Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A parking ticket and flyer made my day

Hey friends!

I'm staring at the clock, and it's 10:55 p.m. This is one evening I won't complain about going to fast. Today was one of those bittersweet days. Started bitter, ended sweet.

I left my phone home today, so you can imagine my grief. Then, I went to a parent/teacher meeting and realized I forgot my purse with all the paperwork! Then, as I was leaving, I found a parking violation on my windshield even though I was rightfully parked in a visitor spot. I did an angry march back into the front office, and the secretary made a call to the security line to find out the reasoning behind this madness. Well, the parking lot officer thought I was a student trying to park where I wasn't supposed to. I thought, "Hmm, should I be offended or flattered?" Haha! Flattery won. I even forgot about the trouble my sexy Jeep Compass is giving me.

Halfway through the day, in the midst of work stress galore, I got a call from the local librarian who confirmed I would be the spotlighted author on Feb. 14 for their Local Authors Hour event. On Love Day, I get to go give a presentation about my book at the very place I spent much of my childhood days head-first in a book. It's like a small fantasy come true. And I get to spend Love Day among the one material thing I love most in the world -- BOOKS!

I'm about 50 percent finished writing my book about autism, so that's another upcoming feat!

Oh, and how could I forget my babies! Autism didn't win this evening, because he ate his dinner, played some video games, and tucked himself in harmoniously and went to sleep before 10 p.m. My oldest, the aspiring actor and history buff, auditioned for a play this evening at a local college. Fingers crossed he gets the part. These are the days I just take deep breaths, relax, and thank God for every single moment of peace and happiness He allows me to feel and for every tiny speck of success I accomplish doing what I love to do --- Write!

'Til next time!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Melissa's Midnight Musings: Author Interview + Giveaway: Neesha Hosein

Hey, everyone!

I'm being profiled on this blog today! Be sure and enter the giveaway: an e-copy of my book + a Starbucks gift card for $10.

Worth a shot! Here's the link.

Melissa's Midnight Musings: Author Interview + Giveaway: Neesha Hosein: Hello fellow readers! Today I'm thrilled to be welcoming author Neesha Hosein to Melissa's Midnight Musings. Read on to learn more about he...

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Book Review: Miss Nobody by Nicole Dunlap

Today, I will review a book I just finished called Miss Nobody by Nicole Dunlap, gifted to me by the author for review. Here's the link to it on Amazon: Miss Nobody.

Synopsis from Amazon: How far are you willing to go for fame? Fifteen-year-old Charlene Shaw runs away from home to pursue dreams of becoming an actress. Taking a chance, she meets a truck driver with a cross around his neck. She's always been a bit hesitant about God granting her "luck," but takes this as a golden opportunity to get closer to her goal. On the rugged road to stardom, Charlene's using everything in her might to erase the past and the baby she abandoned--her daughter, Raven. Just thinking about Raven sends chills of fear down Charlene's spine

Meanwhile, Raven Shaw grows up in her mother's hometown, tight-knit Bellwood, North Carolina and has been dubbed "Miss Goodie Two Shoes." She's head of the children's choir, but nothing can calm her rage when someone gossips about her mom--she takes up for a woman she doesn't even know. On a mission, Raven wants to learn about Charlene, but her grandparents and people of the small town won't reveal anything. All the while, she finds love. Now Raven knows she can't be fully committed to the man that has her heart until she learns why her mother neglected her. When mother's and daughter's path collide, Raven asks her mother two requests--two family secrets that can ruin both of their lives. Leading Charlene and Raven down the road of feeling like... a "Miss Nobody." 

Well, I have the synopsis above, so I won't restate that, but will just get right to it. This was a book that kept me turning pages. I like that. Once those pages start speed-turning, I know I'm in for a treat. This story incorporated drama, humor, love, pain, surprise, suspense and shock value. Dunlap paints an unforgettable picture of drama between two families, emphasis on unforgettable. She shows how secrets can ruin lives, and the simplicity of truth shall undeniably set people free ... if only it is told. 

From the beginning, there are twists and turns starting from when Charlene ran away from home as a bitter but hopeful teen chasing her dream of becoming a movie star. Being raped during a hitchhiked ride by a truck driver with a nice smile is her second real-life lesson that seriously scars her but doesn't sway her from her dreams. The first lesson is what made her leave home. Just when I thought this was the brunt of the story, it made a turn and captivated me into her pregnancy and abandonment of her baby, thought to be that of the rapist. The audacity of her just bemused me the whole story. She seemed to selfish and immature, not to mention a nasty attitude. (This will be somewhat justified later in the book.) But at times, I just wanted to hold her and smack her. Her parents ended up with her daughter, Raven, which was yet another twist to the story. Raven was a feisty, confident young thing who didn't hesitate to use her fist when bullies mocked her as a bastard in their small town. She grew up under-privileged but well taken care of, nonetheless.

