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Sunday, December 28, 2014

I Has The Sads

I've been kind of down since Thanksgiving. We temporarily gave up Christmas trees and presents and sparkly decorations three years ago because I go nuts and spend too much during the holidays and start the new year in debt. As we're trying to save for a house, this behavior will not stand. So Christmas has been cancelled for the most part. Add into that, my mom, who is the solitary member of my family I still communicate with in any meaningful way, moved out of state. Which makes me feel extremely lonely for family during the holidays, no offense to my lovely friends or my hubs. Its not the same. Then mix into that, I just turned thirty-five.

Thirty-five.

35.

Treinta y cinco.

God-awful pretty
So the combo of all these things appears to have spiraled me into a level of depression I haven't had in years. I woke up on my birthday with it. A not-answering-the-phone, not-taking-showers kind of depression. A lay-on-the-couch- and-watch-Borgia kind. And frankly, any depression that makes you watch Borgia is the worst kind. That show is god-awful.


Also I'm sort of depressed about this blog. I hired someone to make it pretty. Paid a wad of cash. It was a cluster-fuck. She'd tell me she'd get back with me in a day and I wouldn't hear from her for a week. She routinely forgot the things I requested. After three months she gave me my $$ back, but I was left with a mess of code that I can't figure out and honestly, the blog looks kind of bad. Sloppy. So I'm pretty bummed about that too.

But mostly, I think thirty-five is what has me in a funk.

I loved turning thirty. My thirties have been amazing. I mean just this year alone I finished two novels. My life is on-track and my birthdays have not been bothering me. Yet now, I'm sitting back and cataloging my failures both real and imagined. We are making strides toward a house but the market isn't great and we still don't have enough saved for a down payment. I have my diabetes under control right now but my mortality is ever-present in my mind. Every year older reminds me that I probably won't live to be very old. I'm not making any strides with my weight. We seem to have given up on keeping our house clean as my depressions tend to be contagious to my hubs. I've started getting frequent and alarming nose bleeds. My hair is frizzy. My skin is ruddy. Oh and our PS3 died.

Depression is nonsensical sometimes. Yes my mortality and my PS3 are equal things to be sad about in my crazy head.

In an attempt to be positive, here is a list of good things in my life:  My BFF moved back from Mexico to Michigan. Hubs bought me the Supernatural edition of Clue with a gorgeous pic of Sam and Dean on the box. Our furnace quit running right before Christmas and one of Santa's elves fixed it for free. I got some new outfits from Torrid. My mama sent me birthday cash. My nails are currently sparkling like the midnight sky. I started using over-priced Shea Butter lotion that smells like citrus and my nubby, rough elbows and forearms are smoother than they've been since childhood. I guess that's what fifteen dollar lotion does. Our finances are looking pretty good and after three spare Christmas seasons, we have built up a nice bit of savings. My third and fourth books are being sorted out in my head and I'm also thinking a lot about my very first completed novel, my Detroit love story. I think it needs a total overhaul but I liked the characters and I think its salvageable. We have running vehicles, heat, electricity, food, money for medications, an insane amount of eyeshadow and nail polish... in short, life is good.

But I'm sad anyway.

Art by Moon Princess at  elysian-dreams.tumblr.com/


Sunday, November 16, 2014

NaNoWriMo ACCOMPLISHED

I hit 50K on November 14th.
I hit 50K on November 14th.
I hit 50K on November 14th!

Holy crap, I really did it. I started like three days late and I still finished 17 days early. I feel invincible. Also my story is hilarious. Different from my last book. These characters don't cuss as much and don't have so many heavy issues but man are they funny. Also they are dirty birds. And that's fun.

I'm spending the rest of the month finishing the manuscript. Then I'm taking a break in December. Or I might start the third one. Who knows? I'm a maniac this year.


2014, you is my bitch.









Thursday, November 6, 2014

IWSG: Better Late Than Never

A quick and late IWSG.

I'm struggling with this story. I've taken to writing scenes rather than a complete story because these characters are further from who I am and that's a challenge. A single mom (when I don't have or want kids, what possessed me?) and a middle-aged businessman (of which I am neither).

I'm starting to get that fear. You know the one. Where you think, maybe that was it. Maybe I only had the one book in me and there won't be another good one. I'll be the Vanilla Ice/Blind Melon/Dee-Lite of the romance world and people will say, "What happened after that first crazy book?" and shake their heads.

As you do.

Also I wrote a scene. A great scene. I love it. But the more I'm staring at it, the more I'm wondering if I didn't steal part of it from some other book I read. But I can't put my finger on it. But it feels familiar... dammit writing is hard.

So yeah. That's it. But, I'm still kicking ass at NaNoWriMo, cuz when in doubt... I just write a sex scene. I've already written two. WORD COUNT ACCOMPLISHED, BITCHES.

This is why no one should ever take writing advice from me.



How YOU doin'?

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Editing done and NaNo Begun...

Who has two thumbs and wants to do NaNoWriMo on a book she has neither outlined nor created character profiles for?

This girl!

It also looks like I might be rapping like Eminem. There's a "Yo baby, wuz up?" quality to my artwork, don't you think?


So I edited fifteen chapters of my last book in about one week. The first eleven chapters are hash but I'll deal with those in February. I finished rewriting the end chapter last night. Its much better and sexier.

Its time to put these characters I adore to rest. They will still exist in my next book or two, but I won't be inside of their heads anymore and that fills me with a certain kind of sadness. Also this new book is lighter. Still heavy themes (family dysfunction, perfectionism, single mom-hood, etc) but not as heavy as the last one. And the characters don't have a built in relationship like my childhood friends turned lover did. I actually have to build it from the ground up. Scurrrrry.

Anyhow that's all. Just a quick update before I start flipping out over NaNo.

See you on the other side kids.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Christina Vs. The Barista II


Me: I'd like a Dark Hot Chocolate with two shots of caramel.**
Barista: Uuhhhhh, did you want a Cocoa Carmella?
Me: Is it the same as a dark hot chocolate with two shots of caramel?
Barista: I don't know.
Me: Ok, then I'll have a Dark Hot Chocolate with two shots of caramel.
Barista: *Consults with other barista*
Barista 2: Uhm, did you want a Cocoa Carmella?

