Tag Archives: advice

Survey Saturday: More Sunshine

sunshineAnother Sunshine Award for me?

Deborah from It’s All About Me Fitness nominated me, and her questions are so much fun that I decided I might as well give ’em a whirl. As busy as I’ve been, it’s likely to be my only post this week.

I did just ship the manuscript for my second book, BEAUTY AND THE BALLPLAYER (due out in March 2014), off to my editor Friday afternoon before work. And my birthday is Monday, so I’m going to a Foreigner concert in Camp Verde tonight as an early celebration. There’s also a book festival in Sedona today. If I get my words written early enough in the day, I’ll head down before the concert.

Next year, I might be able to set up shop there as an author … Wouldn’t that be something?

Anyway, let’s get on with Deborah’s questions:

What is your favorite vacation spot?

From the balcony at the Hyatt Escala ...
From the balcony at the Hyatt Escala …

Park City, Utah, was pretty sweet last May — and it gave me a chance to see my brother and his family in Salt Lake City. I also loved the RWA conference in Anaheim in 2012, and my overnight trip to Tucson a couple of weeks ago.

I’m not picky. My favorite vacation spot seems to be anywhere I can go and be job-free.

Coffee or Tea?

You ask the tough ones all right. A couple of years ago, I’d have said tea without hesitation. But coffee grows on  me more every year. Lately, I’ve even taken to drinking iced coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts, which has a much stronger coffee flavor than lattes from Starbucks..

What is one place within the United States that you want to visit?

Seattle. I wish I’d have had the money and time to go to FitBloggin’.

What is your favorite type of blog posts to write?

The ones where I get to report I’ve lost weight — few and far between these days. *Big sigh* I’m back to where I started 2013. I’ll be writing the annual “It’s my birthday, time to reflect” post soon.

But seriously … I like those lifecasting types of posts with lots of pictures that shout “look at the fun I had.” Like this Sedona hike or one of my Blend Retreat recaps. Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of fun to report on. Most of my free time is spent at Starbucks (writing, editing, drinking and — too often — eating), work (working — duh!) and home (blogging, more writing and — not enough — sleeping).

If you could become an animal for a day, what would you be and why?

Enjoy this gratuitous picture of my cats, in a rare moment of togetherness.
Enjoy this gratuitous picture of my cats, in a rare moment of togetherness.

A cat. They live a good life — lounging around all day, sleeping as much as they want and getting attention.

Describe your perfect weather day?

Maple grove in Oak Creek Canyon
Maple grove in Oak Creek Canyon

Early fall. Temperature in the low to mid-60s, sunny and not too windy. Bonus points for being in a place with vibrant autumn colors.

Do you prefer sweet or savory dishes?

Depends. Lately I’ve been craving salty, savory carbs — a sure sign I need to cut back on said carbs. I’m considering going back to Atkins again.

Linking seasons with color, what is your favorite season and your favorite color that best represents it?

I love autumn, with its riot of fall colors. Can I pick two colors? Red and orange.

If you could create a signature ice cream/fro-yo flavor, what would it be called?

Something with chocolate and coconut, maybe? Coffee? I can’t make up my mind. Moonlight & Mocha Madness?

What is the one piece of advice you give to newbie bloggers?

Have fun. Blog because you love it and are excited about what you’re saying, not because you feel obligated. Readers can tell the difference.

Again, I’m going to bow out of nominating my own recipients — I think pretty much everyone I’d pick has already been tapped. Thanks for the award, Deborah! Hope we can see each other again at Blend 2014.

Sunshine Sunday

What happens when I get behind on blog reading? I miss out on this: My Sunshine Award nomination from Katie at Blonde Ambition.

Even though I’m chiming in a little late — like, um, a month too late — I’m here to play along. Thanks, Katie, for nominating me. Sorry I dropped the ball. In my defense, I’m now halfway through drafting a new 50,000-word novel. 😀

sunshine Here goes …

The Rules:

  1. Include award logo in a post or on your blog.
  2. Link to the person who nominated you.
  3. Answer 10 questions about yourself.
  4. Nominate 10 bloggers to receive the award.