What is most intriguing about the book is that it seems very realistic and made me think of people in real-life I know who resemble some of the despicable yet lovable characters. This one slept with that one. The seemingly innocent are SO not! Lust, hunger for money and power, evidence of betrayal and of loyalty, all find a place in this story. We've all been through family drama, but this one is about five times the norm, and anyone who loves gossip, whether he admits it or not, will fall for that vibe in this book. It made me feel like I was eavesdropping on juicy gossip at the barber shop, and that is part of what makes it a fun read. 


Raven ends up falling in love with Jon, a member of the rival family, and their relationship has a disastrous chip on its shoulder. They develop feelings as kids, best friends, then lovers, and seem like the perfect love story until this deep secret comes to light, devastating them both and their families. I have to say that Jon was one of my favorite characters until the end when he just bails on his responsibilities. After Raven gives up everything for him, he just cuts out without a word or warning, leaving his evil mother to rip Raven's heart out even further. The half-sibling issue was nasty at first, but it sickly started to grow on me with these two, and I sat hoping the paternity tests would prove it false. Jon's mother's little secret about her unknown fling resulting in Jon, I must say, was a little bit overkill to the story at first, BUT since it made the half-sibling issue NOT an issue after all, I realized it was yet another twist that Dunlap clever injected into the story line. There are many of those! 

Almost everyone in this story had a dirty little secret, and all of them weaved together somehow. I can tell Dunlap put a whole lot of thought into this story, and her creativity shined through. The flow of the book was perfect! She managed to juggle a few different ongoing scenes between all the different characters so that I didn't have to wait long to find out what each was doing in their corner of the world. The character descriptions were delicate and not overdone, and she provided enough that it was easy to keep up with all of them. Dunlap sprinkled in just enough lovable ones vs. despicable ones, which gave the story a good balance. When Alice died, I literally felt sad and sorry for Charlene. Damien wasn't perfect, but the greatest guy ever. I have a "Damien," so I know how "real-life" he is! :)  I love how Dunlap created a world full of interesting people, dramatic events, memorable moments between friends and lovers alike, encounters that could happen to anyone, and a whole lot of "Wow!" I am happy to report there were NO boring parts in this book. If anything, some parts just seemed too rushed-through, and I wished there was more elaboration. That says a lot when you WANT the author to do some more rambling. There were minor typos, which you all know is my life's pet peeve, but the story was powerful enough to overlook that. 


I rate this book 5 stars. I would recommend it to anyone! It's a great read, and I loved it and enjoyed every page of it. GO GET IT! 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Ellen's funny commercial clips

Today's post will be a simple one. Your truly came home early from work today with fever and body aches! Yuck. But luckily, I was able to stay in bed all day and get tons of rest. 

I will let Ellen entertain you with some funny commercials, which I found to be hilarious, while I close out the day with some Tylenol and SLEEP. :) See ya tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Book blast from the past


I heard the name Ralph uttered today while I was at the store, and for some reason, it made me remember a book I used to read over and over when I was a kid ... Ralph S. Mouse. That made me remember the author Beverly Cleary, which made me think "Hmm, I wonder what ever happened to her?" And that is how my Web search began ...

This lady is 97 and still spunky! I read her books so much as a kid, yet never knew what she looked like until today. She also wrote the Ramona  books that eventually hit the big screen. That's what she discusses in the video.

She has this really cool interactive website that is perfect for kids. Check it out - Beverly Cleary

I applaud those who have been able to make book writing their career. So many of us dream that dream, don't we? 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Good prevails ... again


Today was a tough one to get through. Between work dilemmas and an unpleasant business encounter that I won't go into details about because it doesn't deserve the attention, I could be a basket case, but I'm not. Because, as I always say, goodness prevails. I like to view these tough times as "motivational pushes" to get somewhere with my novels! How many of you writers can relate to that notion? Aha, that's what I thought.

My kiddo with autism, who as you probably know has been having some serious behavioral issues, is on Day 4 of a new med. Fingers crossed that it helps his aggression issues!! AND - I got news today that he was awarded a grant by a local organization and will be able to start ABA therapy after all. Not sure how we'll afford it after the grant $ runs out, but we'll water that garden when we get there. This is great news!!

I've resumed reading a great book once again - Miss Nobody by Nicole Dunlap. Just about halfway, but it's one of those stories you speed read because you so want to know what happens! Stay tuned for the next book review. I'm so overdue for one. But I'm intent on catching up on my reading list of books to review. The life of a book blogger. We always want to make reading #1, then life kind of intervenes and deters our plans. But if it wasn't for that thing called life, we wouldn't have any books to review, would we? =)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Pretty pasta - get in my belly


Did you get my Fat Bastard reference? Cool, you rock.

