Tea and Puppies and Paper Towns

These last few days, not very much has happened. On the flip side, a lot of stuff has happened. I just feel like no one thing has really been big enough to deserve its own blog post. Ergo, this will be one of those List of Random Thoughts and Happenings Posts. Here it goes.

1) I have to go in for my annual physical in exactly one month. In preparation for the inevitable weighing and blood work, I have decided it’s time to start eating healthier. To begin with, in place of my delicious chocolatey treat that I normally get for myself at the local coffee shop, I ordered Green Tea.


Now, I am not really a tea drinker. Nor am I a coffee or soda drinker. My body is not really used to lots of caffeine. Caffeinated tea, it turns out, gives me a super jittery high. It doesn’t last for long, but it’s enough to notice!

2) My friend was having a bad day yesterday, so we went and played with a cute husky puppy. Best. Decision. Ever.











I took a lot of pictures of him, because when you play with a husky puppy, that’s what you do. You love him and play with him and take pictures of him.

3) My sister finished reading Paper Towns by John Green. Now, I love John Green as a person, but as far as his books go, the only one I’m really wild about it TFIOS. Great book. Made me cry. Read it six times. However, I had a very difficult time finishing Paper Towns. I didn’t like the characters, I didn’t care about the story, and I thought it was the same book as Looking For Alaska only not as good.

The following contains spoilers for Paper Towns.

My sister, upon reading PT, said, “I really hope that Margo ends up becoming a serial killer and that she killed the guy in the beginning.” At that point, I realized that I too wished I was reading a book where the dream girl turns out to be a psychotic killer. How great would that be? If Quentin finds her and all she says is, “You shouldn’t have come looking for me, Q.” And then she shoots him and that’s where the book ends. That would have been a much better ending than what we got.

4) I made friends with another bird.


5) My sister and I went to Fry’s Electronics and saw Divergent on Blu-Ray and DVD. Is it actually out yet? I haven’t seen any previews or heard any news that it was, but perhaps I missed it. Anyway, here it is!


Those are the major updates in my life. What’s going on with all of you?

Books, Books, Books

Hi, friends!

The past couple days have been pretty busy.  I attended my first book club meeting as a guest author.  It was so much fun, and all of the ladies just had the sweetest things to say about Cemetery Tours.  It was so encouraging and just a wonderful night.


In preparation for the book club, I took a trip to Barnes and Noble for a gift card for the hostess.  While I was there, of course, I did a little shopping around.  It’s impossible to walk into Barnes and Noble and NOT shop, you know?

As I looked around, I found myself thinking of a Facebook post I’d seen recently about how today’s young people read less than any generation before.  Now, I’m not sure if that’s true or not.  I’m no statistician.  However, as I passed the John Green section, I thought about The Fault in Our Stars, and how it’s been celebrating a nice spot on top of the box office charts.  Apparently, people are shocked that it’s doing so well, but to be honest, I’m surprised that people are surprised.  With the book’s enormous and devoted fan base, how could it not do well?

Then I started thinking about other major blockbuster events and award nominated movies, Divergent, Catching Fire, 12 Years a Slave, Philomena, The Hobbit, etc… and I realized they all had one thing in common.  They are all adaptations of books.  Even television series, The Vampire Diaries, Sherlock, True Blood, GAME OF THRONES, all are based off of BOOKS.

Whether statisticians like to acknowledge it or not, books and authors play a HUGE role in our world today, or at least in the entertainment industry.  And you know, it doesn’t stop there.  We have The Giver, The Maze Runner, Ender’s Game, The Lord of the Rings, Twilight, The Princess Diaries, The Book Thief, The Walking Dead (graphic novel, but still)even Disney based fairy tales go back to books and works of authors like Hans Christian Anderson and the Brothers Grimm.

And of course, we can’t forget the Wizard himself, Harry Potter.

