Wednesday, February 29, 2012

All About Tina: A Guest Post at the A-Z Blog

I'm excited to tell you that today I'm guest posting at the main A-Z Challenge blog! It's an “All About Tina” post. Each of us co-hosts is taking a day to introduce ourselves by all answering the same set of questions. I really think you'll find my post entertaining, if for nothing else than the ice-cliff story. Which included me with no pants on for part of the story. In winter. In case the whole ice thing didn't hint enough at the setting.

I realize you're probably tired of all the talk about this April event, but the main reason for me doing so is actually to offer an opportunity to you. I was in a major slump last year, and joining the challenge re-focused and re-directed me back on my correct path. I'd gotten all caught up in hanging around with some very talented writers, and it literally paralyzed me. I was afraid of posting something inferior, so I didn't post much at all. Of course, we were having quite traumatic events in our extended family as well, and that put Life is Good not even on the back-burner, but completely off the stove.

Having a purpose for posting, and new visitors daily, provided much needed healing for my self-esteem and my writing muscles, which had gotten pretty slack. I remembered my purpose in blogging: writing practice. Practice isn't perfect, and neither are my posts. They're just a work-out. Some days you kick-ass in the gym, others you climb off the stairmaster before finishing the program and hit the showers. If you're in the mood for a work-out, consider joining us. It's your opportunity. Make the most of it.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

CatchFire! CassaFire is here!

Catch Fire About CassaFire!

I'm so proud to be part of the team which is supporting Ninja Captain Alex in announcing the release of his second novel, the sequel to best-seller CassaStar, CASSAFIRE! I really enjoyed CassaStar, so I'm looking forward to reading the sequel.  I'd really appreciate it if you would pay him a visit Here's the full scoop:

Today is the Catch Fire Blog Party, celebrating the release of CassaFire by Alex J. Cavanaugh! The goal is to help CassaFire “catch fire” on the best seller charts and achieve the success of the first book, CassaStar. There’s also a special package of prizes being given away at the author’s blog

 (copies of CassaFire, CassaStar, tote bag, mug, and bookmarks) as well as book giveaways during his two-week blog tour. See Alex’s site for details.

by Alex J. Cavanaugh

CassaStar was just the beginning…

The Vindicarn War is a distant memory and Byron’s days of piloting Cosbolt fighters are over. He has kept the promise he made to his fallen mentor and friend - to probe space on an exploration vessel. Shuttle work is dull, but it’s a free and solitary existence. The senior officer is content with his life aboard the Rennather.

The detection of alien ruins sends the exploration ship to the distant planet of Tgren. If their scientists can decipher the language, they can unlock the secrets of this device. Is it a key to the Tgren’s civilization or a weapon of unimaginable power? Tensions mount as their new allies are suspicious of the Cassan’s technology and strange mental abilities. 

To complicate matters, the Tgrens are showing signs of mental powers themselves; the strongest of which belongs to a pilot named Athee, a woman whose skills rival Byron’s unique abilities. Forced to train her mind and further develop her flying aptitude, he finds his patience strained. Add a reluctant friendship with a young scientist, and he feels invaded on every level. All Byron wanted was his privacy…

Available today!
Science fiction - space opera/adventure
Print ISBN 978-0-9827139-4-5, $15.95, 6x9 Trade paperback, 240 pages
EBook ISBN 978-0-9827139-6-9, $4.99, available in all formats

CassaFire is the sequel to Cavanaugh’s first book, CassaStar, an Amazon Top Ten Best Seller:
“…calls to mind the youthful focus of Robert Heinlein’s early military sf, as well as the excitement of space opera epitomized by the many Star Wars novels. Fast-paced military action and a youthful protagonist make this a good choice for both young adult and adult fans of space wars.” - Library Journal

You can visit the author’s site 

Book trailer  available at You Tube (and it's imbedded below)

or at Amazon 

or for your Amazon Kindle 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Of Brevity and Chapstick Friends