Me: Is that the same as a Dark Hot Chocolate with two shots of caramel?
Barista 2: Uhm, its like a shot of chocolate and a shot of caramel.
Me: Is that the same amount of shots I'd get with a Dark Hot Chocolate with two caramel shots?
Barista 2: No.
Me: *Through clenched teeth* I'd like a Dark Hot Chocolate with a double shot of caramel. I'm fine with whatever you have to call it to get those things into a cup and then serve it to me. 
Barista 2: *Gives me a look like I'm a crazy person while she makes my drink, mumbling.*
Me: *Weeps*

The most frustrating thing is that every single time I go, we have this conversation and every time, I ask them to clarify how much chocolate and caramel you get in the two different drinks, since the menu doesn't tell me. They refuse to answer me. So instead we have to fight every single time.




Friday, October 10, 2014

Howdy

Hey Party People! I'm sorry I've been a ghost lately. I'm in the last stretch of my novel. I gave myself a deadline to finish it by the 26th of October, so I'll have a few days to prep before NaNoWriMo. Ahhhhh! Its scary. I have two measly weeks to finish it and instead of writing, I'm looking up pictures of shirtless Dean Winchester. Oops.

Anyhow, I'm not doing a traditional NaNoWriMo this year. Instead, I'm going to use the deadlines to get my new novel off the ground. I want both of them finished before I start querying for agents next year. If I do things the way I want to, I'll have a third or fourth one in my back pocket by the time I get the first one published. I hate the pressure of deadlines, so I'd like to have some wiggle room.

In other news, my blog is getting yet another overhaul. You'll notice a deterioration in the attractiveness of it for a little while. I'm playing with some ideas and I have hired someone who knows code better than I do to get the heavy lifting done. The test site looks amazing and we'll hopefully be finished by the end of the month. Just in time for NaNoWriMo and for me to fall off the face of the earth again. Ah well.

The rest of life is good. Good food, lovely husband. First episode of the of the new season of Supernatural is already on Hulu which brings me endless joy. SHIRTLESS DEAN! I'm easy to please.





Wednesday, October 1, 2014

IWSG: Of Workshops and Writing Careers

insecurewriterssupportgroup.com
I want to be a published author.

I am already a writer, but being published is the next step. As my manuscript is winding down (I'm in the third act), I'm realizing more and more, that I need to get out there and start my writing career.

So I joined a local writing association, which has been wonderful. I love the energy and the fantastic mix of people. I've gone to monthly writing workshops which have been fantastic. The last one was so good. It was all about figuring out how to get unstuck in your story. It was great and I had some epiphanies about my book that are going to make it much better. I also paid a wad of cash to attend a writing conference where I get two, count them two, workshops with Donald Maas. One is a two-hour generalized workshop about writing and the other is a four-hour advanced workshop where we'll be working on our manuscripts. My manuscript will be in the same room as Donald Maas!

If you read his name and got as excited as I did, you're a huge nerd. Its okay. Admitting it is the first step. 

In other news, I just finished chapter twenty-five and it took some turns I wasn't expecting but I like them. I'm elbow deep in angst and my characters are running from their feelings and its awesome. I wrote some scenes in the last five chapters that make me so proud to do what I'm doing.

I'm now no longer working with an outline, so I'm not sure where my story is going to go, now. But I suppose that's part of the fun.

That's all.

Oh wait. I started scenes for two different followup novels. Yep.  I killed it in September! Productivity rules!

And those are words you never think you'll grow up to say.

Friday, August 22, 2014

What's in the box?

Those of you who actually read my under-rated bon-mots on the Book of Face can probably tell that I've had a challenging week. Bunches of little, silly things that aren't a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but I had good thing happen too! I entered a contest through Rite Aid, where I submitted a picture-a-day of my eyeshadow and I won a prize! So many exclamation points!!! 

Not pictured: Goop's head.
I had to fill out a shady looking form that came from a shady looking email address and I became convinced that I'd been scammed. They never told me what I won. They never stated that I actually did win. All the correspondence said, "You may be a winner". So a week after I turned in my shady form, I received a suspicious-looking box on my porch. When I opened it, there was a pretty, white box inside of that. And at that point,I have to tell you, I was very concerned that it might be Gwyneth Paltrow's head. Because my brain is a scary place and Se7en is an awesome movie. 

I'm glad to say, it wasn't. Instead, it was full of drugstore eye makeup! Whoo! I'm always excited about free stuff, but this does present a certain challenge. I'm pretty particular about my eye makeup since I'm sensitive to most mascaras and eyeliners and straight up allergic to all foundations. My eyes itch and swell if I use the wrong eye makeup, so I have to be careful. When it comes to drugstore products, the expensive stuff is generally the worst for me. The big names like Revlon, Covergirl, Maybelline, Rimmel and Milani are usually products I stay away from, with very few exceptions. I'd say most of L'Oriel too, except I like the HIP eye shadows a lot. But I digress. With that exception, the rest of those brand's eyeshadows are garbage. When it comes to drug stores, the cheaper stuff is usually better both in terms of color payoff and quality. I really like the cheap-y LA Colors eyeshadows. The color is vivid, though they are a bit itchy for me. I adore E.L.F. eyeshadow palettes. Their eyeshadow does not itch and has nice color payoff and blend-ability. NYX Pearl Eyeshadow and Jesse's Girl Eye Dusts are both fantastic. Great colors, great staying power and marvelous prices. Wet n' Wild is hit or miss, but when its hit, it's pretty good. 

Sadly the majority of what I received were the big name brands, but what do you want for free? Wanna see what I got?

Score!
Here's my haul. I'm thinking of starting a weekly post, maybe Superficial Saturday, or Profoundly Shallow Saturday, where I'll do short posts that review makeup, starting with the various products I won. Now, I must warn you, I'm no makeup expert and I have super sensitive skin, so take whatever I say with big grains of margarita salt. Then drink the margarita. Then drink another. Then try to put on liquid eyeliner and take pictures. Then send them to me, because that shit would be hilarious.