Katie’s 10 questions:

What 3 items are must-haves in your grocery cart every week?

Depends on the diet du jour. Currently:

  1. Unsweetened almond, coconut or almond-coconut milk.
  2. A variety of veggies
  3. Something chocolate

If you could live in any city, no questions asked, which one would you choose?

That’s a tough question. When I was in middle school, in the throes of “Gone with the Wind” mania (the book, not the movie), I wanted to live in a renovated Georgia plantation house with my three cats, Rhett, Scarlett and Ashley.

In high school, any big city would have done. I was so OVER living in a one-stoplight town where cow-tipping counted as major excitement. I wanted big-city entertainment — and cable TV. We lived in the sticks, and couldn’t get cable. After I went off to college, my mom got a satellite (the precursor to Dish and DirecTV, probably), but even then, we only got a few channels … and NO MTV. Oh, the horror.

Nowadays, I’m pretty pleased with Flagstaff.

SunsetGreat scenery, beautiful spring and fall temperatures, summers that don’t get hot as hell, like the rest of Arizona. Winter leaves something to be desired, though. So ideally, I’d live in Flagstaff from April through November, then high-tail it to the Valley for the winter.

Do you spend more money on food or clothes?

Pants not tight anymore!Food. Definitely. I’m not a fashionable person. Most days, you can find me in sweats (or wearing the Boyfriend’s clothes). This outfit from Kohl’s is one of my dressier ones.

Have you ever broken any bones?

Not yet. (Knock on wood.) But as klutzy as I am, it’s only a matter of time.

Fad diets: yay or nay?

Depends on what you call a fad. I still firmly believe Atkins is a great option for many people, myself included. Yet others scorn it as a fad.

Knowing what you know now, what is one piece of advice you’d give to 18-year old you?

Exercise can be fun. Start now.

What is your dream career? (Props if you currently have it :-P )

Ideally, I’d quit the day job to become a full-time author. I’m working on it. Maybe once I have three or four books out there, I’ll be making enough to pay the bills.

If you could choose one type of cuisine for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Only one? Yikes. I’ve been craving pasta lately — perhaps because I’ve been reading about Carly’s adventures in Italy — so I have to go with Italian. Ask me next week and the answer might be Mexican.

What is your favorite part of your body?

Does my brain count? 😉 Probably not. My feet. I have gigantic size 9 or 10 feet (depending on the shoes). I used to wish for smaller ones, but at 5-foot-10, I’d look pretty ridiculous trying to get around on tiny size 6 feet.

What is the “signature dish” that you cook best?

Last-Minute Lasagna
Last-Minute Lasagna

I make a mean lasagna (and associated pasta-less versions of said dish). It was one of the first dinners I learned to make, in eighth-grade home ec.

The lasagna in this photo is Last-Minute Lasagna, a recipe I read about over at Carrots N Cake. It layers frozen ravioli with meat, sauce and cheese.

My nominees: Thanks, but I’m going to pass on nominating folks, since the moment is long gone.

My advice for the world

The other day, Lindsay wrote a great blog post sharing her advice to the world. The premise: You have a magic microphone that will allow everyone in the world to hear and understand you, and you can say three things.

Lindsay’s were: 1) Treat others the way you want to be treated, 2) Stand for something or you’ll fall for anything and 3) Comparison is the thief of joy (something I’ve blogged about myself).

Immediately, I started thinking about the advice I’d share — and fired off a retweet that included my response.

Then I read Carly’s post about making inspirational quote graphics online using Recite This. I knew I could write a simple post fairly quickly. And that appeals to me more than ever right now.

Dying to know my three things yet?


1) Spelling and punctuation matter.

