Favorite Quotes

I’m a big lover of inspirational quotes and song lyrics. Always have been. On the wall of my office, I have a painting that says “She believed she could, so she did.” I really find that motivating.

I have two favorite quotes (right now). The first is from the Prince of Egypt. “When all you have is nothing, there’s a lot to go around.” The most generous people in this world seem to be the people who have the least; the richest people are the most selfish. This quote is a reminder to me to never forget where I come from and to be as generous as I can.

My very favorite quote (and one my boyfriend is sick of me reminding him of) is from Frasier: “And in the third act, the hero gets revenge by living well.” This idea is so important to me. In my opinion, the best way to “get revenge” or to prove wrong the people who have doubted you is to be happy. To be the best that you can be. To achieve your dreams. There will always be haters who don’t like you or you’re work or just want to put you down. Instead of stooping to their level or being nasty, I think you will feel the greatest sense of pride if you achieve success. Glee said it well in their song Loser Like Me. “I’m not thinking about you haters. ‘Cause hey, I could be a superstar. I’ll see you when you wash my car.” Want to get revenge on the small minded people who picked on you growing up? You grow up and rock the world.

What quotes/song lyrics inspire you guys?

The Pinterest Game

For those of you who use Pinterest, I’m sure you’ve seen the Pinterest Fails. There are boards devoted to them (I just Googled it – there’s also an entire website). If you don’t know what I’m talking about, imagine seeing a beautiful manicure of marbled red, yellow, and blue. You decide to try this on your own nails. How hard can it be? Instead of a beautiful simple swirl of colors, it looks like you mixed all the nail polishes in a bowl and then dumped them on the ends of your fingers. This is a Pinterest Fail.

So, we’ve all heard of Pinterest Fails. But have you heard of the Pinterest Game? (This is what I call it when I play with my boyfriend or family.)

Here’s how to play.

Step One: Find a single post that has multiple pins. For example, 15 DIY Gifts That Aren’t Lame or 15 Christmas Decorations Anyone Can Make.
I will use this board: 15 “PUN” Christmas Gift Ideas (I like planning for Christmas months in advance. Go ahead and judge me, I do not care.)

Step Two: Look at the pin’s cover. Hopefully this will give you a clue as to the quality of the other items on the list. Is it totally lame? Does it look impossible to make? Would you ever want to receive it as a gift? Now you get to make a judgment. How may pictures in the post do you think will actually meet the criteria of the title? Everyone “playing” (when I called this a game, I meant it in a loose sense) makes a guess of their own.
In this case, the cover photo has three of the gift ideas. I enjoy a good pun, so I’m thinking this list will be full of great things. I would probably use the Mistle Toes pun and the Sprite – not so much the neighbor one (partially because I don’t speak to my neighbors or interact with them in any way.) So I’m going to guess there are 8 ideas I might actually use.

Step Three: Read the post. Share them aloud with whoever you’re playing with. Keep track of how many list items you actually like.
Going through them (and thoroughly enjoying the punniness of each), I decided that there were 6 that I might actually give to anyone. Some of the puns were duplicates, and I’m not giving out bundles of money. That’s not very DIY to me. If you remember, I guessed 8 but ended up with six – this post was not quite up to what I was expecting. If you are playing with whoever else is in your living room, the winner is whoever’s guess is closest to the actual number of great ideas you found.

So there you have it – The Pinterest Game! Go forth my children, and play! (And Pin.)

When I Think Of A Hero…

You know when you’re reading a good romance that the hero is always super yummy. When I need a little inspiration for some yummy heroes in my own writing, I turn to these two fellows.

Hot Guys

On the left, we have Jason Momoa from Stargate Atlantis and Aquaman. On the right, Charlie Hunnam from Sons of Anarchy (pictures are property of their respective owners). As you can see, I have a bit of a type. 😉 Plus, I think my boyfriend looks like Jason Momoa, so that’s a double win for me!

How about you? Who do you think of when you imagine the sexy hero you’re reading about? Do you like them a little rugged, or more sophisticated? Or a combination of the two?

Harry Potter Memories

In honor of Harry Potter’s birthday next Monday, I thought I’d relive some of my favorite Harry Potter memories. Growing up, Harry Potter was THE THING – not just for my sisters and I, but my whole family. The whole world. There is something beautiful about groups of people waiting in lines at bookstores in the middle of the night to buy a book. Not the newest phone or gaming system, but a book.

