Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Mindless coasting

I am in need of an ass-kicking, jaw-jarring jolt! I am lacking something in my life. That little spark. I am feeling that I am just coasting along, not working towards or for anything but going from point A to point B.

I tend to do this from time to time. I usually spend too much time in my head and start to over-think and over-analyze things. This usually results in a bitter funk residing over and around me. I’m not at that point, but I am very restless. My feet are tapping to the gypsy beat, I want to be out roaming around. But alas, job duties and tight money situation prevent that from happening. I dream of New York a lot lately. Maybe it is because I watch “Friends” at night on Nick-At-Nite as I go to sleep. Maybe what the morning DJ was saying is true – everyone deserves the chance to live in New York City for a year. (Give me the money to support myself for that year and I would gladly be there in NYC.)

I need something to stimulate my brain. My job is not providing that to me. I find myself daydreaming a lot of the time between the hours of 7:00Am to 3:45PM. I also find myself obsessing over what is going on with this position that I applied for and that usually leaves me feeling drained and lost. (Five interviews, people, and still no decision? Really? Really!?!?)

Guest Post: To Know and To Love by Shannon Hart

To Know and To Love

I’ll be completely honest here, when I found out I was doing a guest post, I was jumping up and down in my room for about five minutes until I realized I didn’t know what to write about. Then, panic started to set in.

I knew I had a bit of time, but still, my mind was racing searching through corners of my brain to find a so-called brilliant topic to write about, something that would blow readers’ minds away. I went to my dear friend Samantha, asking her if she could give me some tips as well and she came up with much better ideas than I had, of course, but then I realized why those ideas were so good: they were about things I knew well.

I don’t know about other writers, but for me, before I wrote Until the End of Forever, I was hopping from genre to genre, looking for my niche. There was this phase that I had where I was writing children’s stories but then I would always start one, get stuck, and stop. Then, I went on to writing Young Adult stories. Short stories were fine, but when it came down to trying to write a whole 70,000 words novel, I couldn’t get past chapter 16! The voices sounded young, the characters were dynamic and exciting, but the issues were issues that I wasn’t sure today’s youth would get. I had to finally admit that I wasn’t young anymore (and cry about that for a few hours), and that I wasn’t that in sync with what the young one’s were dealing with these days. And being a mom to two toddlers didn’t really help either. The problems they were dealing with were more about what to watch and what to play than anything else. I kept all the chapters, but I haven’t touched them again since – and probably won’t until I get to actually spend time with real young adults and understand what matters to them most these days.

Then, on one magical night… Scratch that. Sounded way too corny. One evening, when I was feeling a bit of pressure on my own marriage because of some silly fight we had (I don’t even remember what it was about anymore but it was probably ridiculously lame), I decided I knew exactly what I should have been writing about all along: marriage. Not necessarily about my own marriage, but seeing as that I had been married for quite sometime, and since I was (and still am) a member of a married couples group, the amount of knowledge I had about marital issues exceeded the knowledge I had about almost anything else. When I started writing about my main characters’ – Rob and Sarah – relationship, I started with just background notes scribbled on an old notebook listing who they were, what they were like and how their personalities could potentially end up in conflict and from there, everything was smooth sailing right down to the end.

I developed a personal relationship with all my characters. Call me crazy or whatever (my husband certainly thought I was, he just never said it out loud), but at times, I felt like I was watching the two of them in a movie in my head. I watched how Rob and Sarah met, their wedding, and even their magical wedding night – though that part didn’t actually make the cut and ended up being edited out.

My point is (yes, there is a point here, I promise), when you write what you know, you’ll love your work even more because that’s what you’re passionate about. That sense of satisfaction when you read the final copy before it goes to print is just so overwhelming because you know what you’ve written is something so close to your heart.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with challenging your abilities and writing out of your comfort zone either. This is great for those who can power through the difficulties and just do it. If you can, by all means, go for it! But for other writers, who know they have a voice but just can’t seem to get it together that first time around, I say (humbly), go back to the drawing board and start putting together things that you know; things you love; things you care about. It just makes it a heck of a lot easier. Not to say that writing should be easy, of course, but it builds your confidence and that’s important because at the end of the day, you have to love what you have written. And don’t worry about bad reviews because you know what, everything is so subjective. Everything they say about your story is just a matter of opinion so even though some may not like it, others will. Don’t think about how what you write has already been written before because hey, is there really anything new in this world? The issues are all still the same. It’s just a matter of packaging it differently and adding twists to it. Personally, and I emphasize here that this opinion really is personal, if writing is truly your passion, then you’re writing for you, not for anyone else. So really, what matters is what you love.