What drugstore eye makeup do you swear by? 
Leave me a comment below.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Christina Vs. The Barista

https://www.flickr.com/photos/owlpacino/4102080650/sizes/m/in/photostream/
Via Flickr member: owlpacino

Me: I'd like a small, dark hot chocolate with a shot of caramel.**
Barista: Frozen, iced or hot?
Me: Uhm, what?
Barista: Frozen, iced or hot hot chocolate.
Me: A small, dark HOT chocolate.
Barista: *gives me a look* Which kind?
Me: *through clenched teeth* Hot. Hot. Chocolate.

After paying...

Me: Oh, I'm sorry, did you give me my receipt?
Barista: Uhm, no. *He looks away from me and then glances back like he forgot I was there.* Did you, like, want one or something?
Me: ...

Some days, I just can't with people.

On the plus side, my hot chocolate was delicious.

 
**Don't you judge me. I had a long day.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Babies and Yelling and Cussing... Oh My!

 Shit got real at the Max & Erma's tonight. Lansing, bastion of etiquette that it is, gave me my second favorite restaurant fight, ever. The first, being the time a girl jumped into the Rally's walk-up window and got into a fight with the grill cook (her cousin) whom she accused of stealing her weed. It was scary, but also absurdly hilarious. Spatulas were used as weapons. Tomatoes were thrown. Then the cook threatened her with a kitchen knife. There was weave hair in every condiment container. The police showed up, the girl fled and the next day the cook told me that the girl found her missing weed and apologized, so everything was cool.

In the ghetttttoooo.

Anyhow, this isn't about that fight. Tonight, a young mother was at M&E's with her mom and her son, in the middle section. The son was shrill and would periodically shriek. She was doing her best to calm him and she seemed like a decent mama, though she looked hood-as-fuck. Now, I don't really care for kids, but I know they holler and there's not much you can do about a toddler when you're in the middle of your meal.

A big family sat at the far end of the room. They were dressed nicely and had a newborn with them. How do I know that? Because instead of approaching the girl like a human being, someone at their table shrieked at her from across the restaurant, "Oh. My. God. Could you stop that child from screaming? We have a newborn and he's trying to sleep and your kid keeps waking him up!"

Good luck getting this outta your head.
Hood Mama, clearly pissed, said, "I'm sorry, he's two. Sometimes they make noise." She started working overtime, ignoring her meal, to keep the kid entertained. It worked. But I looked at my hubs and said, "There is no way he's not going yell again and when he does, it's gonna get ugly in here. I can feel it."

Sure as shit, he shrieked and the woman yelled, "Oh. My. God, that's it! This is ridiculous! We have a newborn! Blah-blah-blah entitlement!" Ok, I made up that last sentence. But it was there in subtext. Hood Mama had about two Tequila drinks in her at this point and apparently Tequila does NOT make her clothes fall off. It did however give her Hulk-rage. She yelled, "Excuse me? He's two. They make noise!" The family yelled something else that I missed and Hood Mama stood up and yelled, "Are you fucking kidding me with this? He's a little kid. Why don't you mind your business?" The section went dead hushed. Then someone started yelling about her cussing in front of kids and she yelled back at them to shut up.

Then an old lady from a completely different table, marched up and got about six inches from Hood Mama's face and said, "Don't you ever speak like that in public to anybody! Don't you ever!" Hood Mama's eyes flashed fire and she went quiet and said, "You need to back outta face and mind your business. I don't know you. You got no business in my personal space." Then Hood Mama's mama saw which way the wind was blowing, so she got between then and ordered the old lady to go sit down. The old lady said she was getting the manager and Hood Mama was like, "Yeah, you better! Cuz all I'm trying to do is eat my meal!"

So the old lady and her group stormed out. The waitstaff only caught the part where the girl swore so they didn't know what the eff happened. The manager came over and talked to Hood Mama, who was embarrassed and in tears at this point. I think the manager scolded her. The girl apologized. The other family got up and walked out, and no one made eye contact with anyone. I'm sure they got their meal comped, which is BS.

When Hood Mama was packing up, she apologized to the people who remained in the section. I went up to her and I offered her a hug and she took it. She told me she'd had a few drinks, otherwise she wouldn't have said that. Yeah, I don't really believe that. I told her that I wished she hadn't swore (sworn?), but that those people were rude and they should have approached her like adults and not yelled across the restaurant. I told her to have a better night and not to swear in front of her kid anymore. She was actually very nice. Her mom came up and talked to me for a minute, very upset about the woman yelling in her daughter's face. Then they left.

Not as good as the Rally's Weave Throw Down, but still an interesting night.

Now you might think I was wrong to side with Hood Mama but as the wise Agent Jay once said, don't start none, won't be none. The other family lost the high ground as soon as they started shouting across the restaurant. Also, it's not a library. It's not a nursery. It's a restaurant. They are sometimes noisy. This is about civility. If you give it, you might get it. If you don't bother with it, then a Hood Mama is gonna cuss you out and you'll probably deserve it.

I don't care if this isn't the best meme to end my post. I laughed for five minutes when I saw it.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A Post About Suicide

I try to keep my posts here light but sometimes, the darker things must be talked about. My Facebook wall is blowing up with opinions and thoughts about Robin Williams. Some are profoundly thoughtful, others are misguided and condemning. People have a lot to say about suicide and a lot of those people have never experienced the level of shame and depression that comes along with having those thoughts. I cannot speak about Robin Williams pain, but I can share my own. Typically, I have poor boundaries and therefore will tell anyone anything about my life. But this story, before today, was something I'd only told to a couple of people.

I have always struggled with depression. I came from an abusive family with lots of emotional and physical trauma. But I thought I was fine. I had a handle on it. Then one day, I just fell into the bottom of a well of depression. It came on fast. I had a breakdown and I gathered pills and I considered taking my life. The person I loved most in the world was sleeping just down the hall and it had absolutely nothing to do with him. My pain was mine. The very considering of it was the most terrifying thing I've ever done. It scared me so badly that I called a suicide hotline which was the most unhelpful thing ever. The woman kept repeating everything I said and wasn't the least bit sympathetic. She actually made me so angry, I hung up on her and I found a website that asked me to stop and consider calling someone. So I called some friends, who came to my house at 2am and talked me down, because I was too ashamed to wake up the person I loved and tell him what I'd been about to do. For two weeks after, I felt like I was in the bottom of that pit with no way out. It was dark down there. Cold. Life was meaningless and I could barely get up in the morning. I kept thinking about ending it.

