Thursday, November 28, 2013

Monday, November 18, 2013

Creating Real Men

A friend posted a link to this blog on Facebook a few days ago. It's all about how to know you're dating a real man. I loved it. Partly because the description really fit the man in my life, but also partly because it occurred to me that it was a great checklist to keep in mind when creating a hero.

I went ahead and took a peek at his blog on the difference between bad boys and jerks. I feel like he hit the nail on the head and made some important points that, again, I want to keep in mind for the next hero I create.

I've read a lot of craft books in my time. I've read a lot of novels and thought about what I liked and didn't like about various characters. I think I'm going to stop doing that and start reading relationship books instead.

I have to admit, until my friend posted the blog, I'm not sure I knew who James Michael Sama was. I'm still not sure and I'm really hoping I'm not singing the praises of a total asshat here. Anybody know him? Read his blog? Think it's not a bad way to create a hero?

Friday, October 25, 2013

Milestone check in Day 5

Everyone did so well on their milestones, I'm part of the way towards mine.

The big one for me is writing more words, and editing at the same time, and I can do one, or the other, but haven't figured out a way yet to do both. So far, the 5000 words, I've been able to manage, the editing not at all.
So I'm going to work on that.

I've been eating pretty well, and the exercise has been pretty good, but I've moved from working out more with weights to Insanity which is a lot of jumping and it's taken a toll, my joints ache a little, and if it gets worse, I may have to stop, but as far as exercise goes, a lot gets accomplished when you're jumping up and down for a solid 40 to 50 minutes, and part of me is a little proud that I can manage to complete most of the workouts, so I'm reluctant to stop.

As for my hectic life, it's no less hectic, but I am watching less TV and reading more diversely. I also started the second book in the Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy by Rae Carson and it is fantastic. I highly recommend it.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Milestone Check In... More and Less...

So here was my list and my updates:

Drink less wine. I don’t want to stop altogether (I like it too much) but I’m cutting back.

I’ve been drinking less. Yeah! I still drink more than I should. I haven’t been as good as going Sunday through Thursday without drinking. It’s more like one night on, one night off. But given where I was before – for me to not be drinking 3 nights out of the week is progress. Sleepy Time tea is my new friend.  

Go to bed no later than 11:00 during the week. There is no reason on work nights to be up later than this.

Not coincidentally my success with this has been on the nights when I’m not drinking. So no wine, sleepy time tea and I’m ready for bed by 11:00. Staying up drinking wine… I must watch Jon Stewart and snort and giggle to everything he says.
Get up a little earlier in the morning. (see above) The key to getting up earlier is to fit in a few more tasks.

Total FAIL. Turns out it doesn’t matter if I drink wine or tea before going to bed, I still hate getting up in the morning. Especially in the fall when it’s darker, and the window is open and there is that crisp chill in the morning that makes you want to linger in bed. I simply am not a morning person.
Run 20 minutes a day a few times a week. Again – nothing crazy here. Baby steps. Easy things I know I can accomplish that are going to help get me in better shape.

This is mostly a fail. I have been getting in some long walks. I like to listen to the DBSA podcasts and again it’s been such a beautiful fall it seems wrong to be inside on a treadmill. But I haven’t been as consistent as I need to be.

Cook more.  I’m the opposite of most people. As a single person I cook on Saturdays and Sunday’s when I have time, but tend to eat out during the week. This leads to the wine and extra calories – so if I can find the energy to cook 1 more night a week at home this will help.

Success! I’ve been really good about making something on Sunday that gets me at least 2 meals out of the week. Not super healthy, not super bad. A lot of crock pot recipes! And I will say by the time I get to that third… sometimes fourth meal… it’s a little boring. But I’ve limited eating out to 2-3 times a week instead of 4-5 times a week.

So some success and some failure. I still need to drink less. I still need to exercise more. But here is what I’ve learned. If I don’t want to be a morning person – I have to find a way to get in exercise and writing after work. Usually I’m so mentally drained at the end of a day the thought of this is too onerous. But I can’t have it both ways. If I can’t make my mornings more productive – I have to make that 6-8 hour time slot in the evening more productive.