A very special thank you goes to Michelle Bell for welcoming me on her wonderful blog and giving me this opportunity to post, and to Samantha Robey, my friend, my editor and my kick-ass blog tour coordinator who is nothing short of a miracle worker. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: you’re the best!

Thank you so much, Shannon, for such a delightful guest post and I'm so honored to have hosted you on my blog during your blog tour!

Come say hello to Shannon at the following places: website, blog, or twitter.

For something totally fun, if you leave a comment on Shannon's tour page, you will be entered to win a $10 Amazon gift card.

Review: Until the End of Forever by Shannon Hart

“Sarah Matthews has everything in the world a woman could wish for: a loving husband; two beautiful children; a small business which she runs together with her sister-in-law; and even her own top of the range car. Why then does she keep having recurring nightmares?

Over a friendly lunch with her ex-lady boss, seeds of doubt and discontent begin to gnaw at her, and the realization dawns that she is no longer free to live a life of her own as she would wish. When offered the opportunity, therefore, to go to work in Paris for a month she finds herself unable to resist.

As Sarah takes us along with her on her journey, we are given a privileged insight into the workings of the female mind as her thoughts and feelings tumble around in an attempt to find answers."


The premise of this book sounded so interesting that I couldn't wait to read it. The first couple pages had me slightly concerned as they dealt with a recurring nightmare that Sarah was having. That nightmare was of herself drowning and as someone with hydrophobia, I cringed as I was reading it. Voicing my thought on this on Twitter led to some reassurance from Shannon Hart that it was the only time it was talked about in depth. With that in mind I plugged on and am so glad that I did as this was just one of those books that makes you smile when it ends how you want it to.

Sarah has what seems to be the perfect life with the perfect husband, the perfect children, home, and jobs. But what about those nightmares? That is definitely not the sign of something "perfect". When her old boss offers her a chance to go to Paris for a few weeks on her own, Sarah takes the offer. Husband, Rob, doesn't take the news very well. How do you gracefully handle your wife telling you she is unhappy and needs to take a break from you? Regardless, Sarah jets off to Paris where she gets the time to do some self evaluating. A tragedy at home cuts the trip short and when she returns, she finds things aren't as perfect as they ever appeared.

I really enjoyed this book. I think that Sarah was such a charming character and despite her flaws she was genuine. She made rash decisions that weren't thought out and she made well thought out decisions. She learned a lesson and did it with all the human qualities. I didn't always enjoy her husband, Rob. A lot of times he felt very selfish but he ultimately showed the type of man he was.

The nightmares of drowning really made sense as I read this book. Sarah was "drowning" in a way because she was so unsettled with where she was in her life. As perfect as everything was on the outside, she was no fulfilled on the inside. Her journey to finding her perfection was a compelling read and I greatly enjoyed it. Shannon Hart's debut novel was such a lovely book and I hope that there will be more to come soon from such a talented lady.

You can find out more information about Shannon and her writing, or just to say hello at the following: website, blog, or twitter.

If you leave a comment on Shannon's tour page, you will be entered to win a $10 Amazon gift card.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Interview woes, part one

Interview #5. *sighs* Today they wanted to talk to me about my employee expense experience. I have clearly put this experience on my resume. I’m frustrated as I really want this position, I have been told they want to hire me and yet it is either radio silence or more interviews and questions.

I have been actively searching for a job over the last few weeks. I’m not a fan of interviews. I tend to stress myself over them a lot because I question whether or not I am selling myself correctly or overselling myself and coming off arrogant. The thing is I *know* I’m a good employee and I *know* that I am an asset to a company. I have not worked at a job yet where I have not taken on numerous other duties outside of my normal because I can and do handle it. But how do you humbly state that?

I have interviewed and signed up with a few staffing services/head hunters over the last two weeks. One of them said that they had a customer who was really interested in me. It was paying $3.00 more per hour than I currently make and sounded like a busy environment.

(Here is another thing about me…I need to be kept busy at all times in the office.)

An interview was arranged. It was a four hour working interview. I would need to go in and see how I would work out with their office staff. Great! I’m all for it. Until I find out the job pays .50 more than I make now. I was still going to give it the benefit of the doubt and see if I could negotiate a higher pay rate after meeting with them and seeing if I was even interested. Then the dude at the staffing agency entered obnoxious territory. He kept calling me to remind me of the interview and to make sure I was going. Yes, I know that there is a four hour interview scheduled. Yes, I have made arrangements to leave work early. STOP calling me!
I seriously had to just stop answering the phone when I saw it was the agency number because he was seriously irritating me.

