Friday, March 30, 2012

There's a Buzzing in My Ears

Do you guys hear that? It sounds like a bee. That's because today I'm hanging out with Bruna over at Bees With Honey.

WOOT!

Come chill with us and learn all kinds of fabulously interesting (ha!) things about me. And don't forget to participate in her link-up and meet other awesome sausage bloggers.

Let's BEE Friends

Thursday, March 29, 2012

You Googled What? - The Bizarre and Not-So-Profound Edition

I think Google may be the greatest insight into the character of our society.  Which is a scary, scary thing.

However, it does make for an interesting blog post.

I give you this month's edition of...things people googled that led them to my blog.

Asshole trophy
For that special asshole in you life.  Aww.

No ho's allowed
Why you gotta hate?  Hos are your friends.  

But they're also your enemies too. And you can't turn a ho into a housewife. Hos don't act right.  And they always have runs in their pantyhose.  

Man that Ludacris sure knows a lot.

I retract my earlier statement and agree with the googler. No hos allowed!

Idiot can love
Well of course they can. Idiots are people too.  Unfortunately.

Wed MD lump elbow
It's comforting to know I'm not the only one to turn to Web MD to diagnose the mysterious and most-likely deadly lumpy elbow.

Seriously though, that sounds dangerous.  You should probably go to a doctor.

Dancing Penguin Interview
Does the penguin dance while giving the interview?  I hope so, cuz otherwise it's just a regular interview about a penguin who dances.  And there's nothing special about that.     

Forget what I said in the title about the searches not being profound.  These next two are brilliant.

All the bacon
Best search ever.

Let's Get Crazy Bacon Pictures
Yesssssss!

Thong Poop
Alright.  Who let the sickos use the internet?        

Pissed off UPS Man
I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but your next package?  Is going to be a bomb.  

Mastirbating [sic] hippos
That's it.  All perverts report to the gymnasium and hand in your internet cards.  Your googling privileges have been revoked.  

Always think I'm dying
I feel your pain. Literally.  I'm always dying too, even though WebMD says I'm just having a panic attack.  But honestly, what do they know?  I've heard they're not even a real doctor.  

Quote of the Day:
I love talking about nothing. It is the only thing I know anything about. 
~Oscar Wilde

Word of the Day:
  pablum: something (as writing or speech) that is trite, insipid, or simplistic

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Meeting Jodi Picoult

Last Monday, one of my dreams came true. I met author Jodi Picoult. She was in town to promote her new book, Lone Wolf. I, of course, wanted to meet her because I love every single one of her books. But there was more to it than that. She (more than anyone or anything else) has had a tremendous impact on my writing. After reading her first novel Nineteen Minutes, the way I viewed novel writing and storytelling changed dramatically.

I began to examine the way I constructed sentences and established tone and ended chapters (if there's anyone who knows how to write a page-turner, it's Jodi). My writing has a long way to go to be anywhere close to her caliber, but thanks to her, I am much better than I was two years ago.

On the days and hours leading up to meeting her, the husband kept asking me if I was excited.

Me: I'm nervous.
 
I'm not entirely sure why I was, but I suppose when you put someone on such a high pedestal they're bound to fall short of your expectations. But Jodi did not disappoint.

She talked about the research she did for Lone Wolf, which included learning how to howl.  Three audience members were invited to the stage and she taught them how to howl like a pack. It was fantastic. (The husband and I have since been annoying our dogs by breaking into spontaneous howling. They want no part of it.) She read an excerpt from her novel and then answered questions.

I found myself bobbing my head in agreement like a bobble-head doll as she talked about her writing process, how the voices of her characters are constantly talking inside her head, how the character's take over and often surprise her. I may not be a best-selling author, but it was awesome sausage to know that Jodi and I share a lot of novel writing characteristics.  In way, it was validation that I really am a writer (even though I haven't sold one book yet*).

When it was time for the book signing, I started to panic because of course I did. What should I say to her? I didn't want to tell her I love her books, because that's what everyone says and duh, would I be there if I didn't love them? I didn't want to tell her that I am a writer too because if I was her I'd be like uh huh, yeah, sure you are.

So, I waited in line and panicked and sweat, and panicked some more. When it was finally my turn, in usual "me" fashion, I nearly collided with the woman coordinating the event. It helped me relax...which meant I rambled like a crazy person on crack.

Jodi (after I nearly ran someone over): it's crazy in here. How are you?

Me: I'm wonderful. This has been a dream come true for me.

Jodi (incredibly genuine): Wow. Thank you.

Me: I tried to go see you at the event yesterday, but it sold out within an hour. I must talk about you a lot because everyone I know was texting me that you'd be here today.

Okay, it might not seem like I said a lot, but I spoke a mile a minute.  And there was much waving of the hands and text-miming with my thumb. I'm sure it was as awesome for her to meet me as it was for me to meet her.

Me and Jodi, hanging out.
Best Friends Forever
Basically, every single thing she said was amazing, and I seriously considered becoming a groupie and following her tour all over the country (and Europe!).  My two favorite Jodi Picoult's quotes of the event were:

I don't believe in writer's block.  Writer's block is a function of having too much time on your hands.

You can edit a bad page but you can't edit a blank page.

If you haven't read one of Jodi Picoult's books, I strongly recommend that you do. (However, I must warn you, it won't be light reading.  Nineteen Minutes is about a school shooting and other book topics include things like suicide and rape.)

All in all, it was amazing and writing about it will never do it justice. In fact, I'm rather annoyed by the lackluster way in which I did write about the most exciting day in the history of ever.  But I am exhausted and my brain has stopped working and excuses, excuses.