Here are my favorite Harry Potter memories, in no particular order.

  1. Midnight Book Releases. We would dress up in costume and hang out in bookstores until 12:01 when they would sell us the first copies of the newest book. I think we did this three or four times.
  2. Harry Potter Parties. We have had a few of these over the years, and not just for birthdays. We’ll decorate the house to look like the Great Hall and play Quidditch in the yard. I love crafting and always had so much fun making decorations and re-creating the magical candies and treats.
  3. The Movies. We’d go to see the movies in theatre and then spend hours dissecting them in comparison to the books. We enjoyed the movies, but to hear us point out every single flaw, you’d think we thought they were the worst thing ever.
  4. Playing Harry Potter. My sisters and I would play Hogwarts like other kids play house, dressing in costume and attending classes. We created our own magical textbooks, wands, the whole shebang.

My absolute favorite memory comes from after the midnight book releases. On the way home from the bookstore, we always ended up stopping at the grocery store for something we had forgotten on grocery day. So there we’d be at one in the morning, traipsing through the grocery store in full costume. Delightful 😊

What are your favorite Harry Potter memories?

Once Upon A Time…

Once upon a time, there was a guy. This guy rented a movie (does anyone remember when you could go into a store specifically for the purpose of renting a movie?) and promptly forogt when it was due. When he finally returned it, he owed $6 in overdue fees (the horror!). He vowed – never again!

Now, that man is the founder of Netflix, which does not charge late fees, and is worth $70 billion.

What happened to the video rental store? We can only assume it was forced out of business by Netflix.

I think this is a great example of “If you don’t like something, change it” instead of just complaining about it.

The Bechdel Test

My younger sister is in college, and so she frequently comes home with interesting tidbits of knowledge. Recently, she told me about the Bechdel Test – something I’d heard mentioned before, but never really looked into. Essentially, the Bechdel Test is used to determine the importance of women in a film. Here are the rules

                1. It has to have at least two (named) women in it

                2. who talk to each other

                3. about something besides a man   

You’d think that it would be easy to pass this test, but some of the greatest movies of our time fail, either because there is only one female character (no matter how important) or because the female characters don’t interact with each other. A majority of chick flicks (films filled with women and made specifically for women) fail because the girls never get around to talking about anything other than boys.

I took a look at my own stories, and the only ones that pass the Bechdel Test are my lesbian romances. My gay romances are so short that they rarely feature secondary characters of any importance, much less meeting these three criteria. In my work in progress, a collection of novellas almost like a season of television, I’ve noticed improvement. While they’re still short so each story doesn’t have more than two or three secondary characters involved with my main characters, there are quite a few female characters that work with my heroine – and do things other than discuss boys (though there is plenty of that, since it’s a romance after all).

Don’t get me wrong. I’m perfectly content to watch an all male cast battle to save the Earth, and I have no problem with there only being one female lead character in a world of men. But I do want to make sure that there is a little diversity in my writing to spice things up. What do they say? “Variety is the spice of life.” We have to get out of our ruts every once in a while and try the unexpected. (Shameless plug to my slogan right there).

How I Keep Writing Fun

They say it’s all about the little things, and there are a bunch of little things I do to keep my writing fun (my actual writing, that is, not just the process itself). Putting pen to paper (or fingers to keys, etc) can be the hardest part. It’s terribly fun to daydream about the story you want to write, the characters that will fill your world, the award that will one day sit on your shelf when others finally get to appreciate the incredible combination of wit and charm that is surely going to be this story… but actually writing is the hard part. So I have a few little tricks to keep me motivated and make it a little less painful.

The first step is a splash of color. When I’m writing by hand, I write with colored markers to keep things a bit more exciting than a plain old black pen. Sometimes I use stickers to mark on the calendar every day I’ve met my writing goals. I keep inspirational quotes and exciting pictures (like hot guys who remind me of my hero or the exotic locations I imagine my couple adventuring to) on my walls. I listen to music or musical movies while I write.

