Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Five Ways to Rock Valentine's Day

Hi guys!
Growing up, Valentine's Day was always a big deal. Us kids would work on our homemade valentines for weeks ahead, specially tailoring them to each member of the family. We had some crazy designs, let me tell ya. Pop ups, 3-D, cut outs. Mom and Dad always got us candy, and it was great.
Then for a few years when I was a teenager, Valentine's Day sucked. No boyfriend, and all that.
Then me and Jarod had our first date (on Valentine's Day--which he didn't realize) and got married and suddenly Valentine's Day took on a whole new meaning. We tried to get away on actual dates the first couple years. Which didn't happen. Jarod is the only married person on the ranch, and I think sometimes everyone else forgets that I need to spend time with him too, lol. Obviously I spend time with him as much as I can while he's working, but sometimes it just doesn't pan out with Henry, plus, sometimes a person needs something more romantic than chasing cows on a 4-wheeler.
So last year we beat the system. My mom took Henry all day for us and I went out with Jarod. We worked a lot, but then later in the afternoon we just disappeared for a few hours. We stopped and got ice cream at Subway, then just took off driving. We didn't go anywhere, or see anything great, but just being away with the two of us was the best.
This year I'm taking charge of the day and I've got a nice couple hours planned, and it should be great. So, without further ado, here's my tips on how to enjoy Valentine's Day, be you a single pringle, or an old married couple.
1. Shut off the phone.
Like, totally off. Pull the SIM card if you have to. Break it in half. You only want good distractions today. (Like the next season on Netflix, or an unexpected kiss) There is nothing worse than just sitting down to watch a movie, all snuggled up on the couch, and then the phone rings. You want to see me come unglued, get me comfy and then call.
2. It's all about the food.
No matter your relationship status, you cannot go wrong with food. And Valentine's Day is about love. So find food that makes you feel loved. I feel loved when I don't have to cook a gigantic meal. So get the popcorn, the fruit and dip, salami and cheese. Easy, yummy, comfort food. Granted, I am going to make a nice supper tomorrow, but it's something we both love, that is super easy to make. I can just pop it in the oven and curl up while it does its thing.
3. Drinks.
Can't have food without drinks. Which is why my fridge is full of Code Red Mountain Dew. Red, because it's Valentine's Day.
4. Entertainment.
Whether it's just you, or two, you can't just sit on the couch all night eating popcorn. Well...I mean you could. But something to go along with is better. Grab a good book, turn on Netflix. OR buy a box of popcorn with a free Redbox coupon on it and get a rental. That's what I'm doing. It doesn't even have to be a romantic movie. I'd take Jason Bourne over most romances any day. There's a kiss in there somewhere. That's romantic.
5. Defend that time.
If you have a special someone, this is important. Healthy families need some quality time spent together for no other reason than to be together. Not to work. Not to go shopping. Just. For. Fun, Carve that time out for one another. Violently if need be. The only reason Jarod shouldn't be home tomorrow evening is if something is on fire. And frankly, he's no fireman, so even then I'm a little skeptical.
So there you have it! What do you do for Valentine's Day? Do you have any fun plans for tomorrow? What are you reading or watching?

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Fawkes- Book Review

Remember, remember the fifth of November.
Hi guys! I finished Fawkes by Nadine Brandes two days ago, so here is my official thoughts on it.

What Goodreads has to say:
Thomas Fawkes is turning to stone, and the only cure to the Stone Plague is to join his father’s plot to assassinate the king of England.

Silent wars leave the most carnage. The wars that are never declared, but are carried out in dark alleys with masks and hidden knives. Wars where color power alters the natural rhythm of 17th century London. And when the king calls for peace, no one listens until he finally calls for death.

But what if death finds him first?

Keepers think the Igniters caused the plague. Igniters think the Keepers did. But all Thomas knows is that the Stone Plague infecting his eye is spreading. And if he doesn’t do something soon, he’ll be a lifeless statue. So when his Keeper father, Guy Fawkes, invites him to join the Gunpowder Plot—claiming it will put an end to the plague—Thomas is in.

The plan: use 36 barrels of gunpowder to blow up the Igniter King.

The problem: Doing so will destroy the family of the girl Thomas loves. But backing out of the plot will send his father and the other plotters to the gallows. To save one, Thomas will lose the other.

