Spa Days and Seven Facts

This weekend, I had my very fist spa experience.  It was a friend’s birthday and so a group of us went to celebrate with her.  I had no idea what to expect, but my friend told me that there was an indoor swimming pool with a bar.  Sold.  It’s like, I don’t even care what else this spa has to offer me.

As it turned out, when you get to the spa, you are given a uniform that you’re supposed to wear while you’re there.  It was actually really comfortable, despite being a rather unflattering shade of orange. But since we were heading straight for the pools, we just wore our bathing suits.

The pools were awesome, full of jets and streams and illuminated this amazing shade of turquoise that made me feel like I was in a fantasy novel.  There was also an indoor water slide, which is meant for kids, but when you’ve got five twenty-somethings who, you know, enjoy the finer things in life (like bars in indoor swimming pools), you’ve got to ride the water slide.  That’s just all there is to it.

There are still lessons to be learned, however, even when you are in your mid-late twenties.  For example, stranger danger is still totally a thing.  Don’t talk to strangers.  Just don’t do it.  Especially in a spa where there’s alcohol.  Also, don’t leave your new boyfriend alone with your best friends.  That’s one my friend Kit Kat learned the hard way.  While she and the birthday girl went off to get pampered, she left her boyfriend alone with me and our friend, Roxanne.  We basically gave him what was probably the longest girl talk of his life.  We told him all about our bad dating experiences in the past and gave him a run down of what not to do.  I’m not sure if he was amused or scared.  Probably a little of both.  He seems like a cool guy though, so he probably wasn’t too scarred for life.  He also has his own LED lighting business!  Check it out:

After we finally left the pools (after about six hours), we went to the sauna.  Apparently, people go into the saunas to relax, but we’re a pretty social group and we like to talk.  I would therefore like to issue a formal apology to everyone in the saunas whom we disturbed with our chatter.  I’m sorry.  I hope we didn’t ruin your evening.

All in all, my first spa experience was a pretty positive one.

The next day, I went on a Downtown adventure to the Dallas World Aquarium and Spaghetti Warehouse with a friend I’ve met only recently, but who is lot of fun and very easy to talk to.  It was a great day.  Very uncharacteristically, however, I forgot my camera at home!  I did get this shot of Downtown Dallas on my iPhone, however…


Finally, I was tagged in a Facebook post asking me to list seven things that people may not know about me.  I was tagged by my author friends Ben Ditmars ( and Melissa Zaroski (  I’m kind of an open book, so I’m not sure if there’s a whole lot that people don’t know about me, but I’ll give it a go.

1.  When I was little, I was afraid of band-aids.

2.  I hate talking on the telephone.

3.  When I first learned to ride a bicycle, my dad promised me two doughnuts if I rode around the block without crashing my bike. I did. But I never saw those two doughnuts.

4.  I enjoy playing chess.  I’m not good at it, but I have fun. I’m not a competitive person at all.

5.  I own 11 square feet of land in Scotland.

6.  I’m an enabler.

7.  My favorite necklace is one that my grandmother gave me. She called me into her room one night when I was about five or six and told me to reach into a bag she was holding.  Anything I pulled out, she said, was mine.  I pulled out the necklace.  To this day, it is my most treasured possession.

If you’re reading this, I tag you!

Weekend Recovery

Hello, friends!  Happy Tuesday.  

I’m afraid these last few days, I have been rather lazy.  I spent half the day Friday and most of Saturday up at Texoma, working at a labor of love event at my old Camp.  I had a great time, reconnecting with old friends and making new ones.  I especially loved being back at a place I hold so near and dear to my heart.  


For the record, all of these pictures were taken on my iPhone.  I didn’t take my camera since we spend most of our time working.  

This was my first Labor of Love weekend, and it was a wonderful experience.  It was a chance to work with members of our community, several of whom had been through tough times, and to listen to their stories.  I’m also thankful for the chance to do something good for a place and people that I love as opposed to what I normally do, which is whatever I feel like doing, mostly for me.  


One of my absolute favorite things about being at Camp is sitting out under the night sky and looking at the stars.  There, away from the city light pollution, the universe opens up, and you can really appreciate how vast and endless the sky really is. It’s a wonderful experience, to just be, to listen to the wind and the trees and the night crickets.  It’s a great reminder that life isn’t all hustle and bustle and money and material things.  