Yesterday, it was shorts-and-T-shirt weather, and today, I'm wrapped in a blanket as I sit and type this post. That's a definite sign of Houston, Texas, livin'. The weather is like pot luck. Oh, and we just had chicken fried steaks and white gravy for a late lunch - that's another sign!

By way of a blooper, I made a really good lasagna today! I sent my 18-year-old to the grocery store to get some stuff to make dinner. His teenage restlessness makes him a great grocery-runner, always happy to oblige and for a reason to hit the road. He picked up the wrong lasagna. The one he brought home looked weird and was a "no-boil" type. I never used that before and suddenly feared my food would be less than my best, blah. I semi followed the directions, since I was lacking many of the ingredients for a traditional lasagna. So I basically created my own quickie version since I was behind my laptop all day trying to write and send out query letters and became procrastiNeesha again as far as house work and cooking was concerned. I threw together the:

No-boil pasta
Ground beef, cooked and seasoned with spicy stuff I had in the cupboard (2 lbs)
1 bottle of spaghetti sauce (Ragu's Garden Vegetables)
1 bag of shredded cheese

I layered the bottom of the baking dish with the no-boil pasta (which felt so weird!), then scooped the beef in and spread it out evenly. Added some shredded cheese all over. I did 3 layers just like this and put it in the oven. After about 35 minutes, it looked very done.

Human test subject #1 came downstairs not five minutes after, lured by the smell. Grocery boy! Hehe. He wolfed it down and said it was great, and when I saw him dive for seconds, I knew it was great. Then comes human test subject #2, hubby. Scarf, scarf, and shot me a thumbs up. Yay! Human test subject #Nabeel refused to try it. He voted for chicken nuggets and tater tots instead. Can't hate on that! lol

Moral of the story, sometimes a half-ass job is just as good as any job. (Don't take that too literally.)

So the finished product was a hit. If only I could say that about the book I'm working on! In due time, my pretties .. in due time.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Opportunies - Don't neglect them

I had to share this! If you're a blogger looking for a golden opportunity to get to review books before they're release, not to mention more notoriety, visit Kate's Blog to find out how this can be you!


I love "opportunities." For example, I just filled out some questions that will become an author interview on a book blog. As soon as the blogger finalizes all the details, I'll surely share it with you all. Right after that, I stumbled upon this on Twitter and entered my blog right away.

Last night I joined a Google book club that invited me to be one of the writers for a sci-fi series that they plan to self-pub. Sounded like a fun, so I jumped right in.

I was also recently invited to be a guest author and speaker at a writer's conference in California this April. A chance to speak about writing and promote my book? HELL YEA.

Hope you're all having a productive and lovely Saturday!

All I have to say is that SNL better not be another rerun! Cheers.

Sometimes I just want to read hilarious things


Today, I'll focus on the best medicine -- laughter. I have to have my daily dose or my world would be all stress. Those of you who know me totally understand how true that is. In all my net surfing and social media hopping and TV watching, I come across some really funny stuff. Whether you're a reader or not, if you take the time to just read something, even the back of a cereal box, a little poster, a sign, someone's T-shirt or bumper sticker, you could find your laugh of the day. Not all tear-jerkers are melancholy tales. Tears could indicate laughter as well. Today, I share with you this doozie I came across this morning on fb. This is why I put so much thought into naming things! Enjoy.

This made me LMFAO. No doubt.

This next link is to some hilarious names of real people. You will laugh at least 10 times. Here's a taste. Click the link below it to get the rest of the goodies.

 funny names 9 Parents can be cruel to their kids...and hilarious (20 Photos)
Get the full list of funny photos here.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Gift giving made easy


It's January, right. There's a whole year ahead of us full of anniversaries, birthdays, holidays, etc. That's a ton of gifts to buy. I thought of some ideas that may help ease the anxiety of "What do I get for this person!?" Believe or not, there are still great things to get for the person who seemingly has everything.

Step 1: Make a list of the person's interests. Does he like books, music, celebrities, decor, art, humor?

Step 2: Do some simple searching based on these interests and come up with a few options. Don't just rely on Wal-Mart or the mall. Remember, this is 2013! Use the Web! You wouldn't believe the amount of coolness that awaits your credit card number. Here are some kickass sites I stumbled upon.

Step 3: Make the purchase or make the gift. Arts & crafts are just as marvelous as any store-bought gift. It comes with a deeper sentiment, IMO.