No matter Thomas’s choice, one thing is clear: once the decision is made and the color masks have been put on, there’s no turning back.
What I have to say:
I really liked this book. While I'm no stranger to historical fiction, historical fantasy was new to me. I can't think of any other book I've read that took real events and put a magical spin on them. It was very cool.
While I don't actually know a lot about the real Gunpowder Plot, the historical and fantasy aspects seemed to meld together really well.
Emma was fantastic, and took me totally by surprise. I knew something was up with her from the first time she walked onto the page, but had no idea what.
All of the characters were wrapped in mystery. I was really drawn in by all the plotters, trying to figure out what was making each of them tick. Guy Fawkes especially intrigued me, and I loved how delightfully creepy and passionate he was.

White Light was hilarious, and I loved all the parts where it spoke.
Really, my only complaint, and the reason I gave it four stars, is Thomas. I had a really hard time connecting with him for about half of the book. He seemed a little whiney to me (which granted, as I read on, I think he was supposed to be that way). He did eventually shape up, and turned into a character I could really root for, so I definitely didn't hate him, and by the end of the book he was pretty boss, I just wish it hadn't taken quite so long.
All in all though, definitely worth the read. It is 100% clean, and a really neat twist on real events.
 Have you read Fawkes yet? What did you think?

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

January Wrap Up

Hi guys!
Can you believe that the first month of 2019 is already over? Well...almost over. It's been a good month, over all, besides that sleep deprived issue I covered last week.
This month has been active across the spectrum. I've been listening to lots of music, mostly old stuff like 12 Stones, Reliant K, and Decipher Down.
I've been reading Fawkes by Nadine Brandes, and it's definitely an enjoyable read. I'm also reading The Girl With No Name by Marina Chapman, and it's great. I can barely put it down.
I also beta read two novels, both of which were fantastic, and I'm working my way through reading Psalms. For some reason I thought Psalms was just a lot of nice poetry, but it has really been resonating with me lately, and I've got pages and pages of notes that I've taken as I read.
I've been getting up early every morning for the last week and reading my Bible, exercising, and working on writing. I'm nearly done editing what I wrote of Mad Hatter for NaNoWriMo, and I think I'll be able to keep most of it. I've been tweaking the outline a bit, and I'm excited to get started on new writing for it so I can finish it up.
Bad Boy is off to beta readers and I've already gotten some super helpful feedback on it, so I think it's going to be fun to edit actually.
Lots of moving cows, both horseback and in a vehicle. They started having their babies, so we had to bring them in from the pastures and to cornfields closer to the barn so we can check them easier.
Henry is a top hand.

I was asked to join Story Embers as a full time staff writer and I accepted! You'll now be seeing articles from me every month. This is the most recent one.
I was interviewed by Kristena Mears on her blog, which was great. All of the other Five Poisoned Apple authors were also interviewed, so be sure to click through the most recent posts to find them all.
We've had a few play dates for Henry, and a couple family gatherings. My youngest sister turned sixteen, which is insane. She's driving people!
Today starting at 5 PM CST I'm taking part in a Facebook party that is specifically geared toward Snow White retellings. There are all kinds of authors going to be there, and I'll be talking about Red as Blood, so if you would like to join check out the page before tonight.
Also, bitter cold and wind. I'm growing spoiled in my old age and motherhood and don't have to venture out too often, but it's still miserable, and I feel bad for Jarod out in it ... as I sit next to the fire.
Valentines Day!! Which doubles as Jarod and my anniversary of starting dating. That will make four years we've been together. I feel old. But still madly in love.
How was your January? I want to hear about it!

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Don't Blog When Sleep Deprived