Lucky for me, whatever triggered it, just up and left. It was like I woke up and wiped off my glasses and could see again. To this day, I cannot even tell you WHAT triggered it. But I can tell you that it wasn't selfishness.

That's the thing I see written the most about suicide. How selfish it is. How they should have reached out for help. I can't speak for other people who've been through the fire and I KNOW that some people do it out of spite or out of rage.I know some people do it because of physical pain. But for me, it was the inevitable outcome of a life of shame. I felt unworthy of love, unworthy of life. That everything I did was not only useless but that my very presence ruined other people's lives. Asking for help felt like burdening the people I cared about. It didn't feel like selfishness because I didn't value myself.

So please stop shaming people who already feel ashamed. How can you tell someone who already feels like a piece of trash that if they do this act, everyone will think they're a piece of trash? What logic is that? Wouldn't it be better to tell people that they have value? To try to understand that their pain is no less real than the pain you'd feel if you stepped on a rusty nail? I can't understand why do we treat emotional pain as though it were imaginary. We've all felt some kind of emotional pain whether its a breakup or the loss of a job or the myriad of other crap- storms that life spins our way. We all know how real that pain is. The pain of someone who is considering suicide is no less real.

Yes, suicide hurts lots of people. It has far-reaching consequences and the belief that you are unworthy of life IS a false belief. But you should know, you were born worthy of this life. If you are considering suicide, I understand your pain, your heartache. The pain is real and it must be addressed. But you are not a bad person. You are not pathetic or selfish. Please consider reaching out. Please consider waiting five minutes. Then ten. Then an hour. Then a day. Give yourself some time. Not because other people will have to clean up after your body, but because you are VALUABLE, even if you don't feel like you are. It doesn't matter your flaws. It doesn't matter what horrible things you've done or thought. You are more than those things.

Click here to go to the website that saved my life. If all the current suicide talk has triggered you, like it has hit me, please click. "Suicide is not chosen; it happens when pain exceeds resources for coping with pain."

Monday, August 11, 2014

Perfectly Positive Monday #6


In the spirit of positivity, I will try (and sometimes fail) to post something positive and true on Mondays. Because Monday is the day you need positivity the most. 

 It's Monday! Aren't you excited? Couldn't you just spit?

Life is moving along at a good clip. I suddenly started sprinting ahead in my story after I started handwriting rather than typing it. I think I'm actually three quarters of the way through it! Which is amazing. Typing it up is going to be slow going though, my handwriting suuuuucks. 

Lets see.... oh, my husband bought me a "Just Because" card and hid it in my purse so when I went to buy lunch at work, I found it. It was the highlight of my day. 

I started a new Diabeetus med and it dropped my sugar like a stone. I've been more or less normalized for a month AND I lost a few pounds. These are excellent things. I still haven't bought my damned elliptical machine but I imagine if I had one, I'd have lost a lot more weight. This med just KILLS my appetite. 

I quit drinking soda and as of Wednesday I'll have gone fourteen weeks without soda pop. I am totally planning to cheat before the summer is over. I haven't had a single frozen Coke all summer long and that's just insane on the face of it. It's like a crime. 


Oh and I started watching Farscape on Netflix much to my husbands consternation. Because I needed more bad television to watch.

That's it. It's as much Monday positivity as I can dredge up. 

How YOU doin' this fine Monday?





 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Subvert the Dominant Paradigm



There is a part of me that is just a straight up shit-starter. I like do things because they aren't done. As I'm writing my romance novel, I have tried at every turn to outdo myself with the ridiculous things I managed to work into conversation between my characters. A few of my favorites are:

Farting contests
Toe hair
Colon cleanses
Geriatric dominatrices
Scissoring (and I'm not talkin' 'bout arts and crafts)

I swear to you, the book is sexy and it's a love story. Really. I'm sure.

Pretty sure.

Mostly sure.

The sex scenes are hot. I can definitely vouch for that.


On a different note, oh look, Dean Winchester images. Shut up, I can quit anytime I want!





No I can't.




Help. Me.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

IWSG: Perfection Defection

 1st Wednesday of the month is Insecure Writers Support Group. It’s a blog hop where you post about the joys and difficulties of being a writer.

When I was a kid, I was forever writing stories, yet my table remained littered with empty notebooks. If I made a single mistake, I'd tear out the page, throw it away and start writing all over again. If halfway down the page I spelled a word wrong, I'd tear it out and rewrite it all again. And again.

Perfectionism. It's a heavy, ugly word that sits like a brick wall between creativity and achievement. I've been so afraid of mistakes that my work sucked for much longer than it needed to. It's supposed to be bad at first. You suck, you learn, you suck less. That's the natural order. But I rarely wrote anything new and kept turning in the same crap to teachers and writing contests, waiting for someone to recognize my genius.

A college prof called me on it, pointing out that I was lazily turning in old stories and even after feedback, I turned them in again, unedited. She said I would never be a great writer if I didn't give up my fear of  mistakes. She was right. When I wrote my first manuscript, it was dreadful. Then I wrote another and it sucked too. With each one I've gotten better. Then I formed a writing group, took a lot of painful crit and got MUCH better. 

 The other day, I re-read a blog post by Kristen Lamb entitled, Is Your Subconscious Mind Setting You Up for Failure? and found it resonated with exactly what I wanted to say today.

The reason perfectionism is particularly nefarious is perfection is an impossible goal. Thus, when we buy into perfectionism we’re automatically setting ourselves up for failure, disappointment, self-loathing and neuroses. Perfection can’t be attained so the goal can never be reached...  Striving for excellence? Totally different story. We can be excellent without being “perfect.” Excellence ships. Excellence has deadlines. I can finish and let go of an excellent book. A perfect book? Good way to still be editing the same book for a decade.

Perfectionism is qualitative, where as excellence is QUANTITATIVE. We can’t measure an imaginary ideal. We can, however measure PROGRESS.
That is it in a nutshell. Perfectionism will lead you nowhere.You'll always be competing with others and coming up short. Learn from my mistakes. Don't be a slave to the clean page, terrified that any mistake or criticism is a sign that you aren't good enough. You've got shit to say and it can't wait for perfection. So go out and write. Scribble in the margins, spell things horriafacallly wrong. Make beautiful mistakes and learn from them. Perfection is a path to nowhere. It's artistic stagnation. The path to excellence is paved with crappy first drafts. So write toward excellence, not perfection.