And sometimes I play old school Zoo Tycoon on the side. I bargain with myself that if I write a certain number of words, I can go build an exhibit, and bounce back and forth between the two. I used to do this with an old version of Oregon Trail as well. I’m pretty sure I have Rollercoaster Tycoon packed away somewhere. I should dig that out… For writing purposes, of course 😉

Does My (Travel) Insurance Cover That?

I work in connection with a major health insurance company, so I’m usually pretty up to date with the awesome new services being offered (generally being offered to other people, not employees of said health insurance – explain the logic there). My favorite roll out this year was a pedometer that synced to your health insurance, and every day you walked 10K steps, they took a dollar or so off your deductible. That definitely would have motivated me to get in my daily steps – except it wasn’t offered to us as employees of the health insurance, only to select other employers.

Recently, they rolled out new travel insurance to cover any medical emergencies overseas. One plan was about $30 and covered medical services, medical evacuation (if the medical services available are not up to par), and reimbursement for lost or delayed luggage. Plus, it covered vacations to any country except Afghanistan, Antarctica, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Syria.

This brought up a few questions for me. Who exactly is signing up to travel to North Korea? And until very recently, who was getting into Cuba on vacation? Also, as beautiful and serene as I’m sure Antarctica is, I don’t think they have any resorts or vacation-esque things there. Since I have an aversion to countries that are A) war torn and/or B) sub-zero, I’m not too worried about these restrictions. I didn’t find any limitations on coverage for my dream vacation to Ireland 🙂

If I Wasn’t An Author…

I feel like everyone asks this question. “If you weren’t a (musician, politician, writer), what would you be doing?” Growing up, I had a modge podge of career phases. Figure skater, teacher, preacher (true story), filmmaker, personal assistant. But now, if I wasn’t an (aspiring) author, I would be a wedding planner.

I drool over wedding magazines. My Pinterest is filled with wedding boards (that’s right – not just multiple wedding posts, but multiple boards for different wedding themes and categories). Say Yes To The Dress marathons are my favorite addiction. I enjoy being stressed and under pressure (insane, I know). My favorite pastime is planning and making lists. I love looking at beautiful dresses, planning table arrangements, and making invitations. I suppose I wouldn’t need to be a set-in-stone wedding planner; any kind of party planning would be exciting to me.

To answer, the other question, “When I’m not an author…” My day job is in health insurance. I handle medical claims that are related to auto accidents, and make sure the auto insurance pays them instead of the health insurance. Not nearly as glamorous as wedding planning 😉

Wonder Woman

Yesterday my sister invited me to go see the Wonder Woman movie with her. I’ll be honest – I had no intention of seeing it if she hadn’t asked me to go with her. I feel like Wonder Woman and her invisible plane have been the butt of superhero jokes for years. On top of that skepticism, my sister had been giving me the rundown of Gal Gadot (who plays Wonder Woman) for weeks, so I’d heard it all. And to be honest, it sounded pretty farfetched. Not only was she gorgeous, but she did a lot of her own stunts. While five-months pregnant. She was a soldier and also Miss Israel. Basically she was described to me as the epitome of women. I was prepared to be disappointed. No one could possibly live up to those stories. Certainly not a not-invisible woman in an invisible airplane.

Instead, I was blown away. The movie was beautifully shot. The humor was well placed throughout the entire film. The island of Amazonian women was breathtaking – as were its inhabitants, a group of bad-ass beautiful women. It was ridiculously refreshing to see a group of women who were so in control of their world and so content to rule themselves, not be ruled by anyone else, without making a show of “we don’t need men.”  

And then there was Gal Gadot. I’ve felt recently that female characters in film are sometimes there just so Hollywood can say, “Look! We’re not sexist. We made a movie about a woman! Who cares if it sucks.” But that couldn’t have been farther from the truth. It takes a while to get over Gal herself. She’s absolutely beautiful, and in such good physical shape that I immediately wanted to go work out (because I admired her, not because I felt body-shamed). Her fighting skills are amazing. And her character was phenomenal. There were “feels” (as my sister calls them), not just awesome fight sequences. We see her go through an emotional journey during the course of the film that I felt was completely honest and believable, completely in sync with her character. Without giving anything away, I will say that I sat in rapture throughout the whole thing – and yes, I felt the “feels.”

Well done Wonder Woman for proving this cynic wrong! I’m even going to go back for a second showing, this time with my boyfriend in tow.