Brevity. Not something I'm really good at, but it's high time for me to practice it. New buddy of mine, he's one of the co-hosts of the A-Z Challenge, wrote a great post today over at the main A-Z Challenge Blog. He outlined what we should pack in our April Survival Kit. First item? That brevity thing. I'm planning on taking his advice. I've not done so well on my “posting every other day” pre-challenge work-out routine. However, I've learned some good stuff from countless seminars, that though they were on a variety of topics, all stressed goal setting. We know that when we fail to meet a goal, the only thing to do is get back up and keep trying. We are not to let a set-back completely derail us. Each day is a new day. A try it again day. So here's me writing a brief post.

One of my pet peeves is when well-meaning people throw you the phrase, “I'll be praying for you!” at the end of a conversation. I suppose some people really mean it, but for the most part, I find it as heartfelt as the standard, “How are you!” greeting. You're supposed to say, “I'm good, how about you?” I've found that when I say, “It's a really crappy day today!” most don't know how to respond. I went off script and they stand there, speechless, as they try to improvise an answer.

I want my words to be meaningful. I don't think that's something that only writers look for. I want you to know that if I say, “I'll be praying for you!” I mean it. Personally, I believe that prayer should be included as a tool in every situation that enters my world. It's a cornerstone of my faith, and I've come up with a good way to remember to do what I've promised.

We all have personal habits that we repeat daily, or even multiple times daily. We brush our teeth, drive our kids to school, pass through that same intersection that's on our way to work. I use these everyday occurrences as a memory tool. I do a lot of praying in my car because mostly I'm alone, and I find it's a good time to have a talk with God. So if I say to you, “I'll be praying for you,” I usually share what the reminder will be.

For example, I have a friend from high school whose son has multiple health issues. I made him my chapstick friend. (For the record, it's the highest status. I put on chapstick a kabillion times a day.) Most of the time, I remember to ask for healing for him. I also have a blogging buddy down south who's having a rough time lately. I made her a chapstick friend, too.

I could use some prayer right now. Having respiratory issues again, same as the last two winters, only worse this year.  I've finished my three weeks of bed-rest (earned an extra week for showing up at the lung specialists office for a progress check, with a blood ox of 84.)  That's out of 100, and at 90 they marched me from my doctor's office to the hospital across the street.  Ok, not literally, but just about.  I'm healing so slowly, and feeling so frustrated about it.  Would you, if you're the praying kind, please pray for me?  I'd really appreciate it.

Brevity?  Not so much.  Guess I'll have to try again tomorrow...

Monday, February 20, 2012

Tagged for 11

For my post today, I'm doing something I've been dying to do since I first saw it on someone's blog back in 2009 when I “opened” Life is Good. I got tagged! I've seen, “This is an award-free, tag-free blog”. Never understood. Finally figured out how to get awards, and have gotten some nice ones. I hung them up for a while, but you know how it is when you clean, sometimes you take down a picture for a while and hang another one. We all have too much stuff, and so do our blogs. Well, can't speak for everyone, but my blog looks a lot like my house. Where you can see when you first step in, that part looks fairly tidy, and fairly coordinated. However, step one step to either side or tilt your head a teensy bit and you'll see. Clutter. Piles. So now with my spring cleaning (see previous post) I've got my place here looking pretty spiffy. Just in time to get tagged by a brand-new bloggy-friend, “Annalisa Crawford ~ Wake up, eat, write, sleep”. She answered someone's tag of 11 random questions, then sent out a different set of 11 questions, to 11 people, and I was one of them. I just met her, and already she's giving me a nice little shout-out! I appreciate that.

Now I know there are those out there who HATE these things. That's just fine with me. It's an equal opportunity place this wonderful community we run and play in. Think of it this way. Several people are in the park, playing a game they enjoy. One person in our group wanders over to you and says, “Wanna join us?” You can say, “No thanks, enjoying what I'm doing.” Or, you can say, “Wow! SO glad you asked. I was watching and it looks like such fun.”