Monday, July 28, 2014

Blog Under Construction

http://edmonyasir.blogspot.com
Don't be concerned if things keep changing or looking weird around here. I really liked my old blog header and color scheme but as I was working on making author business cards to match my blog, I realized that the design didn't actually reflect my writing style, whether its in blog posts or in my fiction. 

If I wrote slick, sleek urban love stories, the crisp white background with whimsical bubbles would be great. But I write edgy romance with characters who swear and have emotional problems and like to bone in the backs of rusty trucks. My stories are gritty and sexy and offbeat and my blog should reflect that, I think.I think grungy purples and blacks reflect my crusty personality much more than the bubbles did.

Anyhow, I'm still playing with the background. It's hell making a background big enough to fill the screen but small enough to fit into Blogger's stringent 300k or less requirement for uploading. Also I have to figure out the CSS to make my header sit flush against the top of the page. These things will come when I have more time.

So yeah. I've been working on this for weeks. So if you think it sucks...



I'm joking, of course. You aren't ugly. You read my blog which means you're gorgeous and you have impeccable taste. If you think the new design sucks I wanna know. I just said that because I wanted an excuse to put up another Dean Winchester gif. Seriously, my obsession is unhealthy.


If you have opinions, thoughts, concerns or comments about the new look and tagline, let me know! I'd love to hear from you.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Search for the Perfect Citrus Perfume

You know how you'll smell a perfume and it will just rock your world? So you take it home and spray it like an angry skunk and three hours later find yourself marinating in something that smells like a pile of hot garbage?

I know you know what I'm talking about.

My body (and my diet until recently) is full of sugar. When I try on perfume, whatever the sweetest note is, my body is going to exploit and exaggerate it, until I end up smelling like baked Skittles. I have, over the years, fell in love with a number of high-end perfumes that ended up so nauseatingly sweet on me, it's like I rolled in a pile of middle school girls eating sugar cookies. Armani Code is fabulous, but not on me. It quickly turned overpowering and caused me to have asthma attacks. Coach Poppy smelled so good in the bottle but after an hour, it smelled like I had just finished my shift at Uncle Buddies Bikini Barn Emporium.

Same with Bvlgari BLV, Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue, Clinique Happy, Marc Jacobs Lola, DKNY Be Delicious...

So after a while I realized I only like two things in a perfume; citrus scent and amber. Unfortunately they are often paired with stupid, stinky vanilla, which I seem to be allergic to. Lucky for me, as I already loathed vanilla. I work at a college and my sniffer gets assaulted daily by Bath and Body Works and Victoria's Secret sickly sweet vanilla scents.

So finding a nice, long wearing scent seems impossible. Citrus scents tend to be more orange blossom than a fresh orange and I don't love flowery scents. So I recently researched... and yes I'm a huge dork, you didn't know?

I narrowed it down to a handful of expensive and cheap citrus-y perfumes. I was able to buy roller ball versions (read: cheap) of all but one*.

Love & Toast Candied Citron
Love & Toast Persimmon Plum
Pacifica Tuscan Blood Orange
Ralph Lauren Big Pony 1 for women

*Lancome O de L' Orangerie 

So far the Candied Citron is a total bust. Smells like medicine on me. Tuscan Blood Orange is awesome, love the scent, sadly the scent disappears in an hour. I might experiment with layering if I choose it.  I tried layering it on top of Bath and Body Works Coconut Lime Breeze and Bath and Body Works White Citrus. Both of which are okay on me but not great. That seemed to make the scent more complex but the blood orange scent disappeared just as quickly. So I dunno. Tomorrow I'm going to try on the Persimmon Plum and Wednesday will be Big Pony 1. I still haven't found the Lancome scent to try on. Though, while I was writing this, I discovered Bath and Body Works brought White Tea and Ginger back, which they had discontinued, much to my sads. I might have to
order a bottle...

Anyhow, that's my completely uninteresting foray into the world of eau de toilette.  Just makin' conversation.

What's your favorite scent? Got any recommendations for me?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

IWSG: When Critiques Attack


1st Wednesday of the month is Insecure Writers Support Group. It’s a blog hop where you post about the joys and difficulties of being a writer.

I’ve been struggling with my story. So I went outside of my writing group, looking for new insight. Went to a meet up with several other writers. I received some good feedback but one person was less than constructive. They referred to my heroine as stupid. Over and over. Then a few more times for good measure. During another writer’s critique, the person said, "I really like your heroine. She's not stupid," while looking pointedly in my direction. Ouch

I like to think of myself as a decent writer. I'm no [insert name of a writer you think is awesome], but I’m okay. I can handle constructive criticism. But this wasn’t constructive, it was personal and mean. 

I walked out feeling like an idiot who writes idiots because I'm too idiotic to know I'm an idiot. I got in my car and burst into tears and cried the whole way home. No one has ever made me feel so shitty about my writing. My complicated knot of ego and drive came undone and I couldn't write for a week. 

This person said something else though. They said, “I don’t get it. Why is your heroine here at this moment, doing this thing? Why not ten years from now? Why not ten years ago?”

I had no answer. That question whirled around me for days. It wouldn't leave me alone. After wallowing and whining, I sat down and re-read my story and said, “Yeah. Why now?” 

So I answered that question. And now I have a fresh back-story, an external goal for my heroine and a much stronger novel. 

They were right.  No, not about my heroine. She's not stupid. That’s a shitty thing to say to a fellow writer. But I have been struggling with back story and external journey and they asked the question I needed to ask, but didn’t know how to articulate.

So the powerful lesson I learned, dear writer-friends, is that all criticism has value, whether it’s to thicken your hide or to force you to deal with your weaknesses. Don’t discount the bullies, the blunt speakers or the haters. Shove aside your ego (and tears) and ask yourself if you can use the experience to be a better writer. 

Then go be a better writer. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Deep Thoughts with Christina...


I long for the day when cheeseburgers don't taste delicious and I won't have to bend into a pretzel and hold my breath (and stomach) in order to paint my toenails.

I usually give up at the last two toes and paint them blind as I am not capable of the yoga-like maneuvering required to see them.

Beauty is hard.