*For those of you inquiring about the status of my novel John and Darcy (working title)...

First of all, thank you! You have no idea how happy it makes me that you are interested in reading it.

Secondly, it was scheduled to be released via Smashwords and other e-publishing sites for some time in April. I'm not sure if that is still on track. It is in the hands of my editor now and I'm currently working on the fourth round of revisions.  When I feel it is the best it can be, I will publish it.  And I promise you'll know as soon as I do. For those interested in a preview, you can click the My Book tab at the top.  Please note that what's included there is what I wrote before the fourth edit. I foolishly thought three edits would suffice.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Ranting: It Does a Body Good.

Sometimes I wish my blog was anonymous.  That way when I got all irritated like whoa about something, I could spew fire and vitriol like a total psycho without anyone having any idea who the crazy angry lady behind the blog is. Maybe it’s the whole being Italian thing, but sometimes there is nothing better than talking loudly and gesturing wildly about things that piss me right off.  Venting and ranting -- they do a body good.

I have had two recent experiences of which to rant about, but I will only tackle one today because when I start ranting I don’t stop; and if I tackle both incidents of douchey-ness this post will never end.

As I mentioned in a previous post and have whined about on the twatter, I have been in a bit whole freaking lot of pain lately.  That pain? Is due to a raging mega-huge UTI. For those of you freaked out or offended by the talk of UTIs you’re gonna wanna stop reading now.  It’s going to get a whole lot worse.

I have had my share of UTIs.  They are painful, annoying, uncomfortable, and absolutely no fun.  But never has the pain felt like someone was trying to shove an oak tree up my urethra and then set it on fire.

My doctor prescribed me an antibiotic and said he’d call me once they got the culture back to let me know if he prescribed the right thing.  Well, doesn’t that just fill a girl with loads of confidence that her raging-mega huge infection is going to go bye-bye?  He did prescribe me some kick-ass pain pills so at least I could ride out the pain in drug-induced fog.

I finished my antibiotic yesterday and got a call from the doc’s office today.  “So, how you feeling?” he asked.

“Not good, dude.  Not good. I’m pretty sure I’m dribbling on myself between full-fledged pees.”

“Yeeaaah,” he says.  “You need stronger stuff.  We’re calling in a new scrip.”

“Well that’s fantastic.”

Fast forward to drug pick-up time.  I am allergic to one type of drug.  I was given it when I was little and I could no longer walk.  The doc cut back the dosage but my legs still swelled up and I rolled around like a fat blob.

Now, my doctor knows I am allergic to this, but since he just called in the scrip and didn’t actually see me I was wondering if he remembered my allergy.  Especially since he wasn’t entirely sure if he prescribed me the right thing the first time (which I’m not saying is entirely his fault; I understand that medicine is sometimes a wait-and-see kinda thing).  So, when I got to the pharmacy I told the pharmacist ( I repeat, I talked to the PHARMACIST, not a tech) about my allergy and that I just wanted to make sure my antibiotics didn’t contain the evil drug.

Her (in valley-girl voice): You’re allergic to wha??

Me: Name of drug.

Her: Wha??

Me: Repeat name of drug. I have no idea if (name of drug) would even been in meds for a UTI but I am very allergic so I just want to make sure.

Her (look of irritation): Wha??

Me: Repeat name of drug and spell it for her.

Her (look of disdain and dismissiveness and possible eye-rolling): Oh, that’s just sulfur. No, it’s not in there.

Here, my friends, is where the ranting begins. 

Are you f*cking kidding me? You’re going to make me feel like an idiot for asking questions that could mean life or death for me, or at the very least, render me paralyzed from the waist down?  And it may be just sulfur to you but just sulfur equals rat poison to me.  But thanks for your disdain.  I appreciate it.  Really, I do.


Oh, and guess what? I just researched the drug I'm allergic to and guess what it's used for? Treating infections such as URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS.  And nowhere did I find in any of the research that the drug was just sulfur or contains sulfur.  But what the hell do I - or science -know?  You're the one with the degree.  I mean, sure you had no clue what I was talking about and I had to SPELL IT OUT FOR YOU - literally - but don't worry, I'm sure you're a terrific pharmacist.
 
And excuuuse me for being informed and asking questions and taking control of my health.  What a moron I am.  I should just blindly shovel pills into my mouth.  If they were prescribed and filled, it must be right.  Right?  Never mind that time after my hernia surgery when the pills I was prescribed after the surgery did, in fact, contain the drug I am allergic too, even though I had written the name of my allergy on about four thousand forms pre-surgery.  If my mother hadn’t checked the bottle I would be f*cking dead right now.

But meh.  It’s just death.  No big deal, right?  Maybe not to you, you pompous airhead, but I’d rather not have a UTI be the end of me.  It’s probably a little arrogant and delusional of me to think so, but when I go out, I’m going out in a blaze of glory.  Not by a f*cking infection in my urinary track.

*And breathe.*

Now comes the fun part. Or the shitty part.  It’s all about perspective, really.

I got home, pulled the prescription from the bag and on the cap of the bottle was a label with the following warning:
Diarrhea may occur weeks to months after taking drug.

There was an additional warning label down the side of the bottle:  
May cause diarrhea. If persists or becomes severe, notify DR or RPH.

So, in addition to pissing fire I will soon be shitting, well…shit.

My life is awesome.

When people talk about having a party in their pants, I don’t think they mean this.