Here are Annalisa's questions, in black. My answers are in turquoise, my favorite color.

  1. Which book, that you're supposed to love, do you actually hate?
    I cannot get through the LOTR books. Tried to read them as a 13 or 14 year old because everyone was and I was a joiner. Just too descripty for me. LOVE, love love the movies. Own them all.
  1. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
    We don't usually pay the exorbitant prices of an actual theater anymore. The last movie I saw was Harry Potter #6, but that one I saw twice, in the same theater, two weeks in a row.
  1. Name four people (dead or alive) you would like to invite for dinner.
    Thanks, but I only eat dinner with people who are alive. Not into the whole zombie thing (no offense, ya' man, just not the undead) I'd invite Bruce Springsteen, and the E-Street Band. Make them eat a three-course fondue dinner (because that's a marathon meal and I so have enjoyed my marathon Bruce concerts over the years. And yes, I was a fan before “Born in the USA) (Yes, that's more than four. Who's the dinner police?)
  1. Can you remember your first teacher?
    Absolutely. Eva Hagberg. Swedish equivalent of kindergarden. You'll see a post about Swedish school during my April Swedish theme.
  1. In which order should Star Wars be watched: IV, V, VI, I, II, III or I, II, III, IV, V, VI?
    No question: 4, 5, 6. 1+ 2 should only have to be endured once each, and I guess you have to watch 3. Hayden Christensen's lack of acting ability ruined 2 and 3. The actor who I won't even bother to look up who played 10 year-old Anakin should have been replaced after the first day of shooting. Who cast these movies???
  1. Which fictional character would you like to be for a day?
    Eve Dallas from J.D Robb's ...In Death series. That woman can kick some serious ass and is married to Roarke who's on my top 5 list.
  1. Sweet or savory?
    Savory. Hypoglycemic.
  1. Do you have a tattoo? How many?
    Yes, sunflower around my ankle (outside) with a vine that incorporates my boys initials. 

  1. Do you still have your first teddy bear? (I do.)
    Yup. He's pretty worn out though. You might see him in April. I'll be doing at least one picture a day...
  1. Oggy, oggy, oggy... Does anyone know what comes next? (hehehe)
    Only if you're talking about olly-olly-ox-in-free! Otherwise, nope.
  1. What are you reading right now?
    Blogs. Lots of blogs. Have Stephen Tremp's newest book (number 2 in a trilogy) as the newest addition to my Kindle. However, I also have his first one. Which I should read first. Being a blogger, I use 99.9% of my reading time at blogs, not books.

Here are my eleven questions. Desert Island. What would you bring in each of these categories?
  1. book
  2. CD
  3. DVD
  4. meal
  5. companion
  6. ONE comfort sleeping item
  7. ONE personal hygiene product (not talking tampons, talking getting un-grubby)
  8. outfit
  9. technology item (since it's a game, it would work on the island. ON the island. As in if someone else chooses it also, you could technology each other)
  10. practical item for survival
  11. wild card – what other one thing would you bring
    Yes, I'm a Survivor fan. Have seen every episode of every season. I don't understand why people end up on the island in business suits this late in the series. Don't they realize that at any moment they're going to get dropped into the game? So wear something practical people. If they say, “Dress for a photo-shoot for the cover of People” WEAR YOUR BATHING SUIT, with a cover-up, all terrain, able to get wet and recover shoes, and pretend your toothbrush is your necklace. And for God's sake, learn how to start a damn fire.
    So I'm tagging the following people. In no particular order.  Who may play or not play...
1) Polly @ 5th Sister
2) Cheryl @ Deckside Thoughts
3)Jenn @ Quirky Pickings
4) Cheryl @ Parenting from the Stage (buy her CDs to bring on the island)
6) Julie @ My Good Babushka
10) Brian @ WaystationOne
11) Klahanie @ Klahanie (we just met, he rocks)

Guess what! You can play even if I didn't tag you! It's just for fun and to get to know each other.

Friday, February 17, 2012

A New Outfit for Spring!