The next morning, we woke up at 6:30, ate a quick breakfast, and went to work.  Our task for the day was clearing out dead brush and tree limbs (and whole trees!) from the pathway to the low ropes course.  There were two separate bonfires for the brush.  One was pretty much the most impressive fire I’ve ever seen.  It was huge, basically the size of a small room.  The other fire, while pretty, was not nearly as impressive.


Although altogether a very worthwhile and rewarding experience, there are things that happen when you work in the woods all day.

1) You get dirty.  Like, really dirty.  Filthy.  The good thing is everyone around you is just as dirty and smells just as bad as you do.

2) You get bug bites.  Even if you wear bug spray, chances are, you will still come home with bites all over your body.

3) You get scratched up.  Trees are scratchy!  Briar thorns are even scratchier!  I’d rather drag a whole tree up a hill than carry a bush of that prickly mess.

4) You twist muscles that you didn’t even know you had.  I haven’t been able to walk properly on my left ankle since I got home.  Instead of bending outward like I rolled it, however, it bends inward.  Weird.  

5) You come home extra sleepy from all the sun and working and pass out for about 48 hours while your body recovers.


However, I’m happy to report I’ve come home to all good things.  I will fill you all in soon, I promise!  Until then, I need to keep revising and working on the blurb for the back of the new book.  July 1 is fast approaching!  

Love to all!

It’s the Weekend!

Three of my favorite words!  Other than “Going to beach” or “Your book’s selling,” I love hearing “It’s the weekend” probably more than anything else in the world!  Better yet, I have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING planned this weekend.  It’s such a liberating and wonderful feeling. 

And yet I’ve come to realize that authors, particularly independent authors, never truly have NOTHING to do.  There is always something that we can be working on.  For example…

1) Although my latest manuscript is in the hands of editors and proof-readers, I could still be going back through, re-reading, and making sure I’m happy with everything.  I could also be brushing up on my formatting, coming up with a blurb for the back of the book, investigating the ISBN, etc.

2) Researching my current WIP. I have six books that I need to read, or at least browse, for information on my newest manuscript.  Four of those books are library books, so my time is limited on those.

3) Actually writing my new  manuscript.

4) Finishing up The Amazing Crystal, the latest book that I’m reading and reviewing.  PS – If you’re interested in a book exchange to read and review (I review on Amazon and GoodReads) leave me a note in the comments section! 

5) Reading any of the other books that I have lying around.  Reading is IMPORTANT for authors!  If you don’t enjoy reading, how can you enjoy writing?  Besides, there is always something to be learned! 

6) Working on my new trilogy of paintings.  Okay, that has nothing to do with being an author, but I don’t like leaving projects unfinished.  And these paintings are going to be really cool! 

So if I’m being honest, I’m actually in for a very busy weekend.  In a lot of ways, being an author really reminds me of being in graduate school.  There’s a lot of reading and libraries involved and the writing never seems to end.  The only difference is now I’m reading and researching and writing what I want instead of being assigned something.  I love it so much! 

However, on the downside, there are no professors around to make sure you finish your work, and I’ve met plenty of aspiring writers who love writing but who have difficulties actually finishing a manuscript.  I can’t judge them, because I have plenty of unfinished manuscripts lying around.  It’s easy to think, “Oh, there’s no one holding me to finishing this.  I can just take my time.”  In the world of independent writing, you’ve got to hold yourself accountable.  Set deadlines for yourself, and if you don’t make them, set new deadlines.  That way, you’re always pushing yourself to keep going, to keep writing.  Don’t be intimidated.  Don’t worry about what anyone else will think.  Write first and foremost for yourself and because you love it.  There are so many people out there who will think you’re crazy for spending so much of your time writing, but the truth is, if you love it, you’d do it for free.  For you, writing is fun.  It’s a way of life, a release, a joy.  I hope each and every one of us gets to the point where we can write for a living. 

Life is a gift, meant to be loved and enjoyed.  That’s why I write, because I want to live life the way I was meant to live it; thankful, in awe, and in love. 

Happy Weekend, all!