You know what else?  It also said to avoid direct contact with the sun.  You know what I was about to do right before I popped a diarrhea pill?  Lay out in the sun.  So not only do I have to have the shits, I have to be pale while doing it?!?!?!  This seems colossally unfair.

In related news, I have changed my name from The Sarcasm Goddess to Casper the Crapping Ghost.

Now I know what you’re thinking: big deal, all drugs have side effects. But ladies and gentlemen, this side effect is so, ahem, explosive it requires not one, but two label warnings in addition to the ten page factory warning.  This, my friend, is not your mother’s diarrhea. It’s big time, baby.

I immediately called the husband cuz I knew he'd be just as excited by the prospect of months of explosive diarrhea as I was.

Me: Guess what?

The husband: Good news or bad?

Well, I guess that depends on how you feel about diarrhea, I thought.

So I told him all about the warning and how it's very possible he was going to live with a woman who had a severe case of the runs for several months.

The husband: Wow. That's awesome. Congratulations.  I have to go back to work.

Me: 'Kay. Just wanted to keep you apprised of the diarrhea situation of the household.

I know what you guys are thinking: The husband is such a lucky man.

I totally agree.  Every man should have a wife as sexy as I am.

For those of you who know me in real life: if I’m hanging out with you and a sudden horrified expression comes across my face and I bolt from the room clutching my derriere, don’t worry.  It’s just diarrhea.

Wow.  It is going to be such a fun ten days (and possibly months)! 

If anyone needs me, I’ll be in the bathroom.

P.S. The diarrhea has not made land fall and the forecast looks clear.

P.P.S. I have officially said diarrhea in a post more times than I ever cared to.

UPDATED: Thank you all for your concern.  I am feeling completely fine and I wonder if I dreamt the whole thing.  It's only the horse pills that I take every 12 hours that tell me I didn't.  Well, I'm supposed to take them every twelve hours...turns out I'm terrible at remembering to do so.  I foresee this being a problem...


Word of the Day
gassernoun
1.Slang . something that is extraordinarily pleasing or successful, especially a very funny joke.
2.a person or thing that gasses.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Winners Announced! And...More Code Fun!

Thank you to everyone who read and commented on my interview with author Patricia Iles.  I know several of you also promoted the interview on the twitter so many thanks to you too!

Thanks to the handy dandy random number generator, I have two random winners for a copy of Patricia's book.  The first winner receives a copy of A Gathering of Light and the second winner receives A Light in the Mountains.  I did not include Patricia's comments in the total number and only counted one comment per person which gave us a total of nine comments.  Our winners are...

Lucky commenter number four is Emily Morris! Yay Emily!

The next winner is
MidLyfeMama is lucky commenter number 3! Woo hoo!

Email me at kawilliams082 at yahoo dot com and I'll send you the code for your download.

Thanks again to Patricia.  I had a blast!  I hope you sell millions of books!!

Okay, now onto the mind-numbingly confusing world of code.  Today I will impart my infinite wisdom (hahaha!) on how to add twitter, pinterest button thingies.

Before I get started, there is someone I must thank, someone I was remiss in acknowledging in yesterday's post.  I know she is going to say, "No, no, no you don't have to thank me!"  But I do.  Because if it wasn't for her I never would have had a button for my first (and only) most embarrassing moment linky.  The amazing lady I am talking about is Rach aka @DonutsMama of Life Ever Since.  Last summer, when I was blowing up the twitter with my angst and woe over not being able to create button, many people tried to help but Rach took matters into her own hands and created the code for me. I was soooooo grateful and relieved (as I'm sure the rest of the twatosphere was when I finally shut up about it).  She is such a sweetheart and if you don't follow her blog, you should.

Okay, on to code!  YEEEEAAAAAYYY!!!

Now, the easiest way to do this is to find, or create, a twitter (or pinterest, or facebook, etc.) button, upload it to your blog like you would any picture and then link to the destination you want it to go, like your twitter page.

You can do this as many times as you want for as many buttons as you want, but (to my knowledge) you have to upload each of these separately and depending on your design layout, you don't have as much control over how they appear on your blog. If I had uploaded my cool twitter and pinterest buttons this way, they would have been stacked on top of each other instead of next to each other like most bloggers have laid it out.  And since I like to hang with the cool kids, I wanted my blog to look like theirs.

Are you sufficiently confused yet?  Well, it's about to get a whole lot worse.

Kidding!  It's actually pretty easy (said the girl who took eight months trying to figure it out).

Note: these instructions are for BLOGGER bloggers, I'm not sure how well this translates to Wordpress blogs.

Step One: Get social media icons. 
You can create your own, hire a designer or check out sites like Handycon or Web Designer Depot.  Both offer free collections and they have lots of really cool designs.

Step Two: Get your codes.
Upload your images to Photobucket.  For instructions on how to do this read yesterday's post.  If you made your own icons, you may have to edit the size (also explained here).  I can't say for certain, but I assume if you download them from a site or have a designer create them, they will be the right size.

The code you want to grab for your icons is the HTML code. Note: each icon will have it's own code so you will have to repeat this step for each icon you want to include. There are two ways you can grab your code.  You can hover over the image and select it from the menu below.  Or you can click on the image and select the code at the bottom left of the screen.

Example: if you want to add a twitter icon, the code you grab will look like this:


Next, replace the first part of the code (in bold) with the URL of your destination, in this case it is your twitter page.

Example:

You will repeat step two for each icon you want to add. (I do all of this in Word. Once I have everything I need, I copy to my blog.)

Step Three: Add the codes to your blog.
Once you have all the codes you need, you're going to list them one after another.