Did you notice my new outfit? I decided that it was time for some spring cleaning, and some new clothes. I've moved some buttons around, I've deleted some blog-hop ads that are no longer current, but most importantly: I got a new banner, custom-made, just for me, by the ultra-cool, Retro-Zombie Jeremy Hawkins himself!

Jeremy is one of the A-Z Challenge co-hosts, and badges, buttons, and banners are his bread and butter! I know that's an old cliché...but I'm a nerd, will always be a nerd, and I wanted all those words to start with B.

If you're in the mood for a new outfit, or just some new gadgets, here are some ways to find A-Z bling – you ARE joining the April Challenge, aren't you? The sooner you say yes, the sooner you can start planning, and the more fun you'll have. What have you got to lose? Nothing. What can you gain? Readers. Followers. Blogs to read. Blogs to follow. FRIENDS!

Jeremy's post at the main A-Z Blog has excellent instructions for installing all the cool "stuff" he's made for the challenge.  If you click on the tab "A-Z Badges and Banners" you'll find his work, free for the taking IF you're joining the challenge.  We need all of you to help us spread the word, so we're offering it all for free to you!

If you want to visit the Retro-Zombie at his own house, go here.  Of course, there are 13 total of us co-hosts, each with our area of expertise. I suggest you visit us all at least to say "hi" and that you're joining us.  It would be extra good to follow each of us since we're your guides.  You'll find all the links in my side-bar under the badge.

To answer your unspoken but very clearly heard question: NO.  I'm not only going to be blogging about the challenge from now on.  It's just that our prep is taking a large share of my blog time, so I've just been throwing stuff up that's been rattling around in my brain taking up bandwidth.  If I write it down, at least I know it's safe and retrievable!  Information in the correct place is a sanity saver.  I need all the sanity I can beg, borrow, or steal right now...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Swedish Postscripts: My Theme for the April A-Z Challenge

So you survived Valentine's Day? I'm not usually much for Hallmark-manufactured holidays...but I must say, I got some nice surprises this year. The Engineer even arranged for my boys (12 and 14.9) to get me a card. Chinese take-out for dinner. Tomorrow night is our regular date-night, so we'll hit our favorite place (family owned-operated authentic Mexican restaurant that's been around for at least the 20 years we've been going there) where they “run out of the regular glasses” and bring me a 20 oz. Margarita instead of a 12 oz...gotta love 'em! We don't even try to go out ON the 14th. Just too many people!

See? Normal paragraph. No ranting and raving. No popsicle threats. Just a regular blogger telling about a regular day. Did I scare you Sunday? No one even TRIED the competition...{sniff} I'm actually doing much better, sanity wise. Finished all the anti-biotic. Now I'm just on oral steroids. For the winter. Earned myself an extra week of bed-rest for showing up at the lung specialist with a pulse ox of 84...I'll take it though. Do NOT want to go back to jail.

This post is actually about something though. That part up there was the stretching and the warm-up lap. Remember I promised to work out every other day? Missed another day, so figured I should start slowly. Now let's hit the stairmaster!

I've decided what my theme is going to be for the A-Z Challenge! I'm Swedish. Half. Mom is American, Dad is 100% Swede. That's why his name on my blog is “The Swede”. Clever, eh? I've got stories of my European childhood scattered throughout Life is Good, and I've had readers and friends ask for more. I thought a month of posts focusing on that part of my life would be fun. After all, it's still a wide open field, with room for a lot of creativity. There is one, tiny, little, insignificant detail. (Name the movie!) The Swedish alphabet has three more vowels than English, rarely uses w, y isn't very popular either, and of course I'll have the same X and Q issues as those tackling this challenge in English. But it will be fun! It just means that while the rest of you get four days off for good behavior, I only get one. But I'm not one to back down from a challenge, so I'm now, officially, announcing my theme and being honest about the letters. Accountability among friends is very good, don't you think?