My First Trip to Lubbock or Seven Hours in a Movie Theater or OMG There is Snow Everywhere

I wish I had been updating throughout this entire weekend.  It probably would have been a lot funnier as it was happening.  As it is, however, I have about an hour and a half to kill sitting here in the airport, so I’ll try to recap everything to the best of my comic abilities.  

My sister and I have been planning to see “Catching Fire” at midnight since the first movie came out.  She is a freshman in college and we both agreed that it didn’t matter where she ended… one of us would fly out to the other so we could see the movie together.  She ended up at Texas Tech in Lubbock, so as soon as movie tickets went on sale, I bought two tickets and booked my flight to Lubbock. 

Now, my parents love Lubbock.  Every time they visit my sister, they come home absolutely raving about it.  Me, I’d never been, but the way my parents made it sound, Lubbock was just paradise on Earth and I would just love it so much and places like Scotland and the Gulf Shores would pale in comparison.  Naturally, I was eager to visit this exotic piece of Texas Heaven.  

I was so excited when I finally arrived at the airport on Thursday afternoon.  Not only would I get to see my sister, but we were going to see “Catching Fire!”  THE cinematic event of the season!  Also my favorite book of The Hunger Games trilogy.  My optimism didn’t waver one bit when my dad warned me that Lubbock was expecting snow storms over the weekend and that I needed to pack boots. 

Now here’s the thing about me.  I believe in packing the absolute least I need to get by.  Boots take up a lot of space in a suitcase and they are a nuisance to wear through airport security.  After insisting over and over to my dad (by the way, I get my stubborn side from him) that I would be fine, he relented and I went about my happy little way, sure that I would not actually need boots.   

Almost as soon as I made it through security, I noticed that my flight was delayed.  Again, not a big deal.  Flights get delayed all the time.  I don’t think I’ve ever taken a plane that actually left when it was supposed to.  Heck, the plane I’m supposed to be taking in an hour is delayed.  Hence the blog post.  And actually I’ll be home when I actually get to post this.  I’m just writing it at the airport.  

For the record, I just tried to take a selfie with my laptop to prove that I’m at the airport, but I just ended up looking really stupid.  I’m trusting you all to just take my word for it. 

So back to Thursday.  Plane’s delayed, but I wasn’t worried, or even fazed by it.  I was in too good a mood.  Finally boarded the plane, the flight attendants tell us to buckle seat belts and turn off electronics.  Check.  Okay.  Got it.   

We pull back from the gate.  

Then we stop.  

Okay, again, no big deal.  They were probably just checking something or communicating with the control tower.  

 But then twenty minutes passed, and I began to wonder.  Finally, the Captain came over the speaker and announced, “Uh, hello ladies and gentlemen.  You might be wondering why we haven’t moved.  We’re experiencing some technical problems.  We’ve discovered we have no steering.  We will know in a few minutes if it can be fixed so we will either be headed back to the gate or on our way to Lubbock.”

 Okay.  Not cool.  

 I don’t know if I’ve ever told you all this, but I am a very nervous flyer.  I think it has something to do with my control issues.  Or you know, the fact that there is absolutely NOTHING between the plane and the ground after it takes off.  I hate turbulence, I hate that feeling you get when your ears pop, and I hate being closed in tiny little places and knowing I can’t get out.  I love traveling, but I’ve got to tell you that the only thing I like about flying is LANDING.  

 So, Mr. Captain, you’re trying to tell me, an already anxious passenger, that you might not be able to steer the plane?  Oh, that’s awesome.  

 However, I knew that the Captain would never knowingly endanger the lives of his crew, his passengers, or himself, so I knew that he wouldn’t take off unless he was absolutely 100% certain that the plane would land safely in Lubbock.  And we did.  Twenty minutes after we were supposed to.  


Lubbock! Very flat.


Pretty sunsets though.

 The reason that was an issue was because I had a shuttle waiting to take me to my hotel.  Well, apparently shuttles don’t like sitting around and waiting on planes that are almost half an hour late, because mine left.  While I waited for my bags, my mom called the hotel for me to let them know I’d finally arrived and that I still needed a shuttle.  The lady said that she would have sent the shuttle that was supposed to get me back to the airport, but it was stuck in traffic.