In the example below, I've included the code for my twitter icon and pinterest icon.
Notice the text in bold. You want to include this if you want to have a space between each of your icons. So, you'll notice I have code for my twitter icon, immediately followed by the code for a space (in bold) immediately followed by the code for my pinterest icon.  If I were to add a code for a facebook icon, I would add the space code after the pinterest code and then add the facebook code.

Copy your entire block of code. Go to the DESIGN tab, ADD A GADGET, select the HTML/JAVA SCRIPT gadget and paste your code. 

Save and you are done!

Note: If your icons don't appear or something looks funky, paste your code into NOTEPAD first, then copy and paste it into your blog.

I sure hope that made some sort of sense.  If you have questions, hit me up on twitter: @SarcasmGoddess

Happy weekend and don't forget to check out my poll on the sidebar!

Quote of the Day
I am returning this otherwise good typing paper to you because someone has printed gibberish all over it and put your name at the top.  
~English Professor (Name Unknown), Ohio University 

Word of the Day
toothsome: delicious; attractive; luscious.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

How to Create A Button for Your Blog! - You're Welcome.

I am simultaneously irate and ecstatic.  Yes, the conflicting emotions are making my head explode, but it's all good in the hood.  Because I am a superstar!  Actually, I'm more of a regular star, but because it has taken me eight-ish months to accomplish what most of you figured out within the first five minutes of becoming a blogger I am calling myself a SUPERSTAR!

I finally, FINALLY figured out how to create a code to add nifty button thingies to my blog AND I figured out how to create the code to add a "Grab My Butt(on)" Image and the little box with the code beneath it.

I mentioned a week or so ago that my dear friend Just Jennifer created a button for my blog (because she knows what an inept idiot I am).  You're gonna wanna go ahead and grab it if you haven't done so.  It will change your life. Maybe.  Probably not.

Without going into the twisted hows and whys thought process that takes place in my demented mind, I added a Follow Me on Twitter and Follow Me on Pinterest button thingy.  Look!  They're right there at the top right of my blog.

Ooh ahh! Yes, I sure did draw those all by myself.

In related news, I abandoned my dream of becoming a writer and am pursuing an artist drawer painter artistic career cuz clearly I have the skillz.

In the process of adding those, I figured out how to create a Grab My Butt(on) thingy too (even though Jen already made me one, it irritated the crap out of me that I didn't know how to do this).

I know that the majority of you know how to add all these nifty bojiggity (huh?) things to your blog, but as I was venting my frustrations to twitter I learned I was not the only one who was still having fits over these things and so...I'm going to share all my secrets in case there are others of you lurking about in frustration and confusion.

YEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

Wow.  Your excitement is palpable.

Today, I'll tell you how to add a button/badge thingy with the code to your blog and my next post will tell you how to add twitter, pinterest, facebook, etc. badges.

Please note: these are instructions for BLOGGER bloggers.  I'm not sure how well this translates to Wordpress. I'm also going to explain things in excruciating detail because I HATE when I'm trying to learn how to do something and the instructor assumes I know how to do even basic steps (when explaining things to me, it is best to assume I am a colossal idiot; however you cannot make me feel like an idiot cuz then I will hate you. just kidding. not really.).

Here we go.

Step One: Upload your image to Photobucket
If you don't have Photobucket account, create one.  It takes seconds.  Next, upload the image you want to use as your button.

Step Two: Go to your Album and Select your image to edit it.
The only editing I have ever done here is change the size.  If you don't need to do any editing to your photo you can skip this step.

If you hover over your image, the little menu will appear below.  Click the "edit" button.

I honestly have no idea what the standard size is (maybe someone can tell us in the comments), I just fiddle with it until it's the size I like.  To give you some idea: the twitter and pinterest icons on my blog are 86 x 75; you'll most likely want your badge to be larger than that.  Make sure the "Keep Proportions" box is checked when you're changing the size

Step Three: Grab your code
Once you've saved your image, go back to your album.  Make sure you are working with the new image and not the original.

There are two ways you can grab your code.  You can hover over the image and select it from the menu below.

Or you can click on the image and select the code at the bottom left of the screen.


This is where my advice differs from every other explanation I have ever seen, which say to copy the Direct Link code.  THIS HAS NEVER WORKED FOR ME (thus the hair-pulling and knife-throwing that has been my life for the last eight months).

You want to copy the HTML code and paste it into Word (I paste everything into Word, make the changes and then copy and paste into blogger).

For example, your code will look like this:
Next, replace the first part of the code (in bold) with the URL of your blog.

Example:
You now have the code for the IMAGE of your button.  (Make sure when you do this, you copy the actual HTML code of YOUR image from Photobucket.  If you simply use my code above and insert you blog URL in place of the bold code, you will have my image.)

Step Four: Grab the code for the little box below your image
This is the code:

Where it says YOUR CODE HERE, insert your code from step two.
It will look like this 


 Step Five: Add codes to blog
You now have two codes: the one from step three and the one from step four.  You're going to copy both of them into blogger.

Go to the DESIGN tab, ADD A GADGET, select the HTML/JAVA SCRIPT gadget and copy and paste both codes, one right after the other, with the code from Step Two first.

It will look like this:

Save and you are done!


One thing to note: the part of the code that says cols="40" rows"4" is the size of the box under your image.  Change the numbers (40 and 4) to change the size of the box.  Cols is the length of the box and rows is the height.

I seriously hope this helped.  If you have any questions, hit me up on twitter @sarcasmgoddess

Happy button making!

Don't forget to take my poll on the sidebar: How many blogs do you comment on daily?

