Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Guest Poster: Rachel Morgan

I'm so excited that today I have the honor of having Rachel Morgan, author of young adult paranormal books, and winner of our video contest, doing a guest post for me. To land this awesome blogger here at my place is an honor! Please give her a warm welcome and a visit to her house!

A to Z Themes

With less than a week to go, I'm sure you've all decided whether your A to Z posts are going to fit a specific theme, or if you're just going to have 26 random posts. Last year I did the random post thing. Here were a few of my topics:

C - catching up
H - hypnagogic and hypnopompic (and huh?)
L - let me not
Q - quagga
R - random question
Z - zombies

It was quite liberating just picking a random idea each day (yeah, I didn't pre-schedule any posts last year!). But this year I'm going with a theme, and I decided I wanted that theme to be related to the YA paranormal fantasy series I launched in March.

This series, entitled Creepy Hollow, follows Violet, one of an elite force of faeries training to become a guardian. Guardians protect humans from dangerous fae creatures that find their way into the human realm. Vi is all set to graduate as the best guardian of her year until one of her assignments goes wrongturns out the human boy she just saved can somehow see through her faerie glamour, and he follows her back to the fae realm. Which is against the Law.

So, as a background to the Creepy Hollow series, I thought I'd do 26 flash fictions about 26 different assignments Vi's been on in the past (involving 26 different fae creatures). I'm aware that people have maaaaaany blogs to visit during the A to Z Challenge, so I'm keeping my posts between 200 and 300 words. I hope people will enjoy reading them as much as I've enjoyed writing them!

What is your A to Z theme this year (if you have one)?

Here are a few theme ideas:
26 wacky word definitions (those would be nice short posts!)
26 favorite songs 
26 holiday destinations
26 writing tips
26 famous authors

~  ~  ~

1. Receive assignment.
2. Save a life.
3. Sleep.
4. Repeat.

Protecting humans from dangerous magical creatures is all in a day’s work for a faerie training to be a guardian. Seventeen-year-old Violet Fairdale knows this better than anyone—she’s about to become the best guardian the Guild has seen in years. That is, until one of her assignments—a human boy who shouldn’t even be able to see her—follows her into the fae realm. Now she’s broken Guild Law, a crime that could lead to her expulsion.

The last thing Vi wants to do is spend any more time with the boy who got her into this mess, but the Guild requires that she return Nate to his home and make him forget everything he’s discovered of the fae realm. Easy, right? But Nate and Vi are about to land themselves in even bigger trouble—and it’ll take all Vi’s training to get them out alive.

Buy Guardian from

The Creepy Hollow Series

Author Info

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Another winner: Rachel Morgan

Thanks go to all of you who voted for the best A-Z advertising video contest!   I'm so thrilled that the contestants who know about that kind of over-my-head stuff took the time to help us promote our event, using their mad skills!

I'm also happy to say that I was among the co-hosts with a lot of readers participate in the voting!  I'm proud of you for answering the call! Or at least following the $10 carrot I had dangling in front of your nose ;-) If you missed it yesterday, Gary of klahanie won the prize: $10 gift card, winners choice of venue.  Me?  I'd go for a grocery store and then I can use my prize money there, and in so doing, free-ing up some grocery funds to use as I see fit.  Just a thought.

As if all of that news wasn't enough to get you off the comfy chair and signed up for the challenge, today I get to announce the WINNER of the A-Z Challenge Video Contest. Rachel Morgan of  Rachel Morgan Writes is our winner!
The count-down continues and of course we're still accepting participants until April 2, 2012.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Gary's a Winner and I'm a Winner, too!

Today is another one of those catch-up days. I've been running all over the place visiting the visitors of the three posts I was doing on Saturday. Remind me to just do ONE post a day from now on, OK?  If I haven't made it to you yet, don't worry.  I will.  ASAP.

First order of business. Gary, whose blog is klahanie, is our winner! My random number generator picked his comment. OK, it was my friend The Other Engineer who did it, but he's completely random so I trust the win. For those of you who have never been to Gary's place, please pay him a visit. He's got a wonderful sense of humor, and oozes compassion. His blog is a safe haven in a crazy world. If you like sarcastic, read his comments here at Life is Good. They are long and hilarious. If he wasn't on the other side of the pond I'd go martini drinking with him! Gary: you need to pick your gift card venue, and then I need your physical address so I can send it to you!