 Wait a minute, what?  There’s traffic in Lubbock?  Hey Mom, where’s your magical land with no traffic?  


Stranded in Lubbock. Making sure to stay inside because it is COLD.

 Anyway, to make up for the lack of shuttle, the hotel called a cab for me.  They told me to look for a checkered cab.  Now that right there confused me.  I’d actually never ridden in a taxi cab, but weren’t they all checkered?  Well, it turns out that Checkered Cab is a company!  I found that out only after I ran over to a not-Checkered-but-still-checkered cab and asked if they had been sent by La Quinta.  The driver was very nice and honest and he told me that no, he hadn’t been, but he would love to take me since A) I was in no way dressed for the frigid Lubbock weather and B) I wouldn’t have to wait around.  I told him thank you, but I thought it was best to wait for the cab that was scheduled for me.  I didn’t tell him that the real reason I wanted to wait around was because the hotel was paying for the other cab and I’m a poor writer up to her ears in student-loan debt. 

 Well, the Checkered Cab finally came and I made it to my hotel.  My sister came to pick me up and we went to Chili’s.  There, they got my order wrong, but one of the waiters who worked there actually looked like Finnick Odair, so I didn’t mind all that much.  After we ate, we hightailed it over to the movie theater for Catching Fire!  

 We arrived at exactly 8:00.  Four hours to midnight!  But, as anyone who has ever attended a midnight premiere knows, if you want good seats, you’ve got to get there early.  


Movie Theater!


May the Odds be Ever in Your Favor.

 Well, we got there early, alright.  Unfortunately, we went to the wrong theater!!!  Apparently, Lubbock has more than one movie theater!  Who knew?!  

 Well, we finally made it to the RIGHT theater, and still managed to get a pretty decent spot in the line for seats.  For those of you sane people who’ve never waited four hours to see a movie at midnight, it’s a very interesting endeavor.  You’d think it would be long and boring, but you’re so excited and everyone around you is so excited that you kind of feed off each other.  There’s an unspoken sense of camaraderie.  You don’t know these people, but you know automatically that you share at least one similar interest, in this case, The Hunger Games.  Books are powerful.  I bonded with a few of my closest friends over books.  


This is the RIGHT movie theater.

 One of my favorite moments while we were still waiting in the hall was when a few guys walked by, glanced at all of us in line, and said, “Oh, are y’all waiting for the Hunger Games?  Harry Potter dies in the end.”  I don’t know why, but he cracked me up.  


Camped out in the hallway.

 When the doors to the theater were finally opened to us, my sister and I bolted for the best seats in the house.  We settled ourselves down to top row, middle of the theater seats and prepared ourselves for the beginning of the revolution.  

 Two hours later, we were ready.  The lights began to dim, the screen went black…

 And then a lady and two men walked to the front of the theater.

 “Hey guys, we’re sorry to have to tell you this, but we’re experiencing some technical difficulties.  This movie is showing on a lot of screens right now, so it will take just a few more minutes to get yours up and going.  It will probably start around 12:45, but you won’t have any previews.”

 Well, it just so happened, my sister and I didn’t have to wait for Catching Fire for the revolution.  We got to experience an uprising right there in the theater.  My sister was ticked off because she had an 8 AM class.  The people in front of us were ticked off because we were among the first people in line for the movie, yet we’d be the last to see it.  We should have been the FIRST theater to get the movie!  A few of them started angry-tweeting Cinemark, which, I have to admit, while childish, was kind of funny.  I was pretty much just flabbergasted.  Had I brought the Delay Curse with me or something?  What was the deal?!  


This is the movie theater screen while we were waiting for the movie to start.
Illusion that movie theaters still use those cool old movie reels: Shattered.

 Well, naturally, I forgot about everything as soon as the movie actually started.  Catching Fire might actually be one of the best movies ever.  Seriously, I am pretty hard to please when it comes to movie adaptations of books that I love (I hate the third Harry Potter movie.  I’m even more resentful of the fact that Prisoner of Azkaban is my favorite book!), but Catching Fire was PERFECT.  I found myself reading the book in my head throughout the entire movie.  I loved it.  I loved everything.  I loved all the new cast members and I especially loved the returning characters.  I actually cried during Effie’s final scene.  There was nothing I did not love about that movie.  My sister and I are already planning to see it again on Wednesday when she comes home for Thanksgiving.  