For example, let's use my husband. He's an easy model for this. He goes bonkers for LOTR, The Hobbit, anything with swords and mythical creatures and lands. Game of Thrones. He also likes soccer and going to the movies. He LOVES home-cooked food, namely Trinidadian. He is a gamer. So, there. Think of the astronomical amount of gifts I could get him. Even if I don't know the exact games he likes, I can find out and get something game-themed like a poster, magazine, calendar, mouse pad, pens. The list is endless, really. And this method of gift-buying can work for anyone; even Scrooge himself had to like some things!

For the geek and lovers of all things silly:
Here's an example of the type of gems they sell! I want that!

For your history buff, check out this online store at History.com!
I would go nuts for something like this.

Is your sister or friend a die-hard Harry Potter fan? Why don't you swing by the HarryPottershop.com. I bet she would love to have Hermoine's time turner necklace. Again, I'd fall over if someone gave me this!

And last but never least, the word lover! These are the easiest people to shop for. Just get a Barnes & Noble or Amazon gift card, but make sure you get something tangible to go along with it. All these gift sites have very affordable stuff, so my examples may seem pricey to some, but if you search, there's tons more.

I found these adorable book pendants on Amazon.com! What book loving chick wouldn't love these?

By now, you get the gist of what I'm saying. Some people stress out over gifts, but it's not a tough
task. It just takes a bit of thinking. The world is full of treasures. Just takes a few clicks nowadays to find them.

Happy gifting!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Books save the day


I'm dedicating this post to telling you about my day, how authors and books saved it and in color are all the positive things that made me smile. Every day that I'm alive is a blessing, but that doesn't mean every day is wonderful all around. It's OK to have a not-so-awesome day, but make sure to point out the nice things that happen as well. They shouldn't be neglected.

I woke up in a very HAPPY mood. I spent the hour before work writing Book 2, still enthused about getting it finished by March. The kiddo almost had an episode this morning but didn't after all. It's been a beautiful cloudy day (those are my favorite!) steady around 60F. Got to work. Had a meeting. Day turned horrendous. Thanks a lot, work, for sucking today. The work day was so utterly awful that I actually cried during lunch. Wiped my tears and headed to the local library to attend the monthly author's group that I'm a member of. I get SO excited when I enter a library or book store! The euphoria that books bring to me takes a long time to wear off, and that is magical. I was delighted to meet our newest members, a couple from England who run a graphic design business. Their accents were so AMAZING! I felt like I was in a Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Harry Potter and/or Game of Thrones book! Simply refreshing. We spoke about book cover design today. I showed mine (to the left), and everyone really liked it and spoke of all the things they liked about it, even the catchy title. That cheered me up immensely. I had to leave 15 minutes early to go back to work to prepare for a presentation that was already giving chest pains. =/

Before heading to work, I stopped at McDonald's and got a burger and fries. Stress eating really does help, you guys. As the cashier gave me back my debit card, he also handed me a free gift - a McDonald's 2013 calendar! How cool is that. This made me smile. Might be a corny reason to smile, but lord knows I needed perks today. Got back to work. Saw a really good friend who is so sweet, and the sight of him alone cheers me up. Got back to working on the presentation, and stress returned. Presentation went un-good. Came back to my desk an emotional wreck, and vented to my lovely co-worker. Then I walked out into the misty evening to my sexy Jeep and went to pick up my kiddo. "Please don't let this be a screamy evening," I prayed on the way to get him. We got home in one peace, and I immediately started dinner, making a pot of Pelau (a Trinidadian cuisine involving rice, chicken and beans). I saw my handsome husband, and smiled. I saw my kids and smiled. Nabeel had a few mini screamathons, though, but tomorrow we visit the child psychiatrist to see about getting him some help for these violent tantrums once and for all. The Golden Girls marathon is back! (They stop it during the holiday season to play Christmas movies.) Yay! Now I hope for a good night's sleep, and a productive day tomorrow.

The purpose of this post was to show you that your day may seem like a bad one, but if you color in all the details that weren't so terrible, you'll see that goodness is dominant. I bet you noticed the colored parts way more than the dull parts, right? I highly recommend all of you to do this exercise when you are feeling down and need proof that things weren't so bad after all.

This weekend is dedicated to job hunting and writing, FOR SURE! :)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Vocab rehab


If there's one thing I enjoy, it's learning new words! Sometimes, when I'm writing and I find myself repeating a lot of words or phrases, I stop! Never want to come across as a writer with a limited vocabulary! How oxymoron'ish is that. This is why I always read and re-read and re-read what I compose. This not only knocks out typos you didn't catch the first round but also redundancies that can be just as bad. Writers all have their own unique style, favorite words, and tone, so it's not uncommon to keep recycling the same words over and over. I catch myself doing that sometimes, and I try to backtrack.