I’ll let you know how I make out next month. Anyone else following us out there? Want to let us know how you are doing?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Survival Quiz!


My milestone progress has been okay, but not great. I have made some positive changes and will report more next month. I promise.

But for now! I have something way more fun! A survival quiz from Wylie Snow, author of JUMP ZONE: CLEO FALLS.

Wylie is a good friend of the blog. Check out her book! You won't be sorry. (And isn't it the most gorgeous cover ever???)

Now, the quiz!!

In the book Jump Zone: Cleo Falls, the inhabitants of the Taiga forests struggle to survive daily life in the northern wilds.
Take this simple quiz to find out if you’re Taiga material…

Question 1
How many days can you survive without water:
A. 1
B. 3
C. 5
D. 7

Question 2
You’re lost in a northern forest and want to travel due south. Which indicator do you look to for help:
A. moss
B. sun
C. anthills
D. all of the above

Question 3
You should avoid sleeping on the ground for what reason:
A. ouch - you’ll wake up with stiff aching joints
B. the cold hard ground will zap your body heat
C. avoid snake bites
D. forest dirt leaves harsh un-washable stains

Question 4
Your weak from hunger and the insects are looking awfully yummy. Which should you avoid:
A. slimy ones
B. flying ones
C. brighty colored ones
D. ugly ones

Question 5
Thunder, lightning! How do you estimate the distance of a storm:
A. Count the seconds between the lightening strikes and thunderclaps and divide that number by five to equal the distance in miles.
B. When you feel the first raindrop, start counting the seconds until you hear a rumble of thunder, which equals the number of miles away.
C. Count the number of lightning strikes in one minute to equal the distance in miles.
D. Who cares! Get yourself under the biggest tree you can find and prepare to get wet.

Question 6
Oh no, you’re lost! But you know to implement the S.T.O.P. plan. Gosh… what do those letters stand for again?
A. Sing Things Or Pray – when in doubt, hum a hymn
B. Stretch Twirl Oscillate Pivot – keep moving, turn this adventure into an exercise plan
C. Stop Think Observe Plan – don’t do anything rash, think this situation through
D. Solo Time Operating Plan – you’re alone and it’s time to do all those crazy things you saved for when nobody was watching… yeehaw!

Question 7
You’re still lost, and night is falling. It’s time to build a shelter. Choose your spot:
A. An open, highly visible area – the search party needs to find you.
B. The edge of volcano - best place to keep warm!
C. At the bottom of a dry creek bed – no hair-curling dampness to worry about.
D. Close to a water source – you might get thirsty in the night.

Question 8
You’re stranded in a forest with only one item from your handbag. What would be the most useful thing? Choose just one:
A. Hairbrush
B. Nail file
C. Lipstick
D. Tampon


To see the answers, select the text with your mouse.

1 - B
The average person needs about 2 quarts of water per day to maintain good health. Going without water for 3 days spells death!

2 - D
All of the above! Though moss will grow on the north side of trees, it will be lusher and greener on the south side. Ants frequently build their nests on the south or southeast side of trees to take advantage of the warmth, and if you walk toward the sun precisely at noon, you’ll be headed due south.

3 - B
You’ll preserve your body heat by piling up a bed of grass, leaves or bows and getting yourself a few inches off the ground.

4 - C
Stop with the ick-face. Insects can be a great source of protein (pound for pound, as much as 3 times as much as beef!), but it’s a good idea to stay away from the bright ones, which could potentially signal poison or toxin. Leave the hairy ones and the smelly ones alone, too.

5 - A
As soon as you hear thunder, start counting – one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi, etc… until you see a strike of lightning. Divide by five and that’s roughly how many miles out the storm is. And for heaven’s sake, don’t stand under a tall tree!

6 - C
Stop moving, sit down and relax,
Think about your situation, how you got into it, how might you get out of it,
Observe your surroundings, your supplies and/or tools,
Plan your next move.

