point in that direction, I decided to try my hand at archery.  I even got the fierce stare down and managed to hit the bullseye multiple times.

That picture is less imposing than the other pictures, I know, but I think that the photo filter makes me a little edgier than usual.

And then I promptly realized why many archer characters have long sleeves (or aren’t nearly double jointed like me, who has a piece of arm that juts out just enough that the bow-string repeatedly whacks the area¬†or scrapes¬†along the skin)…

Ouch. We’re calling this one a fangirl bruise.

Next time, this fangirl is going to get some full¬†arm protection (I only had half arm protection in the past) before¬†I get my archery on. ¬†And don’t worry¬†– only bullseyes and balloons (and no animals) were harmed in this fangirl-ing.

You are worthy

A pick me up, if you need it –

Sometimes after people take advantage of you, it changes you. ¬†You worry that no one else will value you, instead of the things you can buy them or the added self-esteem boost of having someone care for them. ¬†Sometimes you screw up and kick yourself later over things you shouldn’t have done.

But regardless of the mistakes you’ve made before and regardless of the people who have hurt you before – you are worthy of love. ¬†And you are always, always worthy of happiness.