I have a rock collection, but it's not as cool as my word collection. If I see an interesting word somewhere or hear someone use one, I scribble it down. Or there might be a ton of words I know but just haven't heard in a long time, so they seem new to me again. I write those down. I was one of those word-nerd kids who used to max out my library card, join spelling bees, and read the dictionary for fun. Not a shock that I ended up as a writer in the end, right?

These days, since I don't have time to study the good ol' dictionary, I pick up words in other ways. For instance, meetings. I'm fascinated by other people's choice of words. Today, I heard the words:

- Precocious (advanced; gifted)
- Ambivalent (undecided)
- Salient (noticeable)

Words With Friends is another wondrous avenue for learning words! People come up with the wackiest of words to play, and I have a habit of looking up all the words I don't know. Why not?

In the past week, I've learned the words:

- Anodic (a positively charged electrode)
- Ramie (a plant)
- Urd (a legume)

This is my latest board, and there are several here I need to look up or hadn't heard used before, like: pram, fud, atilt, dex.

Novels! As I read tons of novels, I come across cool words that I'd never used before, and of course, I write them down. 

Well, those are my thoughts for today. If you have methods of learning new words, please comment and share! 

'Til next time. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

3 writing boosters


I found this adorable video about writing, namely dialogue, today on Youtube. It inspired me to share some good writing resources I've stumbled upon recently, so enjoy!

I enjoyed this interview with word wonder Stephen King, one of my favorite authors. I like that he's so laid back, even wearing a roller coaster T-shirt, and he refuses to have anything to do with social media. I want to get this book, because I really do enjoy short stories now and then.

Purdue University's Online Writing Lab (OWL) -- http://owl.english.purdue.edu/ -- has helped me tremendously over the years with grammar and quick reminders about writing rules. The lessons are short and precise, so it's easy to get what you're searching for very quickly.

Monday, January 7, 2013

I bought some happiness for 5 bucks


I know I was knockin' Wal-Mart yesterday, but today I'll praise them a bit. Despite the odd collections of humans who tend to gather there in outrageous attire and provide me endless entertainment, Wally World is also known for their low prices. And, I love to peruse their book section. This is where I obtained all my Twilight and Hunger Games novels, btw. I stopped for groceries today, and as I was rummaging through the cucumbers, I felt a force pulling me and pulling me and pulling me. I couldn't control it no matter how hard I fought! Next thing I know, I was ....

... in the arts & crafts aisle.

And this stunning purple yarn jumped off the shelf and into my arms. Its packaging even said "With Love," awww. So I put it in my cart, promising to give it a home in my craft closet. Then I passed this new display of DVDs packaged differently from the usual plastic casing. Curiosity killed the cat, so to save a life, I had to investigate. It was a barrel of movies for $.96, and I saw a couple that I had to have, so I introduced them to my new yarn companion, and we all became friends forever.

I work at NASA, so naturally,  I'd want that Challenger movie. And I'm a huge Rosario Dawson fan so, of course, I'd want that movie. By the time I checked out with my new pals (these three material objects), I was happy, and they only cost me $5. 

And lo and behold, the night before school starts, my kid has a major meltdown, and we all end up with headaches from the screaming. I sat melancholy in my room, feeling sorry for my poor sweet husband who always takes the brunt of these episodes to protect me. I sat staring at my yarn. And then I started making yarn pompoms with no purpose. I was going through the motions, thoughts running rampant about what to do to come up with funds for autism therapy for this child of mine. 

Now I understand why people have garage sales and bake sales and car washes. Perhaps I should do such a thing. I'm not good at event planning. Maybe I could sell some of my creations at an arts & crafts fair. Might be fruitful to find one and ask, right? This would be a great time for my book to earn me some dough or for some high-paying publications to hire me for some story writing. *sigh* But, for now, it's just me and my yarn. 

And now I have like a whole bunch of these. Aren't they cute?

Sunday, January 6, 2013



I'm the world's best procrastinator, but only for things I aspire outside of the daily grind. I'm pretty responsible when it comes to painful responsibilities like online bill pay and enduring the weird world of Wal-Mart for my family's affordable sustenance. OK, if you've never indulged in www.peopleofwalmart.com please go there NOW, and click on the "photos" tab. You can even click on your state (under that same tab) and see the tomfoolery in your 'hood. This is one from Texas, which doesn't surprise me since it's a familiar sight lol. http://www.peopleofwalmart.com/57208/the-walmart-special/ It's not even the photos that really crack me up; it's the captions!

Do the overalls come with the mullet or do you think they’re sold separately?
 I’m assuming it’s a 2 for 1 deal that’s just too daggone tough to pass up!
Back to procrastination ...