Quote of the Day
  The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction.  By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is you really want to say.  
~Mark Twain

Word of the Day
rutilant: glowing or glittering with ruddy or golden light.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I'll Take An Order of Anxiety With a Side of Panic Attack

A few weeks ago the husband and I had to go to a thing.  It was a thing I didn't want to go to, but sometimes in life we have to do and go to things we don't want to do.  It's called being an adult, I suppose.

Unfortunately panic attacks and an anxiety disorder don't give one flying flip about being an adult.

For days leading up to the thing, the anxiety built.  Then, right before it was time for me to hop in the shower to get ready, I took the dogs out to pee.  Evil Cody managed to escape and chase the UPS man driving down the street.  Apparently he was not cool with his mom being delivered a bomb and decided to do something about it.

His decision almost got him killed and my nerves were shot.  As I sat in front of my mirror drying my hair the anxiety escalated until I had the worst panic attack of my life.

I walked into the bathroom where the husband was getting ready.  He took one look at me and knew things were bad and getting worse by the second.

My breaths were coming hard and fast. I was sobbing, shaking my head, flapping my hands and rising on my toes.

When I have a panic attack, I want to run, not from the place I am or to a place I want to go, but out of my own skin.  Which, to my knowledge, is physically impossible.  And so I rise to my toes.  Or push off a table or the wall.  It does little to still the panic but I do not do it by choice.  It is instinct. 

I sat on the toilet, naked both physically and emotionally, stripped of any sanity I had ever known.

The husband knelt beside me and knowing there was nothing to say, he was just there.  Black spots began to dot the corners of my vision and started closing in toward the center of my sight.  The thought that I was going to pass out only increased my panic.

The husband instructed me to take long slow breaths.  Thankfully I was able to listen to him and the darkness never descended.

When the hand flapping and rising and toe curling stopped, I was exhausted.  The husband wanted to direct me to the bed, wanted me to get some rest.  But I couldn't let him go to the thing by himself.  While he didn't mind going he wasn't particularly thrilled about going by himself and the idea of not going at all wasn't an option.

So I fixed my makeup, put on my dress and pearls and clung to his arm.

"What if it happens when we're there?" I asked.  "What if I lose it?"

"Then I'll carry you out," he said.

I felt like I was floating above myself all night.  I wouldn't make eye contact with anyone and I hid behind a table.  At least I tried to hide.  There were low chairs at the back of the room behind a high-top table.  I thought I could sit in the chair and no one would see me.  Which was almost true.  You couldn't see anything but my head.  That makes me laugh, now that the terror has passed.  In fact, the whole thing makes me laugh now.

But at the time, it was the worst moment of my life.

When we got home and I changed and slipped beneath the sheets I was completely drained.  And my heart hurt, like it had been pushed to its limit and was weaker for it.

There is a saying that I'm sure we've all heard, "What doesn't kill us makes us stronger."

In the case of anxiety, I don't believe this is true.  Nothing about that panic attack made me feel strong.  Or empowered.  I didn't even feel proud that I was able to pull it together and be there for the husband.  The only thing it made me feel is that I shouldn't have had to deal with it in the first place, that he shouldn't have to deal with it all.  I should be a "normal" wife who has "normal" reactions to going to things.

There is another saying, one my mother said to me often when I was growing up, that I believe to be true: "There is good in every situation."

In the case of my panic attack, the "good" was the husband and how he responded.  Although I suffer from anxiety, I still don't think that I would know how to respond or what to say or what not to say to someone in the throes of a panic attack.  Because while the symptoms may be similar our pain is our own.  So how in the world the husband knew how to handle my panic attack I will never know.  But I am grateful.

He did not tell me it would be okay.  He did not offer words meant to soothe but end up sounding hollow.  He was just there.  Kneeling beside me.  When I was finally able to see straight, there was neither judgment nor pity nor impatience in his eyes.  Just love.  And it was good.

I can only hope that when the day comes that he needs me, I will know exactly how to be there for him as he was for me.

Quote of the Day
Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place.  
~Zora Neale Hurston

Word of the Day
inamorata: a woman whom one is in love with.

Monday, March 12, 2012

A Gathering of Light

It’s time for another installment of Interview With a Writer!  It’s just like Interview with a Vampire, but with fewer vampires.  Today’s guest is Patricia Iles.


Patricia Iles as drawn by me.*  
 Patricia is the author of A Gathering of Light, an historical romance, set during and after the Civil War. Lieutenant Hixson Morris, near death on the battlefield, finds himself in the care of a beautiful woman with a mysterious gift. The story takes us from the Battle of the Wilderness, through a tumultuous series of events to the full understanding of the meaning of a miraculous gift.

What I found most intriguing about this book is that Patricia was inspired by true events, which I’ll ask her to tell us about in just a minute.

This book was an enjoyable read and I found myself cheering for the MC’s right away.  There is love and loss, heartache and triumph.  And one particular scene had my heart in my throat the whole time.

Let’s get to it and interview our author.  As usual, I’ll do my best to stay on topic, but there are no guarantees.  Everyone should proceed with caution.

SG: Before we get started, Patricia, please answer the question on everyone’s mind: Are you a vampire?

Patricia: I was once, but I overcame it with the help of meditation, white merlot and gradually acclimating myself to sunlight. I suspect my younger son is a vampire, but I haven't been able to prove it without driving a wooden stake through his chest. That seems like an extreme thing to do, just to prove I'm right.
SG: Yes, that does seem rather extreme.  I'm glad you are able to exercise self-control.

What inspired you to write A Gathering of Light?