I get to the interview and guess what? It isn't even full time. Thirty hours a week, possibly pushing it to 35, but never a full 40. I was bored for the four hours I was there. I did filing, the phone only rang twice, and I worked on a spreadsheet. Then the owner tells me they are still not sure they are hiring someone. They have someone in this position already, she just had a baby and only wants to work three days a week. So they are going to give her a try on three day work weeks and see how that goes. So I just wasted four hours of my day.

I called the agency when I left. The obnoxious guy that I have been dealing with was not available so I had to talk to his supervisor. He was not exactly thrilled to hear that I didn't think this was a job for me. Told me he would see what he could do to get a full week and more money, but not surprisingly I have not heard back from him or the other obnoxious one. No big loss!

Interview jitters!

Remember back on August 25th when I was having interview butterflies?
Today I go back for interview number FIVE for this position!
I had honestly written this job off as a lost cause when I had a call yesterday that they are asking to talk to me again. Everyone here thinks it is a good sign and that they will offer the job to me today.

So keep your fingers crossed that I come back with a big ol' squee filled post tonight! (And will have to update you on some of the other job interviews that I have done lately...such a joke!)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Inspiration: A guest post by Lacy Camey

Inspiration comes in many forms for many different people. Some are inspired by the moment, others are inspired by an idea, others by a person, a muse, but I find inspiration for me comes from within.

You see, if I won the lottery tomorrow and was awarded 100 million dollars and was told, “Do whatever you want with your life” – I would write. Of course I would travel, but while I would travel, I would write.

And sure I’d go to quite a few spas and relaxing places, but while maybe on the exterior I’d be relaxing, I couldn’t help but think about stories, characters, dialogue, ideas. I would just have to write.

Put me in a cave without paper or pen, I’m sure I would figure a way to transcribe a story.

It’s just in me to write and tell stories! Does that mean I’m just itching to write your research paper or article for work? Um, no! Haha. I think there is a difference for me. I have inspiration and a strong desire to write stories and be a story-teller and to not write academic books.

I feel like if I didn’t write stories, something would feel missing. It would be as if I had this terrible itch and it would never go away

It’s like a singer born with the gift to sing. It doesn’t matter who hears her, she has to sing. She sings in the shower, in the car on the road, at the store, it’s just what she does.

The joy I feel when I write is so self fulfilling and satisfying. Besides the innate drive inside of me to write, I find inspiration in the end result, as well.

I love meeting people, hearing what they are going through in life, encouraging others and connecting. I love conversations and meeting new people. It’s one of my favorite things. I also love being able to make a difference with my book revenues-helping orphanages and making a tangible difference.

I love making people laugh and smile. When someone tells me they had fun reading my book, that’s the greatest compliment ever.

As far as making a career out of writing fiction for the rest of my life, the thing that inspires me the most is knowing I have chosen a career where, when my husband and I decide to raise a family, I will be able to be home with my future children. That’s very important to me and always has been.

Being cozy also inspires me to write. That warm cup of coffee and tea, cozy clothes, soft blankets, my warm cuddly cat. Too bad I live in the deep south where it never snows! I think maybe if I lived a little bit more up north, I would be inspired by the cold weather. Speaking of weather, thunderstorms inspire me to write as well. Water inspires me, too. Ocean, lake, river, fountains. There is something very creative about water.

Art is a very beautiful thing. Art is like adding color into the world. Writing is a literary art and I hope the color I bring to the world through my stories is bright turquoise.

Thanks for having me. Whatever you decide to do in life, let your inspiration guide you into bliss and peace.

Thank you, Lacy, for such an inspiring post. And thank you to both you and Samantha for including me in your blog tour. I loved your book and can't wait for the second in what is sure to be a highly successful career for you!

If you want to get to know the talented and lovely, Lacy Camey, you can do so at the following:

Lacy's website
Lacy's twitter
Lacy's Facebook
Amazon Link
Barnes & Noble Link

Win a $10 Amazon Gift Card! From now until the end of Lacy's blog tour (Oct 10th), if you leave a comment on her blog tour page, you are entered to win: Lacy's CLP Blog Tour Page. That's all you have to do! If you buy the book and email a copy of the receipt to Samantha at CLP, you get a bonus entry!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Review: The Last Page by Lacy Camey