Hi guys!
I'm going to be totally honest here. I got nothing today. I've been trying to think up a blog post topic for the last five days, and all I keep thinking is I'm Tired.
Deeply tired.
Between not being able to fall asleep, stay asleep, waking up early, and nightmares in between, it has not been a good week for sleep. Hasn't even been a good month.
Not really sure what's going on. As far as eating and healthy habits go, I'm doing pretty good. I'm not abnormally stressed (cuz lets be honest, I'm always stressed). I'm just tired.
So my sleep deprived brain has been trying to come up with a topic with the Winnie the Pooh theme song playing repeatedly in the background.
And I've still got nothing.
I thought I could do a book review. But the last two books I've read haven't been published. Which is truly a shame, because they are both fantastic. But it wouldn't be fair to the rest of you to gush about a story you can't go out and buy. I am reading Fawkes by Nadine Brandes, but I'm only six chapters in. It is awesome though. I named Henry's stuffed fox, Fawkes, in honor of it.
 No one has caught on yet.
I thought I might talk about a movie or TV show, but besides Winnie the Pooh, I've only watched a few episodes of The Walking Dead, and all I can say at this point is that Daryl is awesome.
That is all you need to know.
I sent Bad Boy off to some beta readers, so I've got nothing going on with that. If you wanted to read it and I missed you, do please give a shout.
I did open up the Mad Hatter document for the first time since NaNoWriMo ended. And it's funny, because it's not nearly as horrible as I remember it being. Honestly, I'm switching it to first person present tense, and that seems to be solving a lot of the issues I was having. Which is terrifying, because I tend to hate first person present. Maybe that's why I'm having nightmares.
I downloaded Spotify back onto my laptop for the sole purpose of listening to my Time Capsule, and let me tell ya, it's gold. I have great taste in depressing music.
Speaking of depressing, I have an Amazon giftcard that I want to buy some books with. But all the books I want aren't released yet!
So, yeah.
I don't have anything interesting to tell you guys today.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The Language of Worlds

Hi guys! Liv K. Fisher is back with another awesome Language of Worlds linkup.
I’m over half done with my read through of Bad Boy (and still in the negative zone on picking an actual title). I expect to have it finished and ready to go by the end of this week, so if you want to be a beta reader shoot me your email and let me know! If you’d like to see an official blurb, check out the My Stories tab.
I’m not working on any other stories at the moment, so I’ll be using Brass and Tamille for this linkup.
The Questions
In five words or less, how would you describe your character?
Brass: Chaotic good, arrogant, smart, dangerous. Tamille: Brave, sensitive, level headed, conflicted.
When do they see an opportunity for self-improvement?
Brass thinks he’s pretty much perfect, so it doesn’t come easy for him to consider improving. He starts to think about it when Tamille’s father gets her back. Tamille is always trying to do better. Every situation she gets herself into she spends time reflecting on what got her there and what she could do differently.
How do they view themself (good, evil, neutral, etc.)?
Brass views himself as very good at being evil. Tamille thinks she’s generally good, but knows that no one is truly good and she has her flaws.
Is there a story that inspires them? What is it?
Brass is inspired by his own story. Every slight someone dealt him, every obstacle he’s overcome, all fuels him to push farther. Tamille doesn’t have a specific story, but she secretly reads minstrel tales and I’m sure the daring damsels in those stories inspire her quite a bit.
What proverb or quote they identify with?
Brass makes up his own proverbs as he goes along. His favorites are Always expect trouble, and promises are made to be broken. Tamille would identify with Proverbs 12:21 There shall no evil happen to the just: but the wicked shall be filled with mischief. Tamille is constantly reminding herself that she is protected.
What does their standard day look like?
Brass is always bouncing between schemes so it’s hard to pinpoint standard, but he’ll frequent several of his different establishments and listen in on the gossip, check payments and transfers of money. Probably get in a fist fight, and annoy Tamille as much as possible.
 Tamille used to spend her time riding along with the hunts or hosting dinner parties, but lately she just gets dragged around with Brass and put to work serving tables.
When they picture their ideal day, how does it go?
Brass would have all of his current endeavors fall into place, and spend the rest of his time arguing with Tamille. Tamille would like to go to the beach or the country, and just enjoy being outside relaxing.
Do they have a favorite memory? If so, what happened?
Brass tries really hard not to think about the past. Tamille’s is of a fall her family spent along the coast when she was a little girl. It was calm, and there were no politics to be dealt with, and everyone had fun.
Where do they see themself in five years?
Brass is currently having a midlife crisis at the age of 19, and isn’t sure what to do next. Probably some kind of fantastic crime spree. Tamille hopes to be secure and settled, with a steady job and no danger or heists. But that's probably not very realistic, given that she also pictures herself wherever Brass is.
What is their life dream?
Brass’ dream would be to see the current king taken down and all the dukes stripped of their titles, an illegitimate prince on the throne, and a free pass to do whatever he wants without repercussions. Oh, and...Tamille, would stay...but he doesn’t like to talk about that either. Tamille wants to be able to marry who she chooses, and eventually rebuild relations with her family, while helping strengthen the country and helping the people oppressed by the social system.
So there you have it! Make sure to check Liv’s post and read the other linkups, and let me know if you want to beta read this bunch of craziness.  

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Mom Life

Hi everyone.