So many of our cultural phenomena go back to books.  Not all, of course, but enough to think that no, books and reading are not on the way out.  There’s never been a greater time to be a reader or a writer.  John Green, a nerdy guy who started a vlog series with his brother, is quite frankly, a rock star now.  Books and reading are an important part of our lives and our society.  They expand and enrich our worlds, our minds, our perspectives.

Are people reading less today than ever before?  I don’t know.  I don’t know how those things are figured.  But I do know that, while I was working up at my camp, two girls overheard me talking about books and they immediately ran over to ask what I was reading, and if I’d read this or that.  They were so excited, not to talk about the latest pop star or hottest television show, but to talk about books.  If that isn’t encouraging, I don’t know what is.

Speaking of having read this or that, Cemetery Tours is standing strong at 43 reviews, but I still need 7 more by July 1 to reach my goal of 50!

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I hope you all have a great Thursday!  It’s almost Friday the 13th, plus a full Honey Moon!  I’ll be sure to celebrate with my black cat.

Hello Friends

I feel like it’s been a while.  Life is busy.  A little stressful.  But good overall.

On Saturday, I fulfilled one of my admittedly odd lifelong ambitions.  I went to the movie theater by myself.  Again, I know it’s weird, but for some reason, I’ve always wanted to experience seeing a movie just with myself.  I decided to go see Divergent.  It was really good.  For the most part, it stayed true to the book, though it was definitely watered down.  For once, I was strangely okay with that.  Maybe because I’ve only read through the series once and I’m not quite as emotionally invested in it as I am in Harry Potter or The Hunger Games.  It could also be because Veronica Roth’s books are long and very intricately detailed.  I’ll probably have to read through the trilogy again before the next movie comes out because I don’t really remember all that happened, especially in the second one.

One recently announced book-to-movie adaptation that I probably will not be seeing, however, is The Giver. I might change my mind as the release date draws nearer, but from what I’ve seen in the trailer… I’m just not interested.  Nothing I saw in that trailer even remotely resembles the utter magic that the book held for me the first time I read it in middle school and every time I reread it after.  That book is a masterpiece and one that really impacted me as a reader and, consequentially, as a writer.  I’ll be curious to find out what other fans of the book think of it.

I also saw the new Hobbit movie again.  I still think there are too many orcs, too may elves, and not enough Bilbo and the Dwarves. But what do I know?

On the book front, I finished reading The Amazing Crystal by Gerald Lizee.


I’m not a sci-fi reader, but I really enjoyed it!  I posted reviews on both Amazon and GoodReads, but I thought I’d share it here too.

Here’s the deal. I do not read a whole lot of science fiction. In fact, I could probably count on one hand the number of Sci-Fi books I’ve actually read and enjoyed. Add The Amazing Crystal by Gerald Lizee to that list.

Set in a futuristic society, protagonist Lydia receives an amulet from her grandfather, who has gone into hiding our of fear that he may be robbed or kidnapped. This amulet, it turns out, possesses the ability to communicate with whom it chooses and influence the world around it.

Something I loved and that makes The Amazing Crystal very unique is that it plays out like an action show, with episodes instead of chapters. This makes for a fun and fast-paced read with no slow spots in the narrative. The descriptions are vivid and yet, Mr. Lizee tells the story in such a way that even those of us who’ve spent more of our time in the worlds of romance and fantasy will understand and enjoy.

Congratulations and 5 stars to Gerald Lizee. I look forward to reading his future works!

The next book that I’m reading and reviewing is The Calling by Louise G. White.  It’s a fantasy and it looks right up my alley!  I’m really looking forward to reading it!


Finally, I’m about two chapters in to my newest manuscript!  While the sequel to Cemetery Tours is in the editors’ hands, I’m enjoying having something new to engage me.  It’s really excited about the story, and even though it hasn’t been in my head very long, just since January, it’s already better developed than ideas that have been brewing for years.  It’s kind of funny how the brain works like that.

Well, that’s about all I’ve got for today!  Talk to you all tomorrow!