I’m a writer. Of course I have to include that. I can’t stand seeing poorly spelled tweets and blog posts. Although I do occasionally lapse into text-speak to make my tweets shorter, it drives me crazy. And I actually text in complete sentences (most of the time), unlike the Boyfriend. Did I ever tell y’all I deleted his first email to me because it was riddled with typos/text-speak and I thought it was spam? True story. When the friend who was trying to introduce us asked me if I’d heard from him, I had to have her ask him to email me again.

I fear for the future if no one can read/write/express themselves. Reminds me of that Luke Wilson movie, “Idiocracy.” He plays an average, not-terribly-bright American who’s cryogenically frozen and wakes up in a distant future where he’s the smartest guy on the planet. No one thinks for themselves. Machines have pictures but no words. He has to … umm … save the world and stuff — I think. I couldn’t finish watching because the movie was so bad.

Yet I still think about it sometimes. Go figure.

2) Be kind. Self-explanatory, right?

3) Do what you love.

Life is far too short to be stuck in a job/house/relationship you hate, so make the most of the time you have.

The interesting thing about that? The day after I crafted my tweet answering Lindsay’s question, Katie from Blonde Ambition wrote a Treat Yourself Tuesday post that fits in with that third bit of advice. She celebrated her 25th birthday yesterday (yay, lower car insurance rates!) and talked about her “quarter-life crisis.”

She writes:

I have settled for a lot of things. I settled for an internship (which actually ended up being great), which eventually led to me settling for the first job I was offered. I was in a serious relationship for the first time – we were together for nearly 2 years, but looking back I can see that I was unhappy for much of it towards the end. I still live in the city I swore I would nevercome back to after college.

Then she talks about her change of attitude.

Whenever I come up with a decision to make, or two diverging paths to choose from, I only ask myself one question: what will make me happy? What will get me what I want in life, or where I want to be? No more settling.

Boy, did that hit home. I tend to settle. I’ve been in Flagstaff since 1999, working for the same employer even as it has changed owners and gotten to be a less-great place to work. The corporate overlords keep expecting us to do more with fewer people and resources. Our computers are nearly a decade old. We still work with CS2 — CS2, people. (Adobe’s selling CS6 or something now.) We can’t even upgrade our web browsers because the newer version of Firefox won’t run on our computers.

Yeah. I could go on … but that’s not the point. The point is that even though I may not be happy with where I am, I’m still there. It’s a paycheck. I can’t afford to quit (yet, anyway).

Perhaps more important: It’s comfortable, known. Safe. Fear of the unknown keeps me here.

I’m not completely stuck, though. Writing is my escape hatch. If my books take off, I might be able to quit the day job and write full time.

I knew I wanted to be a writer in second grade. In high school, trying to be practical, I decided to major in journalism. Even then I knew writers didn’t make money until they sold a novel, and I saw journalism as a way to make money writing while I tried to sell that first novel. So I got my degree and went to work as a cops/courts/city council reporter in Logansport, Indiana. After a year, I changed beats and started covering education.

I think it was in 1996 that I started writing my first romance manuscript (about an education reporter, naturally). Then I moved to Arizona and joined a writer’s group. I was writing at least a little bit the whole time (with the exception of several months after 9/11 when I didn’t feel like writing romantic comedy).

But it wasn’t until 2010 that I started really striving toward publication. That was the first year I entered the Golden Heart. I didn’t final that time, but I did in 2011 — and that GH final started opening more doors. And now here I am, with DIVA IN THE DUGOUT set to debut in mere weeks.

By the way, if you like funny, slightly racy romance novels and want to attend my online release party for DIVA, head to this Facebook Event page. I’m going to be giving away Amazon gift cards and other goodies the week of Oct. 15. Feel free to invite your romance-loving friends, too. The more, the merrier.

Wow. So much for a simple, quick blog post tonight. I started waxing philosophic, and now it’s nearly 3 a.m.

Ah well. Sleep is overrated, right?