Patricia: When I was in high school, our teacher had us go to the library and dig around in the newspaper archives. We were to find something in a newspaper (an article, obit, birth announcement) and write a story inspired by that. I came across a news clipping from a southern newspaper, circa 1865-66 during Reconstruction. It was about a recently orphaned young woman who was raped and killed by a band of renegades. I didn't write about it then, but I've carried that picture in my mind ever since. I have always wanted to give that long-ago girl a different ending to her tragedy.

SG: How much research did you have to do to write a novel that takes place during the Civil War?

Patricia: I did a fair amount of research, to make sure that my timeline worked and things like that. I'm a history buff anyway, so that was fun. I know. I'm a nerd.

SG: Yay for being a nerd!  I love history too.

How did you come up with the idea for Sarah’s special gift?

Patricia: I dreamt it. Yup. Corny, huh? I woke up in the middle of the night one night and said, "Eureka!". A lot of things get solved in your sleep if you let your brain sort them out. I can't explain why it took over 30 years for my brain to sort this one out.

SG: I don't think it's corny at all!  Our dreams are great sources of inspiration.  Your answer made me think of the quote by Saul Bellow: "You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write."

What superpower or special gift would you like to have?

Patricia: Oh, this one is easy! I would LOVE to be able to have a whole day where I could tell everyone exactly what I really think; the next day they would have the message but wouldn't remember that it came from me. The first place I would go is Wal Mart and I have me a frickin' field day.

SG: Oh Wal Mart.  Those Walmartians be crazy!

How long does it take you to write your novels?   

Patricia: It has taken me about a year for each one.

SG: Do you have any critique partners?

Patricia: Not exactly, but my sweet friend Holly is wonderful about reading my drafts and letting me bounce ideas off of her. Occasionally, they stick!

SG: Would you rather grow a monkey tail or spend the rest of your life carrying around a goat?

Patricia: Let's talk about this. Is it a prehensile tail that I could use as a third hand? I might consider that. Does it have to be covered in monkey fur? Could I get one in a cute dot or maybe a zebra print? But then, goats can be handy. I wouldn't have to weed the yard anymore. Which I don't do now, but still. Do I have to hold the goat while I'm sleeping? I'm a little on the redneck side, but that's one of those lines. You know...LINES? That you don't cross? Certainly not if you don't want it to get around town, anyway. I think I'll take the tail. Besides, goats smell funky.

SG:  Hmmm…what an odd question.  I blame…someone else for that.  Let’s get back on track.  Oh, and yes, goats do smell funky.

Patricia: I don't know....you really gave me something to think about there...... That was rather a defining question in a person's life.

SG: What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

Patricia: My high school English teacher (back when they still called it English and not language arts) told us to NOT try to write like someone else. We each have a story to tell which is uniquely ours and it should be told in our own voice. I think she chipped that lesson into the cave wall, because chalk hadn't been discovered yet. Hi, Mrs. Waas!!!

SG: What are your three favorite words?

Patricia: Chips, Salsa and Wine. No.... Joy, Balance and Diligence.  Maybe: Faith, Hope and Charity? I have it! Faith, balance and wine. That's it. You can do ANYTHING if you have faith, balance and wine.

SG: So very true.

What is one rule that every writer should break?

Patricia: That you should outline your story completely. Do that as a guide if you must, but let your story grow and develop as you go: it's an organic thing and must be allowed to mature in its own way.

SG: Have you ever received any feedback that made you want to curl in a ball and rock yourself in the corner for three days?

Patricia: Not yet, but I have a blankie and a box of tissues standing by. I was going to make a smart crack about being a good shot, but that could be misconstrued if I were to someday find myself on trial.

SG: Good thinking.

I'm wondering, do you think my house will ever be completely clean? 

Patricia: Probably right after mine is completely clean, which will be right after everything the government does makes sense and I win the Pulitzer Prize.

SG: I’m sorry!  What an inappropriate question.  I suspect the husband is trying to hijack this interview.

Patricia: I don't believe you. We know what questions men would ask. He doesn't care when the house will be clean. He cares about when is the next time you're going to .....?   well. Never mind. :-)

SG: Hahahahahahahaha! Hahaha! Haha...

Pardon me for a moment while I go collect myself.

Okay, I'm back.  What does your writing space look like?

Patricia: If I'm home alone, I sit on my recliner sofa, kick up my feet and type like crazy. If my Sweet Hubs is home, I usually sit across from him at the table, each of us with our respective laptops and we sit together to do our own thing. 

SG: What is the next book you are working on and when will it be available?

Patricia: This week, I finished the final-final draft of "A Light in the Mountains", the next book in the trilogy. It should be available (if the planets line up correctly) at all the major e-book retailers by the time this interview is live! Now I need to work on the third book.

SG: On a scale of one to bajillion, how awesome was this interview?

Patricia: This was beyond a bajillion and into the besquillions! My first interview. I feel all special.

You should fee special, Patricia! We all feel special for having you here.

Guess what, everyone?  Patricia is giving a free copy of A Gathering of Light and a free copy of her new novel A Light in the Mountains.  Just leave a comment telling me what superpower you'd like to have.  Or you could talk about bacon or let me know if you're willing to come clean my house.  Winners will be announced on Friday.  First random generated number will receive A Gathering of Light and the second will receive A Light in the Mountains.

You can stalk Patricia on her blog Contemplating Happiness and check out her website.  And remember you don't have to have a Nook or a Kindle to download her e-book. You can have it sent directly to your phone or computer or you can download the Kindle app like I did!