And now I want a cheeseburger.




Saturday, May 10, 2014

Adventures in Streaming: The 100

I like to hate-watch TV shows. I'm currently hate-watching The Tudors and gleefully complaining about it on Facebook. But I'm nearing the end of that and I need some new pop culture heroin for my veins. I have mad love of teen dramas so I started watching The 100. It's lousy but I keep tuning in, like I've got streaming Stockholm Syndrome.

The 100 is a particularly maddening show because the premise is so good. The Earth done got nuked and a bunch of survivors got on a ship called the ARK and outta dodge. Eggheads said Earth wouldn't be livable again for two hundred years. So the survivors live on the ship, dress like they're in the real world from The Matrix*, and have a murky political system with a
Chancellor and a council. The problem is, it's only been ninety-seven years and the council knows the ship can't sustain the number of peeps on board for another hundred plus years. They gonna die when the oxygen runs out. Oh noes! Now here's where it gets cool. This is an unusual show because they don't give a shit about kids. They don't value them, they see them as a burden on their already burdened ship. So kids get jailed for breathing wrong.So they have 100 kids in jail for various petty and a few not-so-petty crimes. They decide the kids are expendable and shove 'em all on a pod and drop that thang to Earth. But not before equipping the kids with wrist band telcoms and telling them how important it is to keep them on. I'm sure the disenfranchised youth can be trusted with that, right?

Anyhoozle, the kids are basically told, if you peeps die, it'll suck to be you. But if you manage to live that means Earth is sustainable. So we'll all hop pods back to the motherland and ya'll will get pardoned. We good, homies?  Then it turns out, Earth is sustainable, but oh-so-effed up. Radiation fog that kills, snake monsters, nuts that make you hallucinate. It's a Brave New World except that the idiots took off their wrist bands. Spoiler?

Anyway, that's the premise that was spoiled by terrible actors, a main character so inconsistent and hypocritcal that she might as well be a Fox News anchor and a bunch of romance BS no one cares about because everyone is an asshole who deserves to die, except the one character I liked, who died for no reason. Unless acting-while-black (AWB) is punishable by death, now.So here's my review of  The 100 as I watch the latest episode on Hulu. 

Shut up, Clarke.

You want more? I don't have much more.  I don't know where the CW went awry. Sometimes they do such a good job. Elena on Vampire Diaries is one of my favorite teen drama heroines. She's so tough and smart and honorable. But Clarke is the very worst kind of person. She's humorless, self-righteous and thinks she needs to be everyone's moral compass. Which, they really need one, but she has self-serving morality that goes out the window every damn episode. The last four episodes have
pretty much gone like this:

Clarke: Bellamy I think we should do [insert whatever stupid idea Clarke has that will make things worse].

Bellamy: That's stupid. Don't do it. 

Clarke: I'mma do it anyway. Oops that was a bad idea. Bellamy fix it!

Bellamy: I hate you so much.

Clarke: I know. We're so gonna bone some day.


So it's all murder, mayhem, bullies who pee on people, love triangles that can suck a two-headed deer dick and some seriously uncomfortable racial undertones. Like really uncomfortable. Watching a room full of Caucasian kids stand around while one chained up a brownish man and whipped him with a seat-belt buckle was a touch distasteful. Especially coming off of the murder of the only black character who was immediately replaced by a black extra who suddenly developed lines long enough for quotas to be met.

It's a mess. I hesitate to even call it a hot mess. It ain't hot. It's room temp, baby. Well, mostly. Because Bellamy? He's so freakin' hot.


Don't worry. I IMDB-ed him and he's thirty years old. So while I'm still tragic, I'm not yet skeevy... Well not as far as you know.


* For some reason, I made this. Don't ask questions.*


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

IWSG: Twirling Mustaches and Piles O' Podcasts

IWSG Clicky for Linky
1st Wednesday of the month is Insecure Writers Support Group. It’s a blog hop where you post about the joys and difficulties of being a writer.

I'm a goofball and I posted my IWSG post last Wednesday. Calender reading skills, I no has them. So you get a two-fer this month!

I recently attended a workshop on plotting hosted by the Capital City Writers. Our instructor, Louise Knott Ahern was fantastic. During the workshop, I had a realization as to why my story has ground to a halt. Even though my main characters have back-story and wounds, I still don't have a strong sense of what motivates them and their exterior goals are pretty murky, especially for my hero.

I've been twiddling my thumbs about what to do about it. Then the other night, I found the Helping Writers Become Authors blog. She has 241 free podcasts on writing. Seriously, it's awesome. You can read her articles and then also listen to the podcast at the bottom of the post, which is a great way for me to learn and retain the info. I'm working on the character building section right now and learning a ton about story craft. I feel like I'm getting a writing degree, except I'm a cheapskate and its free. Huzzah!

Conor's mother needs a wax.
Back to my epiphanies... my hero is a problem. He has a partially fleshed-out backstory, no external goals and he's such a goody-goody that no amount of hair-pulling, lip-biting sex appeal can rescue me from a case of the yawns when I try to write his perspective. He needs grit.

Also having an issue with my hero's hyper-critical mother. She's so two-dimensional and awful that every-time I write her into a scene she might as well be tying folks to the railroad tracks whilst twisting her evil mustache.

So, with all of this learnin' I'm getting, it's become clear that I cannot get ahead until I figure my characters out. This puts me in a bind. I gave myself until the end of the summer to finish it and I'm only halfway through. So do I rewrite the first twelve chapters to give me a better sense of where the story should go or do I race for the finish line while writing my hero as a bit of a different person than he was before?




Sunday, May 4, 2014

Adventures in Streaming: "I Think We're Alone Now"

Rainbow Dash for the win, bitches.


What you may not know about me is that I love terrible movies and bizarre-o documentaries. How bizarre? I sat through a documentary on Bronies. The whole thing.

Which prompted my hubs to ask, "Why, Christina? Why?"

Why else dear husband? Because. I. Could.

 To be honest, I actually have an obsessive need to know things. All things. Random things. Like I don't just buy a vacuum cleaner, I spend a week researching and reading reviews before I purchase one. Same thing with hair products and purses. I am a knowledge hoarder. I need to know everything. I'm the person who listens to your story and asks, "And then what happened?"