Norah Johnson is at a crossroads and is in desperate need to heal after a highly publicized breakup from her major league baseball player boyfriend. To escape, she moves to her summer home at the beach with her sister and best friend where she journals, attends therapy and works on her pending clothing line. When a gorgeous stranger finds her lost journal, he seeks to find the author and make her fall in love with him. But is Norah ready to love again?
Lacy Camey's debut novel is a sweet journey as Norah Johnson goes from heartbreak at the hands of her New York Yankee ex-boyfriend to healing with the help of her family, best friend, and a new man. A gorgeous setting on the beach helps bring this book to life as this novel takes shape.Norah's spiral out of control and into depression alarms those closest to her, finally resulting in her parents insisting she visit a therapist and then move into the family beach house for the summer to get over her break up. I wish all down times in life could be handled like this. The side story of her sister, Maycee, and her absentee boyfriend is a nice break in the main story. There is nothing worse than the secondary story overlapping the heroine. The hero, the gorgeous stranger, Orien, who finds her lost journal, is just a little too good to be true. But Lacy ties everything together so perfectly that it all works. As this is the first book in a trilogy, she spends enough time introducing you to the cast of characters that leaves you wondering what their story will be. This was a lovely read and a great debut novel. I'm excited to read the next book in the series.

Lacy Camey is a fiction writer and lives in Houston, Texas with her musician/producer/songwriter husband, Joel, and has a cat who acts like a dog, named Blue. When she isn't writing, or collaborating with her husband, she enjoys being outside, running, working out, reading, cooking, is a huge movie buff and loves watching reality shows on Bravo, especially The Real Housewives franchise. She loves having fun, enjoying the life God has given her and loves to encourage others to follow their bliss. She secretly dreams of going on the Amazing Race with her husband on CBS but is still trying to convince him to audition. Every book written by Lacy Camey purchased by others, a portion goes to supporting an orphanage in Southern America. Lacy has plans to build an orphanage very soon with proceeds from her books. You can stay updated on the process at her blog at www.lacycameywrites.com.
Lacy would love to stay in contact with her readers. Feel free to visit her blog and website at www.lacycameywrites.com or follow her on twitter @lacycamey or e-mail: lacycameywrites (at) gmail (dot) com
Lacy's website
Lacy's twitter
Lacy's Facebook
Amazon Link
Barnes & Noble Link

Win a $10 Amazon Gift Card! From now until the end of Lacy's blog tour (Oct 10th), if you leave a comment on her blog tour page, you are entered to win: Lacy's CLP Blog Tour Page. That's all you have to do! If you buy the book and email a copy of the receipt to Samantha at CLP, you get a bonus entry!

Cinematic Pet Peeve, Take One

I am a big movie fan, that is no secret. I usually see at least one movie a week and am also pretty anal about my movie experience. I am picky about the theater and seats, I want quiet during the movie (IE do not try to carry on a conversation with me), and I can't stand when people bring kids to a movie that is not geared towards children. Today I went to my favorite movie theater with plans to see "Straw Dogs". I walked in the theater about 20 minutes before it was starting and there were quite a few people there already. All but five of them were children. And I mean young children. I had to go back out and change the movie to "Drive". I completely understand that sometimes you need to bring children with you to the movies, but seriously what about "Straw Dogs" was yelling "kid friendly" to to you? There is a lot of violence, including rape. Do you really think your five year old needs to watch that? I am at a serious loss where some people get their common sense from.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Pass me the garlic

Johnny Depp has made a career of playing off the wall, unique characters. I love him for it, I think he is such a widely versatile actor that there is not much that he can not bring to life through his imagination.

However, his Barnabus for the upcoming Tim Burton reboot of “Dark Shadows” has me shaking my head.

Where is a stake when you need one? I love me some vampires, but this one? This is not going to cut it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Every day I'm shuffling

I hate earworms. Especially when it is something like “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO and I can’t stop singing the song or bopping my head to the music only I heard internally. And now those blasted KIA hamsters have done a commercial with that song.

Last night on the news, they said that AZ is in a state of poverty and has one of the highest unemployment/lack of new jobs rates in the US. Ain’t that the truth! I am still on the job hunt. I have not been dismissed from the position I applied for here, but they have not said a word in 2 weeks. I am not a patient person so I just went crazy applying all over the place. I really do think that Arizona and I need to part ways. It is hard, however, as I do *like* living here. I just can’t keep surviving on piddly pay.

Did anyone else watch the season 4 finale of “True Blood” and have a total “WTF” face going on at the end? I can’t wait for season 5 and that isn’t until next June!! And I hope that poor Lafayette doesn’t have such tragic hair next season! It was bad this season!!

(If you haven’t figured out yet, the subject of this blog is fitting since my mind is all over the place, shuffling. I blame it on horrendous boredom at work. And the worst part of how bored I am is I am a bored eater.)