It's the stuff that could bolster my writing career and side business that I slack off on. Imagine that, right! Flash me a Words With Friends notification, and see how fast I jump on that bitch like a hungry ant on a cookie crumb. But to sit, focus, and finish a story I started writing months ago? Ha! That coincides with Halley's Comet.

I like how it says "DO PORN," then "PORN DIET." hahaha
OK, I'm not THAT bad, but sometimes, it does feel like centuries pass between my finished products. Yea, I'm a busy gal, but still. If I have time to piss around all day playing fb games or wasting an extra hour at Wal-Mart people watching or looking at junk I don't need, I have time to finish my creative projects, dammit.

Well, today, folks, I battled that nasty ol' procrastination. Today was my husband's birthday, so I don't know if my love and honor of birthdays kept me from being a loser today, but it was ON! Let me share with you my list of writing accomplishments for the day, so that maybe my blabber can inspire at least ONE of my readers.

  1. A new paranormal-themed story jumped into my brain while I was in the shower today, and I knocked out 1,200 words within an hour. Then I got totally stuck and couldn't decide what direction to take the story, but still. I did some writing, yay!
  2. I'm nearly finished with the book I showed you yesterday regarding freelance writing as a career. To not waste the valuable knowledge I've obtained from it, I wrote down a list of all the article ideas I plan to pursue in the upcoming weeks.
  3. I made a list of online publications I plan to hit up for writing gigs.
  4. I started reading another book on my book review agenda 
  5. I made a few more networking connections on the Bookblogs site
  6. I finished up a résumé for a new client.
  7. Wrote a letter of recommendation for a friend applying to an MBA program
  8. All while celebrating my hubby's first birthday with me in the USA! <3
Not too shabby, eh?!

I can't believe tomorrow's Monday already! Urrghhhh. Well, ready or not, here it comes. Wishing you all a safe and prosperous work week.

    Saturday, January 5, 2013

    We all want to do the freelance dance


    As I aspire to make writing my full-time bread-n-butter, I must explore all avenues and weigh every option. I know it's everybody's dream nowadays, but, for me, it's imperative that I find a way to be home more for my son who's struggling with the autistic terrible teens right now. Evenings and weekends are simply not enough to make things happen and get him the help he seriously needs. I sure don't earn enough vacation time to constantly set up all the appointments required for therapy, doctor visits, testing, etc. What is a struggling mom to do? Find a way. That's what.

    I bought this book by one of my most admired freelance writers. I find that reading about others' success helps motivate me in my own endeavors. She's one of the highest paid in the nation today. Her track record is mind-blowing! She's written for magazines and businesses like Women's World, Match.com, Prevention, Writer's Digest. She runs Absolutewrite.com and has taught many writing classes. Not to mention, she wrote Celine Dion's biography! What a gig, right?! I admire this chick for a number of reasons. She's a determined writer, a great role model who is willing to share her secrets to success (I am reading it right now!), and she is insanely persistent, which is why she's so successful. Think of how many "goals" we make all the time but cease to do anything to make them a reality. Glatzer even battled agoraphobia and panic disorder and couldn't leave her house, so she was pretty much forced to make a living from behind her keyboard. I certainly don't have those conditions, but I do have a potentially violent autistic child.

    This book is so motivating! Mind you, it's from 2004, BUT from what I'm reading, it's still pretty relevant  The advice is timeless. The way she writes is very catchy, and you really feel like she's talking to you, specifically. I've read tons of self-help and motivational books, and none made me feel as hyped to get a move on my success plan as this one. It's not just all "be the best you can be" type jabber. She gives you real resources to look up, actual query letters of hers that got accepted and some of what she teaches her writing students. Check her out: http://jennaglatzer.com/

    Well, I guess this is a semi-book review, ha! I'll write a more complete one when I'm done reading, but I was so thrilled to share these thoughts, I just had to blah blah blog.


    Friday, January 4, 2013

    The power of words


    I saw a posting about an essay contest today, and I got so freakin’ excited that I dived right on to MS Word and wrote my essay in about 30 minutes! Then I went back to see how to submit it and realized it was only for Atlanta residents. Dammit! People, this is why you should always read the fine print FIRST. Oh, well. I thought that since it was such a powerful piece, I’d post it here as my fourth blog post of the year. It’s about appreciation for that one special teacher who might have done something to change your life. I had one, and here is my essay:

    Prejudice. Racial profiling. Bullying. Sexism. These are four things I knew about too well as an adolescent, minority girl in public school in the ‘80s and ‘90s. My last name was a welcome mat for religious and racial persecution no thanks to the ongoing Gulf War at that time. Jocks used to play keep-away with my backpack, shouting false claims and mockery about me being a terrorist and that Saddam was my uncle. I had a couple bullies who thought it was hilarious to throw spit wads and gum into my long, curly Indian hair. I was frequently asked if my dad owned a convenience store or if I was related to Ghandi. No, dumbasses. I was born on the Caribbean Island of Trinidad & Tobago, and I am Indian-hued because of my beautiful ancestry. Get a clue! Instead of verbalizing these witty comebacks that formulated in my mind out of the fury in my heart, I cried and tried to remain as obscure as possible. Fashion wasn't on my side since I was labeled as “nerdy,” and I didn't have many friends because I simply didn't fit in anywhere.