I had big plans for this first month of the year. 
I was going to get Bad Boy edited and sent off to beta readers, and I was going to tackle The Mad Hatter and force it into submission. Plus several other writerly things. 

Mainly I was going to have steady content on the blog, and posts that actually followed a pattern. 

But that’s not real life.

Real life is Henry keeps getting sick, then seemingly getting better, then coming down sick worse than the first time. We’ve been through bouts of fever, constipation, puking, and diarrhea all one after the other with not much sign of improvement. 

I’m exhausted and he’s clingy, so my days have pretty much consisted of rocking in the recliner with him while watching Pooh, Bob (veggie tales), Meow (Lion King), Zig (Spirit), or Dog (Ice Age). 
In between cartoons are frantic bursts of trying to get meals cooked, smelly laundry washed, dishes cleaned, and taxes paperwork done. 

Which means I’ve edited maybe three pages of Bad Boy, and not much else. 

But that’s ok. That’s life. I love this little boy no matter how many times he throws up on me (or how many times we watch Pooh). 
It makes me so sad seeing him sick and not feeling good, and really not being able to do much about it. 

I have two shirts that say Mommin’ Ain’t Easy. 
It’s hipster, but it’s true. 
Being a mom is definitely not easy. 
It’s exhausting, smelly, and messy. 
But it’s worth it. It’s so, so worth it. 

So the point of this rambling post is to tell you I’ll try again next week. Until then, it’s time to watch Black Beauty. We’re only on our third repetition of it. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Not a Resolution Post

Hi guys!
I hope you all had a great time this past month with all of the holidays. I know I did. It was nice to have a break from blogging and sharing posts, but I'm excited to get back at it and start this new year.

Literally so much went on.

We went to the Pioneer Woman's Mercantile and Lodge in Pawhuska Oklahoma.
It was everything I imagined and much more. I had so much fun. I ate so much food. I spent so much money. It was perfect.

Our friends got married in one of the most beautiful weddings I have ever seen in my life.

I had an article on proofreading published on Story Embers. Talk about stressfully scanning the article for typos before turning it in.

We got together with three different sets of relatives for Christmas.

I went to two Christmas parties, and took Henry to pet reindeer. He was more interested in the dog, but whatever.

We attended a group Bible study and had a great time and fully plan to go back every month.

This month we have one last Christmas get-together.
I have an interview with Kristena Mears.
I expect to hear back from the agent I submitted Blood and Dust to for #FaithPitch.
It's been an arctic tundra outside the last several days. It officially snowed seven inches where I live, but the wind blew so bad that the yard is bare but the driveway has drifts 3-5 feet deep. And every day Jarod breaks through them, and every day they drift back in. My car has not left the garage in days. I've barely stepped foot outside. The highs have been anywhere from 15 to 47 degrees, but the lows were -2 to 28, and the wind chills have dropped to as much as -25.
I don't care where you live, that's cold.
 An entire new year.
I promise this isn't a resolutions post. I don't really have any resolutions.
Sure, there's things I want to do, but I'd want to do them whether it was a new year or not.
Last year was so full of crazy up's and down's.
Sometimes it felt like it was racing by at the speed of light, and other times it felt like it was dead and never going to move again.
As a family we had some awesome, fun filled times, but we also had plenty of disappointments and setbacks to the plans we thought were secure.
I was published for the first time, and started writing articles, and its been the most wonderful, stressful thing in the world. A huge thank you to everyone who has left reviews for Five Poisoned Apples and Red as Blood.
I'm not sure what the future holds. I know a lot of the things are out of my hands, and I just want to focus on being happy and content where I am. To not let the disappointments turn me bitter, but to be a lovely person in spite of them.
I want to write more. Bad Boy needs to be edited. I'm about a quarter of the way through my first read through, but I expect to be quicker now that holidays are past, so I'll let everyone know when I'm ready for beta readers.
I want to keep submitting and polishing the stories I have done, and hopefully get a few new ones written.
I want to read, because I got some amazing books for Christmas and it feels like I haven't read in months. Not only books, but stories for my friends. I've currently got two sitting on my kindle that I promise I will get to guys!
I just want to be better this year. A better wife, mom, writer. All the many hats I swap on and off on any given day.
I'm not expecting perfection, but there's always room to improve and keep growing.
So that's all I've got for you. Did you enjoy the last month of 2018? Are you ready for 2019?
(I hope so, because it's here)