Meanwhile, I got a nice award from a brand-new blogger friend, Yadim Bromberg. I've said it before, I love these awards. I know some of you out there have tag free and award free blogs, and that's fine, we're all different, but I was the kid motivated by the gold star on the poster on the wall in the classroom and getting these awards is like that for me. The other great thing about them is I get to pick further recipients, so I see it as a community building event with shout-outs to blogger buddies. I don't know about you, but I love getting new visitors.

I'm answering the following questions, then I get to link to some other bloggers to receive this award, too. Yadin, thank you so much. Getting a sunshine award goes so well with Life is Good's new clothes, doncha think?

Favorite color: Turquoise. The exact shade of Life is Good's “skin”

Favorite animal: Lion. I'd love to meet Aslan :-)

Favorite number: 47. It's prime. I also like 91, because it's NOT prime, but the average person will say it is. You remember I'm a math nerd, right?

Favorite non-alcoholic drink: Diet Mountain Dew. Or, a McDonald's diet coke. Those of us out there who are connoisseurs of diet coke know that McDonald's mix is the best.

Facebook or Twitter: Facebook. Our society is so mobile now, few people spend their whole life in the same town. I'm hoping to. With fb, I've stayed close with many who've had to leave me.

My passions are: Writing, camping, knitting, cooking, traveling, and ending each day with chardonnay.

Getting or giving presents: Totally giving. I'm a totally spoiled American and lack for nothing, but I love to give presents, especially random ones for no reason.

Favorite patterns: Don't laugh. Math nerds can be really sensitive. My favorite pattern is the Fibonacci sequence... 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34...

Favorite day of the week: Sunday. Family day. Day of rest. Football! Guilt-free naps. Family movie night. Snack night. (I don't cook, everyone fends for themselves)

Favorite flower: Sunflower! Hello! Pretty obvious...

Now for my nominees, in no particular order, and I'm not including any of my co-hosts because we're all so busy...

Heather of Random Interruptions (new blogger, awesome new friend)

Lori of Simply Mama (friend who moved away – oh so glad to still be in touch)

Cheryl of Parenting From the Stage (friend who is on an adventure that makes every molecule of my wanderlust scream in envy)

jenn of Quirky Pickings (smart, sassy, tells it like it is, and doesn't wear a mask. Ever. I love real people.) 

Polly at 5th Sister (another real person, a friend with tremendous strength and purpose)

Gary of klahanie  (another new friend, but I can tell it's going to be a long-term friendship)

So please visit my friends.  Please know that I love all my readers and followers and that it was really hard to pick since all of you brighten my day with your sunshine!

Saturday, March 17, 2012


I'll admit it's kind of weird...but I'm in three places at once today.
  1. Here telling you this.

  2. Also guest posting at Amanda's house: House Revivals. Those of you who were here earlier today couldn't get to my post, but now you can.  Please go say hi to her, I'm her first ever guest poster and I would love for that to be a good experience for her.
So have fun, wander around Blogland, and please visit these posts to say “hi”!
Thanks, Tina

P.S To Gary: you know I love ya' man. Check-out my blogroll!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Anybody Want $10???

I need your help. Now. Well, before midnight on Sunday. (Yes, that's a correction - I had originally said Saturday but found out that I was mistaken...anyway, gives you more time!) We had a video contest at the A-Z Challenge blog, to make an advertising video, and we need voters. There are only 12 videos, and they're all under 2 minutes. Most of them a lot shorter than that. They're also tremendously creative, and all quite different. Would you pretty please with sugar on top (or a martini, if you prefer) watch them and vote for your favorite?

I'm not just asking for help, I'm also totally bribing you. (I've found it to be a great parenting tool, too).  If you come back and comment that you've voted, I'll enter you in a drawing for a gift card to a place of your choosing. $10 to spend however you want! That's a good return on your investment of time. I voted this morning and it took me only 20 minutes to watch them and vote. So it's like I'm paying you $30 hour. That's not chump change!