For example, I Googled My Little Pony images for this post and ended up reading five different articles of varying degrees of bat-crap-crazy about the fans of the show. This in turn led me to some forms of MLP fan art that no decent human should have viewed.

And no I'm not linking it, you creepy perv.

I digress. Tonight's Netflix adventure was not about Bronies (wipe your tears). It was a documentary called, I Think We're Alone Now. It's a poorly thought out film that follows and exploits two delusional, obsessed fans of Tiffany. You remember Tiffany right?



Yup.

So anyhow, the filmmaker interviews these two incredibly unstable people and their friends and then puts them together in a hotel room to annoy each other. Then they meet and hug Tiffany at a concert and one gets mad at the other for trying to one-up his experience. Oh and the one guy was arrested and had a restraining order on him in the late eighties for trying to "woo" Tiffany with a handful of white flowers and a Japanese sword.   

It's as depressing, sad and uncomfortable as you can imagine.

I learned nothing except stalkers are terrifying and I'm glad I'm not famous.

Also that one should never try to draw in one's eyebrows with black liquid eyeliner. Especially if one is a strawberry blonde.

Good times.

On a scale from one to awesome, this was pretty awful.

PS according to a Zimbio quiz on which My Little Pony character I would be, I got Spike. The dragon servant whose bodily functions are controlled by the ponies. That shit is racist. Also, I cannot express to you enough my vast disappointment at not being Twilight Sparkle. My life is so hard.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

IWSG: Blah Blah Blah

IWSG
1st Wednesday of the month is Insecure Writers Support Group. It’s a blog hop where you post about the joys and difficulties of being a writer.

I've not made as much novel progress as I hoped this month. Partly because my job has become a bit busy and I've been exhausted. So I come home, putz around on Pinterest, staring at pictures of pretty people and then I watch three episodes of The Tudors on Netflix which I've finally gotten around to watching. I loathe it, but I cannot stop watching it (and complaining about it).

I really like to complain about it. My husband hasn't watched one minute but he could tell you everything about it. I haven't been this happy to be annoyed since I binge-watched Bridezillas. 

I digress. I had a fantastic ten page critique by professional editor Teresa Crumpton and she gave me wonderful advice. She taught me many things, all of which slowed my editing to a crawl. It turns out it was a lot easier just writing whatever dreck came to mind rather crafting sentences that pop and figuring out how to start paragraphs without -ing verbs.

So after editing my -ings and extra verbs today, I got bored. Then I spent the evening reading bad reviews of cheesy photo studios. I'm counting it as research into my hero's career and not at all the whim of an ADHD woman who loves reading horrible reviews.

That's it. No glaring successes. No true failures. My novel isn't progressing as fast as I need it to. I vowed to finish it by the end of summer but it's only half written. Ah well.






 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Perfectly Positive Monday #6

In the spirit of positivity, I will try (and sometimes fail) to post something positive and true on Mondays. Because Monday is the day you need positivity the most. 

The last two weeks have been gorgeous! So there is that. I don't care that it's cold right now and it's supposed to snow. I'm clinging to the memory of how beautiful it was and will be.

What I'm most excited to tell you about was our mini-vacation to see a show in Saginaw. When my hubs and I met we found we shared two fairly obscure loves: Alton Brown and The Red Green Show.

Alton was the host of many Food Network shows. He's funny and smart and teaches you the basics of cooking. Most people compare him to Bill Nye the Science Guy. Love him. The Red Green Show was a Canadian cable access show that came to PBS. I'll let Wikipedia describe it:
The Red Green Show is essentially a cross between a sitcom and a sketch comedy series, and is a parody of home improvement, do-it-yourself, fishing, and other outdoors shows (particularly The Red Fisher Show).
It was hilarious and I never met another person who watched it until my husband. So a friend got us tickets to see the actor who played Red Green on his How to Fix Everything Tour. We made day of it since it was two weeks before our wedding anniversary and stayed the night at a Ramada Inn that was pretty nice considering it was in the ghetto. It was next to a Family Dollar if that tells you anything. But we had a jacuzzi tub and that was awesome. Of course like every time we stay at a hotel, hubs got tired and went to sleep and I  soaked in the jacuzzi by my onesie. He's not a night owl. Whatevs, I put on my Pandora station of saddish-music and soaked and thought about my novel. It was so relaxing. I actually got up early the next day and got some writing done.

Whee!

Novel is a bit stuck but mostly because I've been editing some previous stuff to make sense of whats to come. Still fighting my characters and their mean case of the sluts. It's a complicated disease. In an effort to keep me writing, I attended the Rally of Writers last weekend. Which is a writing conference. It was great. However, I missed the first session as I was running late. So I was sulking and irritable and not in the moment at all. They had a table full of tea, coffee and goodies so while I stewed, I grabbed a chocolate chunk cookie and some tea. Sometimes the universe delivers a  ridiculously happy moment and that was one of them as the tea ended up being the most delicious I've ever had (and the cookie was pretty good too). I kept the wrapper so I could remember the name and I absolutely did NOT pocket an extra tea bag for later. Ahem.

Moving on.

I met Beverly Jenkins at the conference. She was so funny and cool. I wanna be like her when I grow up (which should happen any day now).


How about you? Any challenges or successes to share with me? Leave comments. I eat them up like chocolate chunk cookies and Constant Companion tea. 




PS here is my all-time favorite Red Green moment. Skip to the 7 minute mark. The best part is watching him puree the fruit.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

IWSG: Though My Characters Be Slutty, My novel Be Progressing

IWSG
The last month was a challenge for me. The good kind of challenge.

My new computer arrived and it's incredible. I've named it The Beast and I'm now in a polygamous relationship with my husband and my computer. I recieved a wonderful and helpful ten page manuscript review from a professional editor, Teresa Crumpton, and then I was randomly selected to receive a twenty page manuscript critique from Kristen Lamb. Squeeee!

About chapter nine, the chapter that wouldn't end... Ordinarily my chapters are pretty short(about 2800 words), but I wrote 5,600 words and the chapter wouldn't stop. Part of the problem was tension and pacing. I'm trying to draw out the reunion of two old friends, but they are being SLUTS. They want to kiss and bone and they want to do it now.