Tragic Flaws

Last night, I finished reading the Percy Jackson series.  All in all, I loved them and I’m really looking forward to reading the Heroes of Olympus series.  They’ve also really inspired me to get back into drawing.  I used to draw all the time.  When I was younger, I really thought I was going to grow up to be an artist.


This is one of my favorite paintings I’ve done. The light beams below the whale look kind of stupid, but I loved the whale and the stars.


Turtle sketch.


Now, for the record, I am nowhere near talented enough to actually become an artist.  A photographer?  I’d like to think maybe.  But as much as I love to draw and paint, I’m not stellar.  That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy it, however.  Thanks to Percy Jackson, I really want to paint some Greek Mythology.

The books also got me thinking about the ideas of Tragic Flaws, the characteristic that could potentially be a hero’s downfall.  In Percy Jackson, Annabeth’s tragic flaw is pride.  Percy’s is his willingness to sacrifice the entire world in order to save one of his friends.  The concept of tragic flaws does not strictly apply to the Percy Jackson.  In Shakespeare’s tragedies, you find Othello’s jealousy, Hamlet’s unwillingness to act, and MacBeth’s ambition.  This afternoon at work, I started thinking about what my tragic flaw might be.  I came up with several possibilities, which, now that I think about it, might not be something to brag about, but I thought I’d share anyway.

1) Stubbornness

I am stubborn.  Like, to a pigheaded degree.  If I think I need to do something, I’m going to do it no matter what anyone else tells me.  I very rarely change my opinions on anything and I am very loathe to admit I was wrong.  I will admit it, but it’s VERY difficult.  Still, I almost always think that I’m right and I’m very opinionated.

2) Defensiveness

Along those same lines, I am also very defensive.  I hate being wrong or mistaken and I take criticism very personally (which is a TERRIBLE trait for an author).  I blame this compulsive need to be correct on my time spent in a private elementary school where even the slightest lapse in perfection would result in a yellow card, three of which added up to a detention.

3) Overanalysis

I, like several girls, overanalyze EVERYTHING.  A person could send me a simple text message like, “Okay,” and I’d immediately think, “Okay?!  What does that mean?  Are they mad at me?  Are they happy?  Are they simply settling to appease me?  Do they think I’m a huge loser?  Oh gosh, they must think I’m the most annoying person in the world!”  It’s awful.

4) I Never Give Anyone the Benefit of the Doubt

This is one that I’m trying to work on, but I have a bad habit of assuming the worst.  I think I can read people, so I am likely to believe that I know their thoughts, their motivations, and every bad intention that they have.

5) Impatience

I have no patience for anything.  I hate waiting.  It drives me crazy.  I barely have the patience to write out this paragraph right now.

6) Self Pity

I’m not sure why, but there are times when my self esteem just plummets.  It happened a lot more when I was in graduate school, but I still have my off days every now and then.  Publishing my book helped a lot, but every now and then, I’ll be struck by that little voice in the back of my head screaming, “You’re so weird, you’re so useless, no one is going to like you the way that you are, you better get cool NOW.”  Again, that has been happening less and less, but my self-esteem could still use a bit of improvement.

7) Laziness

I’m lazy.

8) Compulsive Need to Make Lists of 10, or at Least Even Numbers

I think this one kind of speaks for itself.

I know everyone has flaws and I know that this list doesn’t even come close to describing all of mine.  However, I don’t think that focusing on the negative is a good idea (add Hypocrisy to the list).  I’d much rather look for the good and the beauty in people, places, and things, than for the things that might not be so perfect.  I say I’d rather do this because it’s very difficult for me.  That another thing I’d like to start working on.  My mom has the remarkable gift to see goodness in everybody.  It’s something I really envy about her, because I’m simply not like that.  I’m more like my dad, personality wise.  The only personality traits I share with my mom are that I love cats and will tell anyone who will listen pretty much anything.

I hope spelling out all of my tragic flaws has not made you like me any less.  I value honesty above pretty much any other virtue (If we lived in the world of Divergent, I’d be a Candor for sure).  I guess sometimes, it’s easier for me to understand life when I think of it like one big storybook.  Characters are easy to understand, but real people?  I think to even begin to understand ourselves would take a lifetime.