I think I need to go on vacation! My bank account is not agreeing with me at all, but vacation is calling me loudly. Mainly due to the gorgeous pictures that Marika has been posting, I have a big desire to check out New Orleans. She posted a very cool picture of a pink and purple house and all I thought was I would love to go sit on the steps of that house and just enjoy a day.

Isn't that house perfect? (Photo is used courtesy of Marika.) It is so me and I would be happy to just hang out there.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


I remember where I was 10 years ago, driving to work.
I remember having to force myself to turn off the news as I couldn't stop watching or crying.
I remember the eery silence that filled the air without planes for days afterwards.
I remember the fear, anger, sadness, and eventual hope.
I remember the devastation in all the lives lost in a horrible act of immense hatred.
I remember all the brave men and women that have and continue to fight to keep us safe.
So I think it is safe to say I don't need to be told to always remember, I will never forget.

Patrick McDonnell's "MUTTS" cartoon for today is fitting:

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Hump Day Thoughts

Isn't this cute? It is on it's way to me and I am so excited!!

For those keeping track of my interview/potential job status – I had a follow up interview on Monday with the big manager in the department. Everyone that knows I have interviewed has been very positive and feel it is a definite go. Until I have the actual job offer, I have to just keep a positive thought on it and keep telling myself the job is mine.

Because someone reminded me of it earlier, I thought maybe I would enjoy reminding you as well – 115 shopping days until Christmas!!! Of course it is 115 degrees outside here in Arizona so the thought of Christmas is a welcome one because of the cooler weather. I went to Hobby Lobby last Saturday just to see the Christmas decorations and try to get in the mood a bit early. Didn’t happen. The second I walked back out the door and got smacked in the face by the heat, I was back to cursing the day.

My first books that I am offering up for my Read It Forward are the two delightful novels by Nancy Volkers, Scottish Ferry Tale and Scotland by Starlight. (Click the titles for my reviews of them both.) I am sending them together because you are going to want to read the sequel as soon as you finish the first one. As I mentioned before, all I am asking is you post a review on your blog, Amazon, Good Reads, etc and that if you pass the book on you ask the same thing. First person to comment that they want these two books, gets them.

Review: Twenty-Eight and a half wishes by Denise Grover Swank

For Rose Gardner, working at the DMV on a Friday afternoon is bad even before she sees a vision of herself dead. She’s had plenty of visions, usually boring ones like someone’s toilet’s overflowed, but she’s never seen one of herself before. When her overbearing momma winds up murdered on her sofa instead, two things are certain: There isn't enough hydrogen peroxide in the state of Arkansas to get that stain out, and Rose is the prime suspect.

Rose realizes she’s wasted twenty-four years of living and makes a list on the back of a Wal-Mart receipt: twenty-eight things she wants to accomplish before her vision comes true. She’s well on her way with the help of her next door neighbor Joe, who has no trouble teaching Rose the rules of drinking, but won’t help with number fifteen-- do more with a man. Joe’s new to town, but it doesn’t take a vision for Rose to realize he’s got plenty secrets of his own.

Somebody thinks Rose has something they want and they’ll do anything to get it. Her house is broken into, someone else she knows is murdered, and suddenly, dying a virgin in the Fenton County jail isn’t her biggest worry after all.


As a compulsive list maker, I was immediately intrigued by the premise of Denise Grover Swank's new book. Okay, granted I don't have psychic visions or have to worry about someone out to murder me (I don't think anyway), but list making, I have down! Rose Gardner is your typical heroine. She has grown up facing hardship in the form of a mother that treats her more like an inconvenient housekeeper more than treating her like a daughter, feeling that she has to give her freedom to making sure her mother is taken care of. She has these nagging psychic visions that cause her to speak out about them without thinking most times and most people don't understand so she feels like an outcast. Her sister is married with children, having a very charmed life that Rose is not going to have. Then she envisions a customer at the DMV killing her and life takes quite the detour. When her mother ends up getting murdered instead of her, Rose finds herself under suspicion and enter sexy next door neighbor, Joe, who of course is carrying secrets.

I really enjoyed this book. As "typical" as the heroine is, there is so much charm and delight in the character of Rose that you can't help but just love her. This was one of those books that I kept telling myself one more page, then I need to put it down. Instead I found myself tearing through the book instead, needing to know the outcome. (And for the record, I was wrong on who I thought was behind it all, thankfully!) It is a definite recommendation and Denise Grover Swank is going to be entertaining for years to come with fun characters and interesting stories to tell.

You can find out about Denise and her books at the following:
Denise's website
Denise on Twitter
Denise on Facebook
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