I've pretty much been fighting them since chapter eight on this. I made it through nine and I'm still fighting them. I've finally given them an almost kiss but they wanted to go all the way with it. I'm telling you, their loins are AFLAME.

With lust. Aflame with lust. Not with a sexually transmitted diseases. Just thought I'd clarify.

Also, HOLY HELL I'M ON CHAPTER TWELVE!

In other news, I purchased two writing book and I'm really enjoying them both. Scene and Structure by Jack Bickham and Rise of the Machines: Human Authors in a Digital World by Kristen Lamb.

So yeah, I'm feeling really good about my writing life. Fingers crossed that I finish this novel by the end of July.


Sluts.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Writin' Writin' Writin'


Too busy to write a Perfectly Positive Monday post. Actually making progress on my chapter nine. Maybe. Sort of. So, blah blah blah, positivity, blah blah blah Supernatural, Veronica Mars, new computer, lip gloss. question no one answers. THE END! See you next Monday!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Analyzing The First Kiss

I watched that cool video/clothing ad that had pretty strangers kissing. I really enjoyed analyzing the body language. As a romance writer, it was a fun exercise. And as the Veronica Mars movie is tonight, I thought I'd take a moment to analyze Logan and Veronica's first kiss. Yes I know it's fiction. Yes I know this level of scrutiny is unhealthy. Hush. Don't spoil my fun.

Over the course of the first 17 episodes you watched the gradual melting of ice between these two people who thought they hated each other. Then came a sort of truce.Then she tried to help him find his mom. Then he cried in her arms when he had to accept that his mom was dead. Then he punched a Federal Agent when he thought she was in trouble.

All of that led to THE KISS. I know I've posted this video before, but I'm a romance junkie and this is one of the best first kisses on television. I don't fully know why it was so awesome and why I feel the need to watch this scene over and over again. I think mostly what I love is their body language.


There are a lot of emotions packed into the roughly two minutes of screen time you see here. Very few words are spoken but much is said. Veronica's hesitance stepping from the hotel room. The complete not-okay body language she has because she's shaken up. The tiny smooch she gives him, on a whim and the look of embarrassed vulnerability on her face after she does it. But what always gets me the most is the absolutely gob-smacked look on his face. A quick peck and you could see all the Tetris pieces falling into the right order for him. Like life suddenly made sense. And then he swings her around and just kisses the snark right out of her. Swoooooon.

Anyhow, I'm shipping Veronica and Logan so hard. I don't care that he's like poison for her and he's a complete jackass. I love him. I love her. I need them to get together. So be prepared. Put in some ear plugs around 7pm. Because if those two kiss, I will be squee-ing so loud, you'll hear it three states over.

What's your favorite on-screen kiss? Care to analyze it as well? Leave detailed analysis in the comments :)

Monday, March 10, 2014

Perfectly Positive Monday #5

In the spirit of positivity, I will try (and sometimes fail) to post something positive and true on Mondays. Because Monday is the day you need positivity the most.

It's another glorious Monday. It's not below freezing. It almost seems like Spring is here. Yay!


Writing Life:

I just need to add a few lines to chapter seven and eight. Then I can move on and figure out how to rewrite nine. I've rewritten it a number of times and it feels... I dunno, too soon. It's a great scene but it's in the wrong place. My favorite thing I've written in Chapter nine is this:

             She picked up the book next to her feet and played with the edges of the pages. “Tell me about your life, Conor. Got any dirty secrets or illegitimate babies?”

              His head snapped up. “Uhm, no.”

          “That's boring. Let's try something else. Are you into any of the following?" She began counting off on her fingers. "BDSM, Clown fetishism or toe shrimping?”
     
             Flushing an adorable shade of pink, he took a long time before responding. “I’m not even sure what two of those things are. But I’m going to go ahead and say no to all of them.”

             “Good good," she leaned toward him. "Now that I’ve warmed you up with my famous charm, what are doing these days? For a job?”  

 I think it's my goal to mention as many sexual fetishes/positions I can, in one novel :D

The Rest of Life

Season four of Archer is on Netflix so life is officially decent.

The best thing was getting my Android fixed. For two years I've had problems with my cell phone. I took it into the phone store and they were like, "Bummer, want to look at a new one?" It started acting up again so I went in to look at a new phone and the very nice guy behind the counter was like, "First you need a new battery. Also, it's no wonder you hate Droids now, you have model X. That is the buggiest, worst Android ever made. It needs to be updated but its so buggy you can't update it online." So he took my phone away for a half hour, updated the OS on their computer and gave me a new battery, all for free. Now it's like a completely new phone! Seriously, the look of the desktop is different, the texting is totally different.It's awesome.

That  saved us a lot of money. Which is good, because my poor little 2.1Ghz desktop PC is dying. She makes weird wheezing sounds and quit running Sims2 altogether and Minecraft is running like an arthritic old lady in a sack race. So we ordered a custom desktop PC last week and it cost quite a bit more than I wanted to spend. But we are getting a BEAST with a lot of ram, a  faster processor, 2TB  hard drive, graphics card with 4G on board memory. It's sweeeeet. Should be here by the end of the month.
 
Shit I love:

Archer's Krieger. He's not an actual doctor but he is dangerously unstable and has access to millions of dollars worth of lab equipment. He just wants what any clone of  Hitler would want; to tape bum fights for his own sick pleasure, make genetically modified animal versions of himself and test highly suspect drugs on his coworkers.


Finally got around to watching Season 2 of Sherlock and I'm sad I didn't do it sooner. The sheet scene just killed me. 

 My new skin care routine for my sensitive, combination skin is working! I took all the elements of Clinique's 3 step line (which I'm way too cheap to buy) and researched dupes and/or better products. I settled on Cerave Foaming Facial Cleanser (which has rave reviews from actual Dermatologists online), Simple Soothing Toner (the ingredients list was spare and mostly natural), Garnier Moisture Rescue Gel-Cream (which is wonderful) and Cerave PM Facial Lotion that I use on the dryer parts of my face because its too much in my T-zone.


While I was at it, I bought some Cerave Moisturizing Cream for my alligator legs and it's working wonders. I'm really impressed. I have some kind of Eczema or something on my legs and they always feel painfully dry and look scaly, but right now, they just look like good ol' pasty Michigan legs with no scales at all.



So what brings you joy this fine Monday?