You don't have to be a challenge participant to vote, we just want you to tell us which ad for the challenge was the best. But hell, if you haven't signed up yet, you might still consider doing so. We have over 1,000 participants, and no, you don't have to visit everyone, just a *suggested* five a day.  I tell ya', it's THE blog-hop of the year and I just don't want you to miss out on the fun.

Thanks so much for voting!  I'll pick a winner after voting closes.  You can only vote once, we've got a gadget to make sure of that.  But hey, tell ya' what.  If you join the challenge (or already have) just tell me in a comment on this post, I'll enter you in the drawing for that, too.  It would double your chances...

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Those Look Like Comfortable Shoes

I love camping. Always have. I had no idea though, that on this trip I'd accomplish a goal that's been elusive for three years. I WENT HIKING! Yup. Ms. “You need your arthritic hip replaced, probably twice before you die,” and who could also be called Ms. “You're really shouldn't try to do this much compensating for that hip, because you sprained your knee doing so” WENT HIKING.

It started with the shoes.

The Engineer and I are running errands before our “get out of Dodge and away from the kids” camping trip, and we stop at REI because YellowBoy has been wanting “finger toe shoes.” Aka Vibrum 5 Fingers. REI is the only retailer who will let you return them if they turn out to “not agree” with your feet. I'm amazed by that guarantee, by the way. So we're looking, and YellowBoy and I have, at this snapshot in time, the same size feet. We decided to buy a pair in our size, and then we realized that the shoe saleswoman (an extremely knowledgeable employee) had been showing us the women's styles. Perfectly understandable since I am a woman. But I'd thought though that they were unisex like Teva's (at least used to be). Not so. Amazingly though, The Engineer, frugal man that he is, buys his wife the lady shoes. This lady smiles and walks out of the store on cloud 9, wearing what feels like nothing, like I'm barefoot.

Barefoot is a big deal to me. I've had bone spur surgery and plantar facetious in both feet and have been wearing only “comfortable” shoes for years. Then I started yoga (in 2010), and it strengthened my feet so much that now I can go barefoot all day, just like I did in childhood. Hiking in these magic shoes felt heavenly. Yes, I got out of breath, yes, I got tired, but I hiked. Half a mile. But it's a start, and all journeys begin with one step. In great shoes.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Friday Catch-Up

Friday. Time to tie-up some loose ends.

Like the new look? Life is Good is under construction, by my bro, Jeremy, the Retro-Zombie. He is doing a complete make-over. You may already have missed the “before” if you're new here. He's installed the first layer of my new look: the foundation, if you will. Go visit him, say hi, praise him, all the that stuff, and then come back daily to see the newest changes. You'll be the first, because...

I'll be off the grid starting tomorrow around lunch time until Sunday night. The Engineer is taking me away for the weekend without kids! My darling Swiss (as in my sister) will have the boys. They're excited to get to hang out with their cousins. They're stair step ages, my Jake, 14, her LizardGirl 13, my Yellowboy, 12, and then her KarateKid, 11. We're all blessed to have them growing up together. I was 16 before I got a cousin! (You can meet GorgeousGirl in this post if you're curious.)

We're going camping. OK, I hear you. Camping? Instead of a B&B? Instead of a nice, clean hotel? Well, yes. I'd rather go camping. It's my favorite thing to do! And camping gives The Engineer, prime example of “engineers don't idle well” something to do! There's only one loop of the campground open year round, so we're leaving early to secure a spot. If you're a Colorado reader, you'll know what I'm referring to when I say we're going to Moraine Park in Rocky Mountain National Park. So back to the spot thing, Yyes, there's a chance we don't get one. Lots of crazy Europeans camp through the winter. We've met many of them on our hikes and in passing as we wander the campground. Not to disparage Americans, but we don't see many of them until May. (Just FYI the Downey camping season runs March through the end of October – if you're looking for camping stories, just put “camping” in my search thingie over there in the sidebar).

While I'm gone, keep up the good work! Those of you in the A-Z Challenge, check out my countdown calendar. It was in my side-bar, in light blue, but, um, now it's...wherever Jeremy has put it. It's free for the stealing at the main A-Z blog. Those of you not taking part in the challenge...I still love you and I'm still your follower. See you Monday.