This week, I finished reading the first two books in the Divergent series by Veronica Roth.  Since I love telling people how I feel about things, I thought I might write a little review.

I’ll be the first one to say that I suck at writing reviews.  On the one hand, I love giving my opinion, whether people want to know what I think or not.  But on the other hand, I am really, really bad at analyzing things.  When my sister read the seventh Harry Potter book, she saw a whole bunch of World War II parallels.  I saw Harry and Voldemort.  I made it through college and grad school, not by my ability to analyze, but my ability to BS a good term paper.  So I guess instead of a term paper, I will now be BSing a good review.

I hadn’t heard of Divergent until a few weeks ago.  I was out to dinner with one of my best friends, Kat, and we got to talking about books.  She and I are both huge Hunger Games fans, though for some reason she thinks Katniss should have ended up with Gale.  Um… how are we friends again?  Anyway, she said that since I loved The Hunger Games so much, I needed to read Divergent.  It was not optional.  I had to read this book.  Now, I’ve had a million people tell me I should read this or that, but to be honest, I rarely check out any books or movies solely on someone’s recommendation.  It’s nothing personal.  It’s just that I like making my own decisions and I will usually not do something that someone tells me I should do unless I really, really want to.  I can’t even count the number of times I’ve had someone tell me I should read Ender’s Game.  Unfortunately, my sister read the book and absolutely hated it.  She and I usually have pretty similar taste in books, so I trust her opinion.  That, and I saw the preview for the movie and, I’m sorry, it looks so boring.

But back to Divergent.  I promise not to post any spoilers.  I’m not an experienced enough reviewer for that.

Kat was a lot more vehement that I read it than most of my other friends have been when recommending a book to me, so I was seriously considering it.  Then, totally out of the blue, someone on my Facebook page posted about how she’d just read the first two Divergent books and couldn’t believe she had to wait until October to read the third.  That’s when I decided I needed to check it out.

I am glad that I did!

Divergent was a fantastic book.  Although it’s over 400 pages long, it was a very fast read.  It’s written in first person, which I like but for some reason, have a lot of trouble writing.  I’m a third person limited kind of girl.  Anyway, the main character is named Beatrice Prior and she lives in a city that is divided into factions.  You choose your faction based on what you value most; honesty, bravery, etc…  I can’t go into a lot of the plot without giving away spoilers that are more fun to read in the book than on someone’s blog, so I’ll just say, yes, it really did remind me of a cross between The Hunger Games and The Giver.  If you enjoyed either, you should definitely read Divergent.  It drew me in, entertained me, and best of all, it kept me interested.  I will admit that I wasn’t as emotionally invested in the characters as I was in The Hunger Games or Harry Potter, but I do like them.  I love the main guy, Four.  He’s complex, brave, and in my head, really handsome.  The guy playing him in the movie is pretty handsome too, but he’s not how I envisioned him.  Movie portrayals rarely are, however.

It took me a little longer to get into the second book, Insurgent.  I finished Divergent in two nights.  I could barely put it down.  The first half of Insurgent was easier to put down, but the last half was more than worth it and it left me eagerly anticipating the arrival of the third book this autumn.

Something else I loved about the first book was that author Veronica Roth included a question and answer session in the back.  I loved reading about how she came up with the idea for the series.  Heck, I love hearing about how all writers come up with their ideas.  The creative process is so fascinating and I love the way different things inspire different people.

The next book I have on my list to read is Beautiful Creatures.  Hopefully, I’ll get around to that in the next couple of days, but I am still hard at work putting the finishing touches on my own manuscript.  I have a few tentative cover designs that I’ve been playing around with and today, I’m going to try to work on my acknowledgements, author bio, etc…

I really believe that reading other books is excellent for the writing/publishing process.  It’s good not only to give your mind a break, but also to remind yourself that millions of other authors have been there, and they’ve made it happen.  It’s really encouraging.