*Patricia prefers to remain fabulously anonymous so I offered to draw a picture of her.  I have absolutely no idea what she looks like - I don't know if she has blonde hair and green eyes or black spiky hair and blue eyes or pink hair and brown eyes.  I like to think I'm helping protect her identity.

Friday, March 9, 2012

I Blame the Drugs

 If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood.  I'd type a little faster. 
 ~Isaac Asimov

Today's going to be a short one.  I'm blogging just to let you know I'm still alive (I'm sure you've all been sick with worry).  I've spent the last 48 hours on drugs.  Don't worry, they're the legal kind.  Although, I'm starting to suspect my doctor thinks I have a prescription drug problem.  This doesn't prevent him from prescribing me drugs (which makes me think he's a pill pusher) but does cause him to explain the "rules" over and over like I am a small child.

Him: This is a narcotic.  Do not drive.  Don't drink alcohol.  Drink lots of water.

Me: Got it.

Him: This is a narcotic.  Do NOT drive.  DO NOT drink alcohol.  Drink LOTS of water.

Me: Yep. Heard ya the first time.

Him: This is a narcotic...

Me: Just give me the damn pills!

Of course, he can't give me actual pills, only a prescription.  Personally, I think the whole "drive to a second location to get your drugs" is incredibly annoying and I would start a campaign to change the system but I'm in too much damn pain.

Apparently my doctor knows me too well, because as soon as I picked up my drugs, I ran to my car, twisted off the top and was about to pour six of them in my mouth when I was like wait a minute; I think the doctor said I wasn't supposed to drive.

So, like a good little drug addict, I waited until I got home to pop my pills and ten minutes later, I couldn't feel my limbs as I was crawling my way upstairs and into bed  because HOT DAMN these things are strong.

The husband knows me and pills usually don't mix well so he came home to check on me.  I lifted my head, said something like, "me...sleep" and then collapsed back on my pillow and drooled on myself.

It's almost time for me to slip back into LaLa Land, but before I go I wanted to share a story in which you will all be extremely proud I didn't cut a bitch.

While I was in the waiting room of the doctor's office, a woman started humming.  Can we all just agree that humming is the most annoying sound in the world?  I'm usually a "to each his own" kinda person, unless your own infringes upon my own in the most annoying way.  Since high-fiving her in the face with a chair is considered impolite, I turned to twitter.

As I'm tweeting about the raping of my eardrums, she gets up from her seat and starts molesting the fake plants.

Rub, rub, rub, rub, rubrubrubrubrubrubrub.  "It's fake," she declares to the entire waiting room.

What?! No! Rub it again!

She walks to the next plant and starts rubbing some more.  What is that condition where people have relations with inanimate objects?  This lady has it.  Which, whatever.  Hump fake foliage all you want.  Just do it on your own time, lady.

She continues on to the third plant. Rub, rub, rub, rub, rubrubrubrubrubrubrub.  "It's fake."

You know how some people smoke after sex? Well apparently this woman whistles after she gets off cuz that's what she started doing.

I felt like I was trapped in some sort of sick p0rno/horror movie hybrid.

Finally the nurse calls her husband's name (who was the one in need of medical treatment) and she bounds over to the nurse like a rabbit on crack leaving her poor husband to struggle to his feet for five minutes and shuffle across the room.  If only he had a trunk, branches and some tantalizing leaves to wave her face, maybe he would have gotten some attention from his arborphiliac wife.

Huh, this post turned out longer than I thought it would. I blame the drugs.  Good night.


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Word of the Day
furcate: to form a fork; branch


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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

How To Write the Funniest Post EVAH!

Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.  
~E.L. Doctorow

**Please, please make sure you read the note at the end of this. 

It happens to the best of us.  You sit down at your computer to write a blog post and you've got nothing.  If you're lucky, your dry spell lasts only a day.  Sometimes it can last longer, like a week, or gasp! two weeks.  It can be especially difficult to write if you're trying to write something funny.

How can you be funny when you're all angsty, woe-is-me, I'll never write another blog post as long as I live, I've lost my blogging mojo, whyyyyy WHYYYYY is this happening to me?!?!?!?!

Fear not.  I have discovered the key to writing a funny blogpost every. single. time. you sit in front of your computer.

First, you need to stay up for 24 hours.  Longer, if you haven't reached the delirious stage.  When you're good and giddy, start writing.

But what if I don't have anything to say?

Trust me.  When you're delirious you will have plenty to say.  Plenty of funny things to say.  The key is to keep writing.  Don't stop and read, just write.

When you're finished you'll have something like this: Tangerine monkey banana princess ballerina hobo in a penguin costume alligator fart.

I probably should have told you that before you start writing you're either going to want to empty your bladder or wear a diaper because you are going to laugh so hard you will think you are dying.  Doubled over, clutching your stomach, water pouring from your eyes, neck strained, throat burning laughter is what will happen to you.

Over and over again you'll read it and each time it will get funnier.  At first you will be tempted to hit PUBLISH right away because hello funniest thing ever!  But then you start coming down off your high and you realize your eyes are a little bleary.  It's possible there could be some typos in your post.  Like maybe you wrote you're when you meant your.  So embarrassing.  You wouldn't want your funniest post ever to be tarnished by poor grammar.

So you decide to save it and proofread it when you wake up.

You then proceed to sleep for 47 hours.  You awake with the vague notion that you wrote a blog post before you passed out.

Upon logging into your account and pulling up your drafts folder you read:

Tangerine monkey banana princess ballerina hobo in a penguin costume alligator fart.