What I still haven't decided is what goes with which letter...and I'm tossing around the idea of each week having a theme. For example, the summer I turned 14 was a very significant time in my life, and I spent most of it in Sweden with my grandparents. Just me. I could write for weeks about that. However, readers might also like to know about what school in Sweden is like, what our favorite sports and hobbies are, what cultural differences separate us, compared with the similarities that unite us.
I'd love to hear from you what topics you would find interesting. Shoot me your ideas in the comments. If you think of more that you'd like to add to your suggestions, just come back and add another comment.

One last thing before I go. My A-Z Challenge co-host, Stephen Tremp, has just released his 2nd novel in the Breakthrough Trilogy. Check out his post at the main A-Z Blog from Monday, and while you're there, read Heather's guest post from Tuesday. She's a very a new blogger already taking on a big challenge, AND encouraging others to join.

Have you signed up? Have you decided to be winger or a themer?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

My Dog ate My Homework

Yes. I know. I didn't do it right. Made the schedule. Declared the schedule, but Ignored the schedule. Pretty soon they'll stop calling me ScheduleWoman, too. Although I do think I have a pretty good excuse for not exercising. I was in the hospital. For a lung infection of unknown name.  So I named it myself.  Pneumonia.  What's wrong with you doctors! Can't you just throw us a diagnosis so that when the well-meaning but relentless phone calls start coming, I can say, "pneumonia" and they understand and then I can try to sleep some more.  Yes, OK, I'm sounding like a raving lunatic here, but let me just say a few words. 

Prednisone. Levaquin. Prednisone + Levaquin = crazy girl. CRAZY. And not as in fun, “Let's just do it! Get in! We'll leave right now, no packing!” crazy. Crazy as in paranoid and everyone is out to piss me off (and doing a DAMN fine job of it, I must say.) That kind of crazy. Surprised you're still reading. But maybe that quickly melting popsicle I've got pointed at you (with red #5 dye) and aimed (at your new, white, linen shirt that you paid way too much for, but it's from Coldwater Creek and it was a good deal!  Marked down of course.  No longer $193, now selling for a mere $90.  Not a cheap thing!  But quality, so you splurged).  Hmmm...where was I? prednisone side-effect "inability to concentrate."

OK, you don't want red popsicle on white shirt so you're still here.  Listening.  Trying not to show how frantic you are. I don't care. I'll do it. I'll throw this soggy, mostly melted menace at you.  Here's what it comes down to: is the matter worth it, as in replacement cost of fine, white linen(which I would of course pay, I'm not THAT crazy) (I don't think...) vs. the supreme victory gained when foiling an irritant with a quick, clever, (but perhaps costly) solution.  

Remember when Jim asked Dwight, " Dwight!  How much did the exercise ball cost?"  "
"Why do you want to know?"

"I'm in the market for one."  

Dweebie Dwight was using it as an office chair and driving Jim insane as he worked next to not just bobblehead Dwight, but rolling, grinding, ass-shaking Dwight.  Who said, “$25”. Jim grabbed a pair of scissors, stabbed the ball. Sat down. Looked at the camera and said, “Totally worth it.” Deflating Dwight's ego also comes to mind...

I'm now pondering, during my obsessive-compulsive not many have commented yet, state of mind and I gotta get that comma in there or they'll kick me out of Blogland! morning routine.  OOPS.  Seems that clarifying the Jim/Dwight thing with more real estate in the post probably has done just the opposite of what I wanted.  Which was to convince you that I'mjustfinethankyouverynmuch.  

You're looking a little less scared straight.  Good job.  Lull me into relaxed mode.  Last post I promised that we (my blog and I)were getting into a training mode for the April challenge, (see sider bar, grab big ass badge, see tabs, it's got its own tab and if you're not signed up yet, get your ass shaking, click the tab, and do join!  I mean, what are you, CHICKEN?) and as a co-host of this awesome event, I thought it prudent that  I post every other day until then.  "My own kinda spring training." Well, that was a bit too abrupt of a work-out regimen. To go from mostly slumberous for most of 2011 (not a good year...just check out number of posts 2010 and then 2011 and you'll see what I mean) to all this A-Z Challenge stuff, AND blog every-other day just didn't happen.