 Okay, it is now the day after I began writing this post.  I was planning on having it finished and up as soon as I got home from the airport, but I was so tired that I crashed right after I ate dinner.  

 I’m sure I’ll write another post about how much I loved Catching Fire at a later date, but at the moment, I’m still overwhelmed by how amazing it was.  

 Anyway, the rest of the weekend was absolutely frigid.  I knew it was supposed to get colder, but I had no idea that it would be freezing.  The temperature must have dropped at least twenty or so degrees while we were in the movie.  I even took a picture of the world to remind myself how cold it was.


Are you serious?

 I finally got into bed around four in the morning.  The next morning, I was rudely awakened by a strange noise blaring throughout the entire hotel.  After the noise didn’t stop, I stepped out into the hall to discover that the fire alarm had been triggered and that the hotel staff were signaling everyone to gather down in the lobby.  Since I was still in my pajamas, I ran back into my room, pulled on a sweatshirt, and grabbed my phone and my computer (obviously the most valuable in my possession) and ran down to the lobby wearing my pajamas, totally barefoot, and clutching my computer like a treasured stuffed animal.  I also still had my night guard in.


Fancy hotel elevator.

 Well, needless to say, there was no fire.  Everything was totally fine.  It was a heck of a way to wake up, however, after such an amazing movie.   

The rest of the weekend was, to put it lightly, COLD. 


That’s the view out of my sister’s windshield. It’s frozen over. That is all ICE.


You can see the cold in the air.


TGFS – Thank God For Starbucks!

However, it was still enjoyable.  My sister and I saw a lot of her professors and a few classmates perform in a local theatrical production of Les Miserables.  Simply fantastic.  




Before the play started, my sister and I walked around and looked at Christmas trees!










We also had lunch with my friend Rachel and her wonderful husband, Steve.  Rachel is my oldest friend and just so wonderfully delightful.  We’ve been friends since we were 3.  She’s actually one of my sister’s teachers also and is in the process of earning her PHD.  God bless her soul.   


My sister and I also made a stop at Barnes and Noble, where I almost always have more fun than I should. 


I love this cover of Dracula! Isn’t it beautiful? It makes me wish I didn’t already own it so I could buy this one!


Look! I found my book!




That’s me!

The rest of our weekend was spent trying to stay warm…



And when that didn’t work, we decided to just embrace the arctic chill and went out to play in the snow.  As much as I complain about the snow, I secretly love it.  I don’t like driving in it and I don’t like being cold, but there is something magical about snow, especially when you live in Texas.  



Finally mastered the art of the snow ball.


Then I got on a frosty airplane and went home.


The end.


Good Weekend!

One of my goals in life is to make every day either good, fun, productive, or a combination of all three.  This weekend was just that.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but in college, I spent three years as a lifeguard and camp counselor at a summer camp at Lake Texoma.  On Friday, I got to drive up to visit.  It was so great to see my friends, former campers, and all the year-round staff.  I miss all of them so much.  It was also wonderful to be back in an area that is so near and dear to my heart.  I love everything about Texoma, from the smell of the trees, to the herons on the lake, to the clear sky at night.


The new Chapel on campus. It is simply beautiful.


Creepy abandoned cabin in the woods. This scene has provided me with a lot of inspiration over the years.


I love the lake at dusk.


Our Labyrinth.


Although being at camp was probably the highlight of the weekend, I also FINALLY got to see Monsters University today.  It was super cute, everything I hoped it would be.  I love Monsters, Inc. so I was really excited when I heard they were making a prequel.  Mike and Sully are just the best.

The most exciting news, however, is that I purchased my website domain for my publishing company today!  I am proud to announce that Wind Trail Publishing is (almost) officially in business!  My friend and graphic designer is currently helping me out with a logo that I sketched out.  I can draw, but boy, am I dumb at things like computer graphics.  I’m meeting with him and his wife tomorrow to discuss not only the logo, but the cover designs for the book that I have been working on.  I am not lying when I say I have the most amazing team of people who are willing to help me out.  I am really very fortunate to have all of them.  As always, I will keep you updated as I continue on this crazy road called publishing.