7 – A & D
Hopefully, somebody knows you’re missing (you DID tell someone about that wilderness hike, right?) so you should find or build shelter in a spot where the search and rescue team can find you. Though building too close to water can be hazardous (insects, animals coming to drink), it’s a good idea to stay fairly close as you need water to survive.

8 - D
You could probably find uses for all of those items, but surprisingly, a tampon is your best bet. The ‘Tactical Adventure Medical Preparedness Outdoors Necessity’ (see what we did there?), is a handy-dandy multi-purpose tool, summed up best by the good folks at The Art of Manliness (click the link, if only for the pictures of a man with a tampon in his mouth!):

Your score:
7-8 correct –Welcome to the Gloria Gaynor club – you will survive!
4-6 correct –brush up on your outdoor skills before you leave the beaten path.
1-3 correct – ‘Glamping’ might be more your style.
0 – don’t ever stray from civilization


Let us know how you did in the comments. Wylie will give away a copy of JUMP ZONE: CLEO FALLS to two lucky commenters!!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Okay. Checkin' in on those Milestones. Here were mine:

1) Recommit to Weight Watchers with Molly even though I have never uttered the phrase "I immediately lost 10 pounds" except possibly after having given birth. This means, no more taking spoonfuls of peanut butter, shoving them into the chocolate chip bag and eating the result washed down with milk. I am hoping to make it to the end of the month without doing that even once. I am hoping not to lie to you about it if I do.

I was kind of in denial over how much weight I'd gained. It's probably good that I had to face up to it even though it was depressing. After a few days, it became clear that I really wasn't eating enough fruits and vegetables. I'm doing a little better. I lost 3 pounds which isn't much, but it's a start.

I only did the peanut butter into the bag of chocolate chips thing twice. Once when my editor told me that my Messenger series was over and once the night after my mother's emergency pacemaker surgery. I think i get buys on both of those.

2) Get at least 1 of the chick lit books I'm rereleasing in November formatted for both Kindle and Nook.


3) Have my 20 page submission ready to submit for workshopping for the December residency of my MFA program (does it count as a Milestone if I HAVE to have it done by October 1?).


4) Play less Spider Solitaire. Seriously, I have a problem. It's absurd. I often reward myself for writing a page by playing a game of Solitaire. I am going to stretch that to two pages with plans to go to 3 pages in October.

I did a little better, but still not good. At least, it would be if I hadn't added in Sudoku.

5) Continue to exercise.

It's taking forever for my knees to heal, but I'm still getting out there. The best was a weekend ride up in Mendocino with a bunch of my girlfriends. Here's a picture of me doing Tree pose under the Redwood trees along Highway 128:

Monday, October 21, 2013

Milestones - let's check in, shall we?

So last month we decided it was time to recommit to some parts of our lives we've totally let slide.

I was going to write 10 - 12,000 words a week, recommit to Weight Watchers and get better sleep. am I doing?

In a word, or three actually - not so good.

I killed it writing. I did. I finished a project, wrote a bunch of blog posts that I'm proud of, brainstormed a new project that I am still noodling around with - it has a start date of Nov. 1. All of that I feel really good about. I do.

Recommit to Weight Watchers - ah....I'm about 50/50 here. I'm doing much better, am I as good as I was last April? Not even close. But I'm doing better. More veggies, no cheese. If I could ditch the drinking I think I'd be better off, but what's a beer-loving girl to do?

Sleep. DAMN YOU SONS OF ANARCHY AND NETFLIX!!!! Damn you! It's just so easy to say - one more episode. Just one. And before I know it it's midnight and my plans are totally pooched. Worse, I inevitably fall asleep while putting my daughter to bed, which makes me WIDE AWAKE at midnight. Gah. Just...gah!

One thing I feel really great about is a purge I'm doing of our laundry room - lots of useless junk that we've been saving for no reason getting out of the house. That's a great feeling.

So, friends? How are your Milestones coming?
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