However, I am a fairly clever woman. For example, if I have a list of things that I plan to do in a day, and I do something that wasn't on the list, I write it down and then check it off. I see it as a matter of integrity. I must report my life as it happens, and if running into a friend in the grocery store ends up a martini lunch at my favorite pub, then I will go home and write “put away groceries”. And check it off. Not just getting groceries. I also put them away! Then go take a nap because martini lunches make me sleepy by about 2...and not be able to check-off “fold laundry”. But hey, I added a task, so the tasks to completed tasks remained a constant ratio. You're probably not still listening. You saw me finish that popsicle and snuck back to your computer. Out of range. That's OK. I'm not mad anymore. I'm ready to tackle my email inbox. Just as soon as I cross off “post something today”. Done!

P.S The hospital part and the drug part are actually true.  I was hospitalized for almost a week with an unknown yet rather nasty lung infection.  Been home on bedrest a week.  Have at least another week to go.  I don't bedrest well.  I have too much experience with it.  Just use my search thingie and you'll see.  Watch out though, those posts contain a LOT of whining.  I warned you!

P.P.S This post has a hidden game in it.  It's got a movie quote, it's got a scene from a sitcom, AND a mathematical error...I expect that most of you will get the first two questions right.  I also predict that even if you completed your math requirements using crappy curriculum (heinous crime, by the way) you will still spot the math error.  The real trick though isn't to spot it.  It's to explain why it's wrong.  However,  I believe in America and our public schools and our over-worked, under-paid crusaders, out there spreading precious, useful knowledge to rooms full of sullen teenagers texting and listening to music with their noise canceling earphones and not giving one rat's ass about why my math up there was wrong, nor what the right way is to express my info.

P.P.P.S In case you missed it, the word for the day is ASS.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Return of Schedule Woman, Part 1

To My Dearest Blog,
Hello my sweet “Life is Good”! I'd like to apologize for leaving you stranded, all alone, while I was out chasing dreams. Yes, that's my excuse. I'll explain. Dreams.
As my first-born child, you do know that I had no blogging experience before you came along. You alone know how much I've learned and how far I've come. You know how exciting I think it is to meet new people and you do have to admit, don't you like it when new friends stop by to say hello, right? And then they promise to come back! That they don't want to miss anything we have to say!

Yes, it's a we. Without you, I don't have a voice. Without me, you don't have a source. Together we're making this gig work.

Yes, the dream thing. OK, was just trying a little spin-doctoring thing on you to see if you'd fall for it, and be all “buttered up” for what I'm about to say. OOPS. You're just too smart for that sort of stuff now. I should have realized it. But here's the deal. My dream is to write a book that people will read. To be able to do that, I have to practice writing a LOT. Finding stuff to write about each day while you're in your own little corner of the Blogworld can be very hard. That's why the A-Z Challenge was born – to get people to write! Well that, and learn the alphabet ;-) Sorry for tricking you into thinking I'd finally shut UP already about April. I refuse.

However, I do have some new promises. To get in shape for April, I'm putting us on a stricter schedule than we're used to. No more waiting to blog when the mood should (if?)strike. We are going to be working out every other day. It will be fun! Really! At least try, that's all I'm asking.

Tina @ Life is Good

P.S What??  You don't know about April and the challenge?  No worries.  Click the badge over there to get to the host blog.  There are 13 co-hosts and I'm one of them.  The Blogging A to Z April 2012 Challenge blog is full of tips, ideas, hints, explanations, banners, buttons, etc.  Grab some bling to dress up your place, sign onto the linky to join the challenge.  You can do that all over the world since it's a blog-hop.  That means that if you sign up here (click on the tab between the header and the start of this post) and then later when you go to the A-Z blog, you'll see your name there, too.  A truly remarkable little gadget, and each of the co-hosts has it on their blog.