P.S  I've joined jenn of quirky pickings  in her fabulous, interactive, blog thingie.   She's over there in my blog roll, so you know she's amazing.  That sidebar represent my "must read"s.  I follow a LOT of blogs because they're great and I want to find them again.  But the blog-roll, those are my special buddies. where was I?  Oh yea, when I get back, I'll explain in detail about Swapportunity. Meanwhile, head on over to her amazing piece of blogland.  You're gonna love her!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

My Name-Tag Says "Author"

Yesterday, in my guest post at the A-Z Blog,  I asked, "When do I get to call myself a writer?"  Nicole of Madlab Post said:

You now have work that is in a book for sale while you also maintain an online "publication," if you will, so I'd say you're a writer. The question is, do you?  Be proud and claim it!  

I claim it, and I'll tell you why.  It was an evening that will be etched onto my heart forever. Indulge me please as I share a bit about the occasion. (Don't worry, my brevity card is installed ;-) 

I'm a sucker for the little things. Example: when I went to new teacher orientation for my first job straight out of college, I picked up my name-tag, and right there, under my name, were THE words I'd been waiting for and working towards my whole life: teacher. I saved it. Last night, Best and I were waiting in the very long line to get into the reception, and a woman comes walking from the front to the back, “Are there any authors in this line? We need to get you in right away so you can start signing autographs.” WOW. I got a red “author” ribbon on my pre-made name-tag!  Others used a sharpie on a sticky name tag.

My first look at my story in print was right after the registration table where I picked up my books. (I bought some for my parents and in-laws). I found a sofa and found my story. 

Right away people started coming over, “Would you mind autographing this for me?” Mind? I'm DYING TO. Not that I said that. I played it cool. On the outside. Inside? Jumping up and down for joy, happiness in every pore. Pure bliss.

Authors got recognized on stage! Standing applause! (Yes, there were tables and chairs, so it wasn't like they HAD to stand ;-) The various organizations that minister to the homeless population each had a booth set-up. The piece I wrote was about the director of The Center for People With Disabilities.  The book included not just portraits and stories of the homeless, but of those whose jobs “intersect” with that population.  At that booth they had the book open to MY story. 

I'm done bragging now. After all, this wasn't about the volunteers, or the authors, or anyone who helped make it happen. This was and is and will continue to be about the invisible people we have given a face and a voice to.
If you missed my guest post at the A-Z blog, you can head on over there for more links and info should you choose to support this cause. Thanks.

P.S I highly recommend you visit  Nicole of Madlab whom I quoted above.  She's been an amazing resource for the co-hosts and has guest-posted several times with very valuable, creative, easy to follow advice for the challenge participants.  Of course a big thanks to all of YOU for supporting me and helping me celebrate my first by-line!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Until They Have Faces: My first by-line!

Today you'll find me guest posting at the A-Z Challenge blog! You've seen the picture of this book over there in my sidebar for many months, and the day is finally here! Today my first by-line is being released. I've included a lot of details about the project in my post at the A-Z, so please, click your way over there and gimme some love!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Life-Saving Advantages of a Jot Book

Ok, let's try this again. Brevity. See?

I made my card just like DL said in his post at the main A-Z Challenge Blog. I didn't know how to make it work, though. I had it beside me when I wrote the chapstick post. That post wasn't brief at all. So I called tech support and they told me it had to be properly installed. So I did. See?

All I needed was the ladybug clip! Lucky I had one on hand because the brevity program is sold separately, no clips included. Now that it's up and running fine, I will move on to my brief post.

Recovering from this lung illness has taught me a few lessons. No, patience isn't one of them. Apparently God's not done with me on that issue. However, I've found that having a jot-book really relieves some of the stress that comes from having only one of four cylinders firing correctly due to some nasty meds, and that one isn't the memory cylinder.

I treated myself to a 2-pack of these. 

One lives in the basket I carry with me from room to room

the other in my purse. If a thought enters my mind, I write it down. Have you seen The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy? If not, then do. I'll wait.  See!  Didn't you love that great scene where they're on a planet where having an idea gets you smacked in the face by these shovel-looking creatures? I feel like that. The thoughts come, I'm startled by the clarity, so I have to write it down.

I leave you (at less than 300 words!) with this last thought. OOPS! It left the building without me...