What the f*ck? will be the first thing that enters your mind.  Followed by was I high and what the hell is wrong with me?

Slowly it will start sinking in and you will remember how hard you laughed at your post.

If you thought it funny once, surely you will think it funny again.  You grab a bottle of wine and at first you're hesitant to drink.  You did just wake up, after all.  But then you realize it's nine in the evening and so you chug-a-lug.  You hope that drinking yourself into a drunken fog can match your previous delirium and thus find the humor in your post.  After two and a half bottles you still don't find it funny, but you no longer give a shit so you hit PUBLISH and pass out.

When you wake up and check your blog you have the following comments:

What the f*ck?

Are you high?

What the hell is wrong with you?

You'll be momentarily embarrassed but then you'll be like, "Whatever, Bitches! I just wrote a post. Suck on that!"  Or maybe you'll just be like, "Yay, I wrote a blog post!"  Either way, you'll be so happy you'll stay up all night dancing and eating Oreos and the cycle will start all over again.

This is my theory, anyway.  I wouldn't know from personal experience.

Word of the Day:
desultory: jumping from subject to subject; erratic; inconsistent. 

**I'm linking up with the amazing Dee of Motherhood:Truth and the awesome Jen of Just Jennifer for Did You Know?.  Although I have never met either of these women, I consider them both to be dear friends.  Some of you may know Jen is going to through a difficult time.  Her husband, Mark, went to the hospital on Friday night and he is still there.  Things were looking up, but last night Dee got a call from Jen that Mark was not doing well.  Jen's last facebook status is that he coded (again) and is intubated and sedated.  Jen is an incredibly strong woman.  If you read her blog, you know some of the challenges she's faced.  Right now she is understandably scared.  The blogging community means so much to her and I know all of your comments, tweets, emails and prayers have given her support and encouragement.  Many of us wish there was something we could do.  I live too far away to run her errands, do laundry, clean her house, or simply give her a hug.  But there is something I can do.  Something we can all do.  Link up with Did You Know.  I know it would put a smile on her face to see so many of us linked up with her and Dee's meme.  She is an incredibly supportive blogger and it would be so amazing if we could show her some support right now.  The Did You Know meme is so easy.  You can write about anything!  Did you know I want a cat? Did you know my childhood dream was to be an astronaut?  Did you know I peed my pants in front of the class in seventh grade?  Did you know eating fruit is good for you?  Did you know I woke up in the middle of the night and saw a shadow standing in the doorway, thought it was an intruder and started flinging shoes at his head? Turns out, it was my husband.
Seriously, it can be anything.  Just please write and link up at Motherhood: Truth. The link is open for the next three days.

Big, wet, sloppy puppy kisses and virtual high-fives to all who do! 


Don't forget to check out my poll on the sidebar! Would you rather...

 

Monday, March 5, 2012

It's Like Big Pimpin But With More Pinning

You know who's a mind reader? Rubber Chicken Madness.  For reals.  But she's not one of those creepy, I'm-going-to-tell-you-something-cryptic-about-your-future-that-will-make-you-wonder-if-you're-going-to-die-tomorrow mind readers.  Hmm...that's not exactly a mind reader but more a fortune teller, eh?

Whatever.  I'm pretty sure the point I'm trying to make is that she's awesome.  And she read my mind.

Last week, I was thinking that I wanted to do a post about funny shiz I pinned on Pinterest.  Of course, you could all go follow me there but, if you're like me, you probably feel like you CANNOT FOLLOW ONE MORE PERSON IN ONE MORE PLACE!

I totally agree.  You don't have to shout.

N-E-way, Rubber Chicken Madness has a Hen Picked Pinterest meme.  Look!

RubberChickenMadness.com

Pretty swanky, right?  You guys should all link up because I love seeing what people have pinned, but I CANNOT FOLLOW ONE MORE PERSON IN ONE MORE PLACE!

ahem.

So here's some funny stuff I found on Pinterest.  Some of it's pretty dumb and ridiculous.  Those are the ones that  make me laugh the hardest.








 Oh, you're home early...
I repinned this from the fabulous vodka loving @Carribrown



You must enlarge this and read it.


  
Don't forget to check out my poll on the sidebar!  Would you rather...

Word of the Day 
innocuous: harmless; also, unlikely to offend or provoke.

Friday, March 2, 2012

That'll Learn Ya

 A writer never has a vacation. For a writer, life consists of either writing or thinking about writing.
-Eugene Ionesco

As many of you know, a few months ago I quit my full-time soul-sucking paying job to be a full time writer.  Some people are now under the assumption that I no longer work.  To those people, allow me to learn you something.

1. Just because I don't get paid, doesn't mean I don't work.

2. Just because I work from home, doesn't mean I don't work.

3. Just because I haven't brushed my teeth or showered today, doesn't mean I don't work.

4. Just because I spend my entire day in my pajamas, doesn't mean I don't work.

5. Just because my work day starts at 3 p.m. and ends at 6 a.m. doesn't mean I don't work.

6. Just because my time is flexible, doesn't mean I have time to waste.

7. Just because I watch a child play, eavesdrop on a conversation, stare out a window, listen to music, feel the rush of wind on my face, does not mean I am not working.

8. Just because I don't have a boss breathing down my neck, doesn't mean I don't have deadlines.

9. Just because I love what I do, doesn't mean I don't work!

Didja learn something?  Good.  Now I won't have to punch you in the face the next time I see you.

P.S. How many blogs do you follow? I wanna know! Take my poll on the sidebar.

Word of the Day
solecism: a breach of good manners or etiquette