    During my out-of-school time, I spent most of my childhood in my haven, my bedroom. This is where I obsessively read tons of books. I also wrote short stories in which I was the most popular and beautiful girl in the world, whatever world I created. Bullies were turned into mythical creatures whom I slaughtered into oblivion with my super powers. When I got fed up of reading and writing, I’d just lie on my bed for hours and think (with the radio on), longing to understand what was my purpose in this world.

    Then came 7th grade Language Arts class, and I got my answer. My homemaker mom taught me how to read before I was 5 years old. So, it’s no surprise that I always excelled in Language Arts and English classes. This class was like entering Platform 9 ¾ and going to Hogwarts, a home away from home where I learned to "spell," only it wasn't magic spells, but words. Same thing to me! My pen was my wand. Ms. Cheri Cowart was big on writing short stories, my niche! She took a special interest in me. I was taken aback at being praised and treated like a superstar. She raved about my stories and one day told me, “You are a very talented writer for your age. This is very good work. Never stop! This is your strong point, so keep on writing. I know you will do great things with this ability some day.” She helped me get a thriller I wrote published in the school’s literary magazine, one of my proudest achievements. I admired how she took special time to mentor students she thought had serious potential. She told my parents several times in calls and notes how amazed she was by my writing and demeanor and that I was the type of student who made her love teaching. We kept in touch until I went off to high school. These were the days before smart phones and social media, so contact was lost.
    From then on, any time someone tried to belittle me or put me down, I remembered ONE person believed I was talented, and that’s all I ever needed. Her words stuck with me all my life, and through teen pregnancy, family turmoil, abuse, divorce, illness, and crisis after crisis, I always remembered what she said and held on to my dream. I attempted careers in the medical field, pharmacy, banking and finance, health and safety, but look where I ended up. Right where I was always meant to be.

    Today, I’m a professional writer, editor and communication specialist for NASA Johnson Space Center. I’ve written for local newspapers and magazines. I started my own writing and editing business, and I’m a self-published author with many future books and stories in the works. I run a book review blog and still read like a word-obsessed maniac. For years and years, I used my journalistic connections, tools and people-search memberships to find Ms. Cowart but to no avail. I checked social media, hoping she had an ID somewhere. No luck. She was quite young when she taught me. For all I knew, she got married and moved, died, left the country; how could I ever know? I even called the school district to see if they could provide some information. Dead end. Then, in 2011, I randomly typed her name in the facebook search for the umpteenth time, and finally! Her name came up with a photo that resembled her, but I was uncertain. I sent a message right away, and the next day, I got a reply that said, “Devil Girl, is that you?” Bingo! She nicknamed me Devil Girl after a phone chat with my dad. He told her I was smart but very stubborn and rebellious. Ha! I love him. I guarantee you he’d still say that today.

    She told me she's now retired but never forgot me. To this day, she still talks about me to her students and uses me as an example of motivation. She even kept a photo of me. She still remembered every single thing about me, a lot of which has NOT changed one bit. She even sent me a birthday package to prove she still knew me. In it was a book, a ton of chocolate and a photo of me from 7th grade. She still rocks! 

    United after 22 years. I finally found her and had the golden opportunity to thank her. THAT teacher. That God-sent teacher whose boundless heart, kind words and encouragement carried me through the darkest hours of my entire life and allowed me to believe, against the odds, that I could be just what I wanted to be.

    A writer.

    Thursday, January 3, 2013

    A world made of chocolate


    I'm so happy that the people in the house directly across from my bedroom window still have their Christmas lights up, and the glow comes through into my room ... coolness. Why can't every month of the year have some festive theme that gets people all hyped to overly decorate and entertain me like this?

    Speaking of decor, I was in a very chocolate-obsessed mood today, so I started randomly looking up things made of chocolate to feed into my chocolate fantasies and came across these doozies. I think if I could have my choice of super powers, I'd want to have a magic wand that turns anything (or anyone!) into chocolate.

    Brighton artist moulds milk chocolate toilet

    Chocolate toilet 
    Sarah Pager said she made the toilet out of chocolate because of its smell and colour
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-17523798 (full story here)
    An artist from Brighton has created a toilet entirely made from milk chocolate to go on display in Sussex.

    Sarah Pager made the edible artwork for an exhibition at the Towner Gallery, in Eastbourne, and said she hopes to sell it for £3,200.

    She created a mould out of silicon and plaster and then poured in 17kg (37lb) of chocolate.

    Ms Pager said she chose to make the toilet out of chocolate because of its smell and colour.

    "I used it mainly because of the smell (of chocolate), it's such a desirable commodity there's an element of cognitive dissonance," she s

    "I'm very interested in issues surrounding the body and body processes.

    "I'm also interested in the moment when you're alone with yourself when you're in that animal moment.

    "Bathroom fittings represent that for me in that they are a ritual but also a luxury when it comes to separating us from animals."

    Chocolate people?

    These aren't for eating, I assume, but, man! Can you imagine actually eating these? Where would you begin! Check out these freaky chocolate sculptures - http://www.buzzfeed.com/hgrant/20-things-people-have-actually-made-out-of-chocola

    OK, how about chocolate shoes!? Talk about a fantasy of two of my favorite things!

    NEW! Chocolate High Heel Shoe - Deep Red Pump
    Our expert cobblers of cocoa have fashioned another masterpiece of edible glamor with this dark chocolate high heel. Sporting a white chocolate interior and a luster dust of deep red, the latest addition to Gayle’s line of shoes features a diamond shaped toe decor and comes packaged in a reusable plastic purse with Gayle′s classic satin bow. If you′ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop, well… here it is! 7 inches long, 5-1/2 inches high.

    SKU : 09-036
    Net weight: 14.5 oz
    Price: $ 45.00


    Wednesday, January 2, 2013

    Thanks for nothing, Sandman


    Have you ever been so tired, you know you could go lie down in the middle of the street and sleep peacefully, too exhausted to care about impending danger? That's me ... right now. I ran on zero hours of sleep today, and it was NOT fun. Thank goodness I have a lively co-worker next to me who keeps me laughing most of the day. Nabeel didn't clunk out until after 2 a.m. I'm hoping he doesn't pull that again tonight. Mind you, I wasn't awake because of insomnia! I was dead tired, just fighting to stay awake, because it's not wise to fall asleep before your autistic son who tears up the house when he's upset. Then, I got to that point where I was SO extremely tired that I passed the point of relaxation and dozing off and could not get comfy all night. Every single solitary noise re-alerted me, and the grumpy Grinch version of me took over. My poor husband, lol.

    Here's an excellent post about how to handle sleep deprivation. Check this out: http://regenerationville.com/harmful-effects-from-lack-of-sleep-and-how-to-beat-them/

    But if you ARE having legitimate insomnia, here are a list of things besides sleep aid medication that knock me out when I desperately need a KO!
    • Slow or old school country music
    • Reading
    • C-Span
    • Coffee (Seriously, coffee knocks me out.)
    • Pizza
    • B&W movie
    • Word searches
    • Seeing someone else yawn repeatedly
    • Simply lying down and getting "too" comfortable.
    *YawWwn* OK, before I fall out of my chair and onto the floor and into a dream coma, let me share this adorable and funny video with you. It's a sweet little baby boy who seems to be feeling the same way I'm feeling right about now.

    Tuesday, January 1, 2013

    Day one of '13


    How did you kick off the first day of the year? I woke up super late feeling more tired than when I went to bed the night before. I did grocery shopping. We went to my mom's for dinner. Now, I'm extra sleepy, knowing I have to work tomorrow after a four-day weekend, and my kiddo is as bright-eyed as an owl! I'm freezing, but sipping on cold water to keep myself awake.

    Today, I begin to test myself on whether or not I can repel bloggers block with all my might and post every day this year. I feel so dirty when I have long periods of no blogging. I won't say this is a new year's resolution by any means, but Jan. 1 is the best day to jumpstart a plan, as far as I'm concerned. So, whether it's a funny image, a witty paragraph or two, a book review, a guest post, author interview, piece of advice or inspiration, links I want to share, picture of the day, something simply goofy, or a serious post about an issue I'm passionate about that day, I will attempt to blog you up daily! I have five books waiting to be read and reviewed, plus at least six authors who have agreed to be interviewed, which means giveaways! I realized a long time ago that it isn't the year that has to be good to you, it's YOU who has to make the most of the year. And being a procrastiNeesha is not going to get you very far. *wink*

    I will leave you with an inspirational post I read today regarding The Hobbit and its author. It's so true. I thought of another author who this relates to, as well, J.K. Rowling - http://bestsellerlabs.com/the-hobbit-movie-writing-secret/#more-6465

    What are your thoughts?